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Lexus CT200h 2011 review: snap shot

The car comes in four grades and a total of 80 combinations of colours and trim.

If you like your gadgets, you're going to love the new baby Lexus. As well as a hybrid powertain, comprising petrol and electric motors, the CT200 has a dazzling array of lights and plenty of buttons to push.

We especially like the way the color of the back lighting changes when you switch from economy to performance settings, with a dial that morphs from an Eco meter into a conventional tachometer.  How cool's that?

The CT represents a bold attempt to spice up the some might say boring Prius concept on which it is based (there's a Prius under there), with more of everything including power, a brash exterior.

Not surprisingly, it's targeted at younger buyers. The car comes in four grades and a total of 80 combinations of colours and trim, including 10 exterior colours with either fabric or genuine leather seat facings. Ours is the F Sport with sports suspension and a body kit, finished in eye-catching blue with smoke-coloured alloys.

It certainly attracts plenty of questions. All four grades are powered by a 100kW hybrid powerplant, combined with a continuously variable style auto and the aforementioned drive mode select, with EV, ECO, NORMAL and SPORT modes.

All four also have eight airbags and a full active safety package. With fuel economy officiallty rated at 4.1, we have been consistently getting 5.9 litres/100km over the past few weeks.

Advanced features include proactive seat heaters, intelligent climate control, LED lighting, smart audio systems and bio-sourced materials. CT's front-seat heaters have been designed to operate in concert with the air-conditioning system, reducing the workload of the air-conditioning heater to aid fuel economy.And then there's the sound system.

LED headlamps, combined with the 89 LED bulbs throughout the interior, significantly reduce power consumption and engine loadings. And then there's the computer/sound system - we could devote an entire editon to this one feature.

The system won the Technical Innovation Award from Popular Mechanics. It is used to remotely control navigation, audio and telephone via a computer-like mouse controller.

It features a digital amplifier and 10 speakers with diaphragms made a charcoal and bamboo fibre compound to make the speaker diaphragms strong and light. Let's just say there's no shortage of things to play with.

Pricing Guides

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Range and Specs

CT200h F Sport 1.8L, ULP, CVT AUTO $16,888 – 19,880 2011 Lexus CT 2011 CT200h F Sport Pricing and Specs
CT200h Luxury 1.8L, ULP, CVT AUTO $15,900 – 22,900 2011 Lexus CT 2011 CT200h Luxury Pricing and Specs
CT200h Prestige 1.8L, ULP, CVT AUTO $13,995 – 17,900 2011 Lexus CT 2011 CT200h Prestige Pricing and Specs
CT200h Sports Luxury 1.8L, ULP, CVT AUTO $14,080 – 18,590 2011 Lexus CT 2011 CT200h Sports Luxury Pricing and Specs