02/09/2011—Well, with the CT 200h hitting dealerships next month, we thought we’d round up some Lexus magazine crew and head down to the docks to welcome the first models onto North American soil:

Video length: 00:38

As you can see, quickly driving CT 200h after CT 200h down the ship’s several decks of narrow ramps and around multiple U-turns is a tightly coordinated operation.

By the 10th vehicle or so, it occurred to us: what a superb place to get a feel for what the world’s first hybrid luxury compact can do. I mean, with a schedule to hit and thousands of vehicles to offload from a giant ocean-going parking garage, who wouldn’t prefer driving a high-performance luxury model with a low center of gravity?

And that got us thinking about you and your CT 200h test drive—and some of the reasons you’re going to want to take one:

The first test drivers are impressed: I’m not talking about all the auto journalists—present company included—evaluating CT 200h prototypes last year (although they are impressed). I’m talking about the guys and gals whose job it is to drive all the CT 200hs off the ships this month. “Nice car,” was their oft-repeated comment during our visit last week.

You can park this vehicle anywhere: Okay, that’s a stretch (you can’t park it in a red zone), but at only 170.1 inches long, this car will get you into some conveniently tight spaces. So please make sure your test drive includes a test park.

Bamboo: This feature hasn’t received much attention, but we just love the eco-elegance (not to mention engineering creativity) of a premium audio system that uses bamboo fiber speaker diaphragms to achieve superior sound quality.

42 miles to the gallon[1] (combined): Need we say more? Yes, actually we do: to quote’s review, this fuel economy rating makes the Lexus CT 200h “one of the most efficient vehicles on the market.”

bio-PET Ecological Plastic: When you get a chance, look inside the CT 200h’s rear cargo area—it’ll look like a normal cargo space, but it’s lined with a durable low-carbon bioplastic made in part from...biodegradable sugar cane.

The dynamic damper factor: If there’s one CT 200h aspect to pay attention to on a test drive, it’s the vehicle’s superb agility, and that’s partially due to a creative invention: hydraulic strut braces that help make the car sharp, smooth, and fun to drive. But we’ll let the chief engineer tell you more about this simple breakthrough.

The luxury factor: XM Satellite Radio[2], USB connector for iPod/MP3 players, optional rain-sensing windshield wipers, optional Remote Touch system, optional Dynamic Laser Cruise Control[3]...

With a name like Sam Sadakata, it has to be good: The CT 200h’s chief engineer, Sam Sadakata, is the same luxury-hybrid top gun who introduced the flagship Lexus LS 600h L in 2007—and his talents, as you can see from this list, are more than evident in his latest model.

And finally...$29,120[4]: That’s the starting price, my friend. For a Lexus. The real deal.

So, please, go ahead and watch the above video again. One of those CT 200hs just may have your name on it—and it’s now heading to a dealership near you.


Legal Disclaimers

[1] EPA MPG Estimates. Actual mileage will vary

[2] Satellite Radio requires XM® or SIRIUS® compatible receiver and a subscription service fee after trial. Vehicles without a factory-installed radio receiver require hardware purchase and installation. Please see your Lexus dealer for further details. All fees and programming subject to change. Subscriptions subject to the XM Customer Agreement available at or the SIRIUS Terms & Conditions available at Available only in the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia. Interface kit for iPod® and XM® Radio services are not compatible and are not available in conjunction with one another.

[3] Dynamic Laser Cruise Control is designed to assist the driver and is not a substitute for safe and attentive driving practices. Please see your Owner’s Manual for important cautions and instructions.

[4] MSRP does not include delivery, processing and handling fee of $875. Excludes taxes, title, license and optional equipment. Dealer price may vary.