Lexus Announces Driving Modes for its Sporty New Hybrid Compact

Lexus has released details about the four driving modes that will be included in its forthcoming CT 200h hybrid. The sporty compact is the second dedicated hybrid offering from the carmaker and is intended to boost the fun factor for luxury hybrid drivers—while still being capable of delivering fuel economy approaching the Toyota Prius’s 50 MPGs.

For the CT 200h, Lexus will essentially replace the Power mode found in its other dedicated hybrid, the HS 250h, with a new Sport mode which will be tooled towards maximum performance and handling. In Sport mode throttle is cranked up considerably, power control from the battery increases by about 15 percent, and the CT’s Electronic Power Steering is adjusted to be more responsive. Lexus will also make its Vehicle Stability and Traction Control systems more passive, allowing for more driver control.

These adjustments obviously cut into fuel economy, but much of the joy of owning a car like this isn’t so much the extra performance it provides in all driving situations but the knowledge that it’s there if you’re in the mood for it.

The three more efficient driving modes are called Normal, Eco, and EV. EV mode allows drivers to go all-electric for up to a mile—so long as the car is kept below 25 mph. Normal mode utilizes Toyota’s Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission, allowing the car to respond to changing driving conditions by instantaneously adjusting its gear ratios. Eco mode alters that formula to provide maximized fuel economy for gas-electric driving—slowing cabin cooling, limiting throttle and accelerating battery charging.

The CT 200h will essentially be smaller, more aerodynamic, 5-door hatchback version of the HS 250h—which had the same sized wheelbase as the Toyota Prius but dialed-down aerodynamics for the sake of a roomier, more luxurious interior—at the expense of about 15 MPGs of fuel economy. Lexus has essentially reversed that process for the CT 200h, with the result being a smaller, more efficient luxury small car that can still pack a punch when needed.

The car will hit dealerships in the United States early next year.


  • JamesDavis

    Lexus, you are pathetic. That car is packed full of lies…it’s not sporty…it’s not a compact…it’s not electric, and it’s not a hybrid. How can you label it a hybrid with 1 mile driving on a battery where you have to go 25 MPH.

    Only a dummy would buy that car! People should refuse to buy these bundles of lies until you come out with a true hybrid or a true electric.

  • usbseawolf2000

    I am excited about this car. It will be in a class of its own with near 50 MPG with Luxury and the handling backed by Lateral Dampering Suspension.

    Sports mode changes every dynamic of the car. It makes other “sports” mode look like a toy. Inclusion of 3 othe modes make this 4 cars-in-one, sweet!

    If you are looking for a car with a plug, go get a real electric car. This car is for many people looking for high mileage, affordable, great handling, luxury car without compromise.

  • Shines

    JamesDavis why don’t you engage your brain before spouting off?
    Where does it say that a hybrid must travel more than a mile in all electric mode in order to be a hybrid? How would you know if the car is sporty or not without test driving it? I think it at least looks sporty. Lexus has proven quality and reliability and the fact is it made by Toyota says it is at least as much a hybrid as any on the road. Geeze James – your general negativity is annoying. This site is hybrid cars.com not electric cars.com. If you are looking for the perfect electric car then fine, but it might be nice for you to offer some constructive criticism once in a while when a car maker offers something that doesn’t meet your astronomically high standards.

  • usbseawolf2000

    You got that right. It is a hybrid engineered so you don’t need to plug it in.

  • mls21

    Anyone else think this thing looks like a Mazda 3 hatchback?