Driving styles depend greatly on a driver’s mood. If you’re angry, you might drive faster; calmer, more relaxed drivers might take a more relaxed route. This usually just depends on how hard you press the accelerator, but with the 2011 Lexus CT 200h, you will be able to select a driving mode to match your mood.
Hybrids typically offer drivers a choice of environmentally-friendly “normal” or super-environmentally-friendly “eco” modes, all of which are offered on the CT 200h. But with its sporty intentions, the CT 200h also adds a “sport” mode.
Like the Honda CR-Z, which also has a sport mode, sport mode on the CT 200h sharpens the CT 200h’s throttle response, and the electronic power steering is changed to respond to driver inputs more quickly. Unlike the Honda hatchback, however, the CT 200h also increases total system output in sport mode to boost acceleration.
In addition to sharpening dynamic responses, the CT 200h’s gauge cluster changes in sport mode. The normal hybrid power gauge is replaced by a tachometer and the backlighting changes to a red color, either to fit the driving mood or to yell at you for harming the environment — depending on your view.
In the more environmentally friendly modes, the gauges are illuminated with blue backlighting and display a hybrid power gauge to let you know how you’re driving. Eco and normal modes remap throttle response to aid smooth and efficient driving, as opposed to power for blasting down back roads. Steering feel is modified to aid smooth driving, and Eco mode also reduces air conditioning performance to reduce its impact on fuel economy.
More notable than the change in steering and throttle responsiveness are the changes to the drivetrain. Total system output is reduced to further increase fuel economy, and depending on circumstance, the drive system will also automatically switch into fuel-conserving EV mode. In EV mode, which is also driver-selectable, the CT 200h can travel at speeds up to 30 mph on electricity alone.
The 2011 Lexus CT 200h will appear at the Paris Motor Show in September before hitting dealership lots in October.