Currently reading: Geneva motor show 2010: Lexus CT200h - new pics
Official details and pictures of Lexus's BMW 1-series and Audi A3 rival

Lexus’s new CT200h will rival the Audi A3 and BMW 1-series in Europe’s lucrative luxury hatchback market when it arrives in UK showrooms early next year, priced from around £21,000. The firm is expecting the car to shift around 30,000 units per year to double Lexus's business in Europe.

The five-door CT200h, unveiled at this week’s Geneva motor show, uses the Toyota Prius’s 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrain and CVT gearbox, although the car has been built on an all-new front-drive platform (a first for a European Lexus) to offer a sportier drive than the Prius.

See exclusive Lexus CT200h pics

Lexus hasn’t revealed performance figures for the CT200h, but it is expected to produce considerably more than the 98bhp and 105lb ft in the Prius. As in the Prius, three distinct driving modes are offered (Eco, Normal and Sport) although these have all been retuned in the CT200h to make it a bespoke Lexus car.

In Dynamic mode, the MacPherson strut front and double wishbone rear suspension firm up and steering and throttle responses are sharpened to boost the CT200h’s agility and road holding. The CT200h’s electric motor and nickel hydride battery pack help propel the car up to 1.24 miles on electric power alone, helping the CT200h reach its target of offering class-leading CO2 emissions of less than 99g/km.

The CT200h is 4320mm long, 1765mm and 1430mm high, meaning it is longer, wider and taller than the A3 and 1-series. Its 2600mm wheelbase is only eclipsed by the 1-series’ 2660mm and its 345-litre boot is bettered only by the A3’s 350-litre capacity.

Styling has been scaled back from the more radical looks of the LF-Ch concept from last year’s Frankfurt show, mirroring that of larger Lexus models. Most of the CT200’s sales are likely to come from those seeking a hybrid powertrain in a premium hatchback, something none of Lexus’s rivals currently offer. It will remain as a hybrid-only model, too.

Although not confirmed, a small SUV and three-door CT200h are set to be spun off this platform.

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m_bowl 3 March 2010

Re: Lexus CT200h to rival Audi A3

Either the looks are growing on me after the initial disappointment or the pictures from the stand in Geneva make it look better the the studio pics. You can see more detail in the shape.

It's no Alfa Guiletta, but it's better or equal to other cars in the class.

stagata1 1 March 2010

Re: Lexus CT200h to rival Audi A3

Initial reaction is Auris meets 1 Series. I wonder if it'll look any better on the show stand at Geneva?

Dan McNeil v2 28 February 2010

Re: Lexus CT200h to rival Audi A3

MrTrilby wrote:

Moe, can you carry on with your GCSE science lesson?

moe360 wrote:
MOst of the current hybrid cars are rubbish and slow and boring

When you say most... the only hybrids on sale in the UK are from Lexus, Toyota or Honda. Now admittedly the Honda is pretty slow, with a 0-60 of 12.5 seconds. That's a second slower than a Golf Bluemotion. But the slowest Toyota is a second quicker than the Golf, and the slowest Lexus, at 7.8 secs, is 3 seconds quicker.

Are they boring? Probably. But a Golf Bluemotion isn't exactly exciting either is it?

moe360 wrote:
More weight due to heavy battery packs

A Prius is 50kgs heavier than the slower and smaller Golf Bluemotion. 50kgs lighter than the larger and slower VW Passat Bluemotion. Compare the Prius with the 2 litre diesel Golf and the Golf is heavier by 4kgs. As ever, it depends entirely on what you compare with, but I see little evidence that the hybrid is significantly heavier.

moe360 wrote:
More complicated systems which will cost more to repair if something goes wrong service cost will be higher

More complicated than the high pressure fuel injection and particulate filters that diesels need? It seems we read many complaints of pumps and injectors failing, and particulate filters needing attention. I've not seen any criticism of the reliability of Toyota or Honda's hybrid drivetrains. As far as servicing costs go, you appear to be talking from a position of pure ignorance. Other than an unfortunately short service interval of 10k miles, our Prius doesn't appear to need any special attention or cost.

moe360 wrote:
Hybrid cars always show amazing figures on paper but in the read world they are rubbish compared to a car which runs on the black stuff.

In my experience of actually owning and driving both, I find that they're about the same. Depending on what size you're comparing and what sort of driving you do. Certainly to suggest a hybrid is "rubbish" sounds like either ignorance, or a rather biased opinion.

It sounds to me like you don't like hybrids for whatever reason, which is fair enough. But your reasons seem entirely subjective which again is fair enough - but don't try justifying them with inaccurate factual claims or misleading comparisons.

Everything that Mr Trilby said.

And, like him, I've got direct experience of driving a hybrid (the Prius); in my case over nearly 80,000 miles. I've also driven VAG diesels of various capacities and in various models, so, like Mr Trilby, I speak from a position of experience and objectivity, not ignorant bias.

Back to school for you, Moe.