New Lexus Luxury Hybrid Hatchback Gets 42 MPG Rating

The luxury segment has just taken its first step over the 40-mpg line.

Toyota announced over the weekend that the all-new 2011 Lexus CT 200h—the first luxury hybrid hatchback—will be rated with a combined city-highway mileage of 42 mpg.

For comparison, the Audi A3 TDI clean diesel hits 41 mpg on the highway while only managing 30 mpg in the city. The upcoming Lincoln MKZ Hybrid will reach 41 mpg in the city, but is rated at 36 mpg on the highway. The EPA has not released official numbers for the CT 200h, but according to Toyota, it will become only the fourth car on the U.S. market that has a combined rating above 40 mpg. We expect city mileage close to 45 mpg.

The 2011 Lexus CT 200h compact hybrid—like the 2010 Toyota Prius—features a 1.8-liter 98-horsepower gas engine and 80-hp electric motor for total system power of 134 hp. It’s capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in 9.8 seconds and can reach a maximum speed of 112 mph.

Pricing for the new Lexus hybrid, which goes on sale next year, has not yet been announced.

Keywords: Efficient, Luxury, Compact, Hatchback

With the CT 200h, Lexus combines sporty attributes, luxury features and class-leading fuel economy. Honda made a similar but less successful attempt in the entry-level category with the Honda CR-Z. Whereas the CR-Z sacrificed on practicality (just two seats) and fuel economy (only 37 mpg combined), the Lexus CT 200h could illustrate that a gas-electric car needs to earn its hybrid badge by reaching at least beyond 40 mpg. Again, we don’t yet know about pricing for the CT 200h, so it’s hard to comment on value for the money.

The decision to emphasize dynamic driving or eco-friendliness is somewhat up to the driver—thanks to four different driving mode selections. Sport mode maximizes the CT 200h’s performance and handling. Engine revs are held higher, and throttle and power steering settings give a faster response to driver inputs. ECO mode maximizes mileage, but minimizes throttle response from the accelerator pedal, and reduces power of air-conditioning.

The Lexus CT 200h also offers “EV mode,” which promises a full mile on electric power alone, at speeds less than 25 miles per hour. As we have reported, the value of EV mode on conventional no-plug hybrids is overrated. Sure, it’s fun to go EV for a few blocks, but you pay the efficiency price when the gas engine chugs gas to recharge the batteries. Nonetheless, it is a convenient feature for creeping through parking lots.

Lexus CT 200h Interior
Lexus CT 200h Interior Driving Modes

Normal mode strikes a mid-way balance between ECO and Sport. Yet, even when in normal or ECO mode, the Lexus CT 200h tries to offer a sports-like driving experience, due to careful interior design. Lexus describes it like this: “A low driver’s seat with enhanced lateral and lumbar support, a sporting, wide grip steering wheel and a driver-focused instrument binnacle housing large, high-visibility, triple dials.”

The Lexus CT 200h gets high marks for aerodynamics. The drag of coefficient is 0.28, the lowest in the compact luxury category—yet not as good as the appliance-looking Prius. Lexus says the aerodynamics of the Lexus CT 200h are not only to support efficiency, but also the quality of its handling, ride comfort and stability at high speed.

The production-ready full hybrid Lexus CT 200h—the fifth hybrid offered by Lexus—will be unveiled at the Paris motor show on September 30. U.K. sales are scheduled to start in early 2011, and in the U.S. later in the year.

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  • Eric

    This is really a great looking hatchback! I was hoping to see numbers a bit closer to the Prius, but I’m sure with all the ammenities weighing it down and higher drag, it was not doable without a high premium added to the cost. If I wasn’t commiting myself to an EV for my next car, this one would be hard to pass up. Hopefully the price is competitive.

  • Lexus CT Lover

    It’d be helpful to know which drive mode can achieve this 42 mpg: EV, normal, or sport?

  • Kormiko

    I’m pretty sure the 42 MPG refers to the Eco mode.
    EV is electric only.

  • Anonymous

    I doubt that EV mode is taken into consideration. My guess would be normal mode.

  • JamesDavis

    I knew they could do it. Japan probably have the best gas millage cars anywhere around — the U.S. just wouldn’t allow them in.

  • FamilyGuy

    I see the word “hatchback” and my first thought is “wagon”, but it seems that no one wants to use that word wagon. Then I read “compact” and I start to think quasi-wagon. I wonder how compact, compact really is. It’s getting close to being more of a family vehicle. Granted, it still only seats four, but it should have more trunk space then the other 4 seater non-SUV hybrids being currently offered. My other main concern is the luxury aspect. Sure, my Wife likes heated seats and a navigation system, but there’s a price tag that is probably going to be out of my range associated with the luxury. Pricing is going to be key to see if this has potential to be my next family car. I’m guessing not, but it’s getting closer.

    As a side note, not related to the article, it does seem that this site is pro Toyota and anti almost everyone else. Comments like this appear from time to time, but I really never bought into that theory. I really do like this site. I try to read it everyday to see if there’s a new article or new comments. But I have noticed subtle knocks against Honda in the past and here again today. If the article is about the CT 200h, then why knock the CR-Z? We should be happy for any hybrid offering. Also, if it’s going to be the fourth car rated above 40 MPG combined, give credit to Honda for making available the Civic and Inisght. I did own an Accord and I am partial to them. Just an observation.

  • Anonymous

    Good gas mileage, but still a tiny bit disappointed – since it is Prius sized I would have hoped for Prius like numbers, but hell it is finally a good looking hybrid and a step closer to a wagon type hybrid (the space in the back looks for me still to small to qualify as wagon) … but seems like we are getting there. Now I want a good looking version of the Prius that is a true station wagon.

  • DownUnder


    I think the keyword is “Luxury”. Maybe Honda CR-Z is not qualified as luxury? They talked about Audi A3 and Lincoln MKZ. Homda cars may be classified as “Prestige” but not Luxury? Maybe Acura?

  • Brad Berman

    Hey Family Guy,
    Thanks for your feedback about the apparent Toyota-bias of the site. As the site editor, I make every effort to be fair and call things as I see them. I have owned and loved my 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid for about eight years. I am very fond of Honda vehicles, and the company deserves credit for sticking with its hybrid program. But as I have discussed with their folks, Honda has missed the mark on hybrids in many ways. The canceled Honda Accord Hybrid went V6; the new Honda Insight looks too much like the Prius but doesn’t match its mpg; the CR-Z is cool but doesn’t deliver enough on performance or fuel economy. I’m not giving up on them, and I expect they’ll bounce back from mistakes.

    This is a hybrid site, and Toyota (despite quality issues and dragging heels on plug-ins) is still the leader–delivering great products like the Prius and following up with a slew of new hybrids from Lexus as well as Toyota.

    I’m excited that the field of green cars is broadening out, and that Toyota will have to work harder than ever to deliver on its green image. That’s a good thing for all of us.

    Please continue to keep us honest on the site, and call out when you see lack of balance.

  • FamilyGuy

    Mr Berman,

    I apologize deeply for offending you. I tried to choose my words carefully by using phrases such as “does seem” and “subtle knocks”.

    It must be my misunderstanding. You’re not knocking Honda, you’re just disappointed in Honda, as I am. I had an 1997 Accord with 178k miles. When it was time to move on from that car, there was no offering in the hybrid market from Honda that we wanted. We opted for the Altima Hybrid. I loved my Accord and keep hoping that they will again offer something that can be my next family car. I agree with you in that Honda has missed the mark on many occasions.

    Again, I’m sorry for offending you. I enjoy your site, I try to read it daily.

    Thank you for your time in addressing my comments and setting me straight.


  • Charles

    This maybe the closest to the hybrid that I want on the market, but I am still going to hold out for a Mazda 5/Ford Grand C-Max type hybrid. I cannot afford nor do I rally care about a luxury car. I just want great MPGs and room for two bicycles inside the car. My old Ford Focus wagon works great, but I really want better MPGs for its replacement.

  • Peter

    0-60 in 9.8 sec.? Geez, this is CR-Z territory. Mind you, it comes at below 20 grand.

    What can be the explanation for such a drop in fuel economy compared with Prius? The drivetrain comes from Prius, the platform comes from Corolla.

    Will Lexus have more sales success this time? The sales of HS250 looks less than impressive, no, actually dismal, even CR-Z outsold it with 7 days sales in August !?!

    “Lexus combines sporty attributes, luxury features and class-leading fuel economy. Honda made a similar but less successful attempt in the entry-level category with the Honda CR-Z.”
    But wait, who says Honda targets CR-Z to be luxury???

  • Tom

    Hybrid is appreciated… but this car is butt-ugly. Like it or not, the market wants a car with good emotional appeal

  • Dr. Danger

    You want a good looking car, fuel efficient and fun to drive? Check out the Audi A3 TDI. Some of the new models, though barely over 100 bhp get over 60 mpg. Oh, and lower emissions than the Prius.

  • Anonymous

    If it wasn’t a hatchback, I might be interested. I don’t know why targeting a “younger audience” means you can’t have classic lines and simple elegance. Hatchbacks are just plain ugly.

  • Dan205

    I could have written the exact comment. I have a 2004 Focus wagon and the only thing I see coming that could replace it is the C-Max (hopefully they will bring in a hybrid version as promised) or the new Prius v (wagon) due this summer.

    This Lexus looks good, but I bet most of them will have lots of expensive “packages” that push the price way up. And it looks small in comparison to the C-Max.

  • sheikh hammad

    i love to drive hyberd

  • tapra2

    but is rated at 36 mpg on the highway. The EPA has not released official numbers for the CT 200h, but according to Toyota,UK Hosting Reviews