Car reviews - Lexus - CT - 200h F-Sport
The facelifted Lexus CT200h hatch lacks spark when compared with its German rivals
15 Aug 2014
By BARRY PARK
HYBRID sales to private owners are on a bit of loose end in Australia as people who have to dig into their own pockets to pay for the fuel-saving technology fail to warm to it.
Sales of the electrically assisted cars are down almost 20 per cent this year compared with first six months of 2013, and the slowdown has already claimed its first victim – Honda dumped its Insight petrol-electric hybrid hatchback earlier this year in response to what amounted to a trickle of showroom interest in the car.
Lexus, though, is bucking the trend, with hybrid models – including the CT200h hatch, IS300h and ES300h sedans, GS300h and GS450h mid-sizers, LS600h limousine and RX450h SUV – accounting for two out of every five sales in the first three months of this year, a 30 per cent jump over 2013’s performance.
It's into this environment that Lexus launches a fresh-faced version of its CT200h city-friendly hatchback, featuring the new spindle grille. The smallest petrol-electric car in the Lexus line-up is also its third best-selling model, although outsold more than three to one by the IS sedan range and RX soft-roader.
Changes to the CT200h are largely cosmetic, although the smallest Lexus also gains more driver engagement via suspension and steering tweaks. Are these running changes enough to bolster sales in what appears to be a segment of the market slowly running out of spark?
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Model release date: 1 April 2014
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