Open the CT 200h’s hood and... you’ll find a non-premium, typical “stick” that is used to hold it in an upright position. But we’re not here to talk about that. Actually, we won’t even be here too long because, like we said this is almost the same hardware used to (under)power the Toyota Prius. Of course, Lexus wanted whiter collars, so it did teach the hybrid powertrain, which consists of three engines, a few new tricks.
Neither the electric motor that acts as a continuously variable transmission (eCVT to use Toyota language), nor the 60kW electric motor wanted to take any classes. However the 1.798cc Atkinson four-pot did, becoming a cool engine. No, not Keiichi Tsuchiya cool, but EGR cool. The powerplant comes with an Exhaust Gas Recirculation cooler which increases its efficiency even further.
Like we said, we won’t insist on the powertrain: we have a combined output of 136 hp and a peak torque of... Lexus doesn’t offer one and the vehicle has such poor straight line performance that we didn’t bother to find a dyno to test this.
But this is not even half the tech story, as Lexus took the time to develop a new chassis for the car. We have got to tell, you, the CT 200h can be used as a real-life textbook for modern automotive body&chassis construction. The engineers have increased the torsional rigidity of each and every area, just like a bodybuilder carefully develops all his muscles. We’ll jump out of the review and land on top of the car.
Ouch! The upper body is a rigid area, as the the engineers have used an entirely closed cross-section around the whole back door opening and have strengthened the area running from the backside of the rear side member to the rear wheel housings.
In this paragraph, it will seem like we’re dissecting a rally car, but don’t worry, it belongs here. Lexus has paid attention to key concepts, such as lightness and gravity center lowering. Thus, the company has placed the seats low and as close to the center of the vehicle as possible and used aluminum for the hood, tailgate and bumper reinforcements. Another important piece in this inertia moment-reducing puzzle was placing the battery below the loadspace floor. Yes, this decimates the luggage space, but, as you can read in the “Open Road” chapter, it does pay out.
We also have a smart approach for the spot welds, with a reduced spot weld pitch at the base of the pillars and, again, rally-inspired bracing, with the specialist using a front suspension member brace, a rigid front floor brace, a rear suspension member brace and two rigid rear lower supports, as well as a special battery frame.
As you can imagine, all that rigidity does bring a certain amount of vibrations. Lexus decided to combat this by replacing the usual fixed bracing with a Lateral Performance Damper System, which consists of two dampers: one connecting the front suspension towers and one linking the two sides of the rear structural frame (in front of the rear bumper).
Unfortunately, it seems like the Euro-spec cars don’t come with this feature, as we couldn’t even find it on the list of optional extras. Did we say suspension? Well, this means that we’ll have to mention that we are dealing with an L-arm MacPherson strut front setup and an independent double wishbone rear one that uses a trailing arm architecture. Many of the components, such as the anti-roll bars, have been created from the ground up, in order to offer involving handling.
Overall, the vehicle comes with a low center of gravity, a 60:40 weight distribution, as well as short front and rear overhangs. Are you bored? Just jump to the “Open Road” chapter and see how all these goodies translate into real world driving. Continue reading
LEXUS CT 200h technical data summary
Engine: 1798 cm3 cc L4 Gasoline Hybrid
Dimensions: 170.1 in (4321 mm) length / 69.5 in (1765 mm) width / 56.7 in (1440 mm) height
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