When Toyota debuted the production version of its Lexus CT 200h compact hybrid late last month, it was almost certainly destined to be a European-only vehicle. European buyers love smaller vehicles and hatchbacks in general, and the vehicle didn’t seem likely to appeal to the buying tastes of traditional U.S. Lexus buyers.
However, that doesn’t appear to be the case now. Following the success of its midsize Lexus HS 250h hybrid which slots in below ES 350, Toyota has confirmed that the compact CT 200h will come to the U.S. in 2011. According to Edmunds Inside Line, Lexus officials in the U.S. practically had to beg the execs in Japan to get the sporty vehicle to appeal to a younger clientele.
BMW has the 1-Series, Audi has the A3, and the U.S. officials too wanted a vehicle in the same mold. With the exception of the IS range and the ultra-exotic LFA, Lexus doesn’t have anything in its lineup that would exactly raise the pulse of many younger buyers.
The CT 200h features the same powertrain as the popular Toyota Prius — a 1.8-liter inline-4 engine paired with the Synergy hybrid system and continuously variable transmission (CVT). The vehicle offers an electric-only mode (good for only 1.2 miles) along with ECO, NORMAL, and SPORT driving modes. The CT 200h also incorporates LED daytime running lights up front and an 8″ multifunction display inside. Other interior features include a two-tier dash — which Lexus labels the Display Zone (upper dash) and Operation Zone (lower dash) — and the Lexus Remote Touch multi-function controller first seen in the Lexus RX 350 and HS 250h.
Given that we’re still a bit early in the game with production details for the U.S. version of the CT 200h, pricing is obviously not available yet. However, the MSRP should be quite a bit less than the $34,650 price of the HS 250h.