Lexus CT200h: in detail - Introduction
Sales of compact premium hatches, led by the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series, are expected to outstrip those of larger saloons such as the A4 and 3 Series this year, and until now Lexus had nothing to offer. You've got to be in it to win it.
Being Lexus, though, it doesn't just do things the normal way. The CT won't offer the mix of petrols and diesels found in German hatches: it's strictly a hybrid.
Lexus has taken the powertrain from the latest Toyota Prius and packaged it into a brand-new front-wheel-drive platform to create a car that's expected to set a new class low or CO2 output – good news if you're thinking of running one as a company vehicle.
The emissions card
With the CT about a year away from its UK launch, figures are few and far between at the moment, but Lexus insiders talk optimistically of a CO2 figure of 95g/km, which would probably mean an mpg average in the mid-to-high 60s.
That's the official test figure, of course. In the real world, Lexus hybrids rarely deliver anywhere near the published figure, and diesels invariably turn out to be a lot more economical.
Lexus's trump card could well end up being the CT's impressively low figures for other emissions – particulates, which have been linked with respiratory diseases, and NOx, a contributor to acid rain and climate change.
During the car's lifetime, the EU will introduce tough new regulations limiting the output of both, and diesels will be able to meet the targets only with expensive filters and chemical treatments. The CT is almost there already.