By Rita Cook     

While there are a number of hybrid options to choose from these days, thinking green behind the wheel in one of the five Lexus hybrids might mean you’ll turn up at Sewell Lexus in Dallas to see what is being offered.  While Stephen Tolerico, Chief Marketing Officer, Sewell Automotive Companies was reticent about offering specific answers about the local dealership noting “Sewell Lexus does not share information specific to our local operation,” he did attempt to offer some insight.

“Lexus currently offers five different hybrid models,” he says.  “In addition to the exclusive hybrid powertrain CT 200h and HS 250h, Lexus offers the RX, the GS and the LS models in both conventional and advanced hybrid powertrains.  Lexus has the most comprehensive hybrid offerings of all luxury brands.”  In fact, the Lexus CT200h is all new in 2011 definitely taking the Lexus hybrid up a notch offering fuel efficiency and a “cool” factor.  So if most Lexus models already make you smile, this one is going to do double duty and there is also the comfy interior and the driving experience, sporty with just the right handling. 

The CT 200h is Lexus' fifth hybrid and it is also the least expensive one.  The Premium model I drove had a price tag of $38,239.  Like the Lexus HS 250h, with which it shares a powertrain the competition comes in with the Audi A3, the BMW 1 Series or the Volvo C30.  Even with the competition though the gas-friendly angle in the CT 200h still stands out.

The CT 200h has two trims to choose from either the base or the Premium levels and both are compact four-door hatchbacks. The standard equipment on the base model are 17-inch wheels, heated side mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat, dual-zone climate control and vinyl upholstery. Premium offers the luxury of heated front seats and a sunroof.

Packages are available to further up the Premium luxury factor with an Audio package also including an auto-dimming rearview mirror and there is a Leather package with rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery.  The Navigation package offers a back-up camera.  You can also opt for LED headlamps and cruise control with a pre-collision system.  Under the hood it’s a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline-powered engine and a pair of electric motor/generators offering 134 horsepower. The power comes from the specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Inside the CT 200h the interior space is comfortable with knobs and dials positioned in just the right place.  Even if you don’t opt for the leather upholstery, the standard upholstery won’t disappoint. 
With the NuLuxe, the shifter is different than in most cars and will take some getting used to. It sits high on the dash and “Park” is a button you push.  There is a control in the center panel to handle all your navigational needs using the equivalent of a mouse for info on audio and other information, including the GPS system.  The backseat is small so for tall riders it might not be comfortable, but luggage space is large enough at 14.3 cubic feet and the rear seats also fold down.

Of course, the CT 200h is all about fuel economy  and better in the city than the highway with 43 miles per gallon in the city and 40 miles per gallon on the highway.  When I tested it on a long-haul trip it got about 43 miles per gallon.  There is also the option of “Normal” mode and “Sport” mode, and that’s where you get the most bang for your buck.  While you probably won’t win any drag races in this one, that’s not what it’s about anyway and when you wrap it all up with good gas mileage, good handling and a nice looking style, you’ll still come out with the perfect equation.
“Sewell Lexus is proud to offer the widest variety of hybrid models in the luxury market,” says David Hudson, Sewell Lexus sales manager.  “We have a hybrid model to fit every stage of the eco-conscious shopper.  From the CT 200h, the most fuel efficient luxury vehicle to the RX 450h,  the world’s first hybrid luxury SUV to the range topping LS 600h L, the world’s first full hybrid vehicle equipped with a V8 all-wheel drive powertrain.”  Each is efficient for its size and weight.


Rita Cook is an award winning journalist who writes or has written for the Dallas Morning News, Focus Daily News, Waxahachie Daily Light,  Dreamscapes Travel Magazine, Porthole, Core Media, Fort Worth Star Telegram and many other publications in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago.  Cook is the Managing Editor of Insider Magazine, worked at the Chicago Sun Times for renowned columnist Irv Kupcinet and can also be heard Sunday morning in Los Angeles on The Insider Magazine Radio Show’s featured segment “I’m Standing Here.”  With five books published, her latest release is “A Brief History of Fort Worth” published by History Press.  You can contact her at [email protected]