Hybrids have been around for a few years now but have never really made much of an impact on the consciousness of the general motoring population.
That’s all changing and, as fuel prices rocket, they are starting to be taken far more seriously.
With the CT 200h, Lexus have launched the world’s first full hybrid in a small prestige hatch in a bid to capture a whole new segment of the market – namely the younger end.
Created with the European market in mind, the CT mixes style with innovation to deliver a quality motor with frugal fuel consumption and CO2 emissions so low it qualifies for free road tax.
Powered by parent brand Toyota’s 1.8 litre petrol/electric motor from the Prius the CT, when the two systems work together, can deliver a maximum of 134bhp with a posted fuel consumption of 68.9mpg
If you want to change the throttle response there’s the option of tweaking a dial and opting for Sport, Eco or Normal plus if you want to make a quiet exit switch to electric only EV mode. This will only work when the battery is fully charged and even then only up to a maximum of 28mph.
There has to be some compromise if you’re doing your bit to save the planet and swift acceleration is one casualty. It takes 10.3 seconds for the CT to reach the magic 62mph and the CVT automatic gearbox does make rather a song and dance about changing up if you’re a bit keen to make progress. But, providing you’re prepared to sacrifice a second or two, there’s no faulting the ride once up to speed and it’s quite happy to cruise on the motorway for as long as you like.
Unlike other hybrids the CT has more mainstream styling but the low side skirts, sweeping lines and a sporting front end do lend it a certain gravitas and there were plenty of heads turning as I drove it around for a week
Interior space is plentiful with room for five; there’s as much head and leg room as in other small hatches – in fact probably more so and the boot, though compromised by the addition of the battery, still has enough useful space.
Lexus, as the prestige arm of Toyota, has always turned out top quality products and the CT is no exception.
The fixtures and fittings in the cabin are of the very best; the upholstery in our test car superb, a mixture of faux suede and damask in a lovely light fawn.
Standard SE-I specification comes with eight airbags, climate control and a stereo system with IPod and Aux connection for £23,485. The navigation system is an £1850 option, pricey but nice with a really easy to use computer mouse-type controls.
A bit more storage in the rear would be nice and the cupholders in the front would look smarter with a cover over them but these are small niggles.
There’s never been a better time to do your bit as a green motorist and the Lexus CT200h is worthy of consideration if you’re going down the hybrid route.