Blog: Lexus CT200h
Dave Leggett | 22 March 2011
Boathouse at Eton was a calming location
It will be interesting to see how the Lexus CT200h gets on. I note that some of the reviews have criticised the car as 'unsporty' or as a slightly dull handler.
Let's just get that in perspective. The CT200h will do 0-60mph in 10.3 secs. BMW's 118d is 9 secs. It's a difference, but it's not a huge issue for most 'normals' surely. Ditto 'on the edge' handling. Most people will not be terribly demanding on the driving dynamics front. I don't want to sound too cynical about the art of road testing (has its place for proper enthusiasts and serious petrol heads, people who are heavily into the driving experience) but we have to consider what will really sell this car. It's not going to be cornering at the limit capability, (wo)man and machine in perfect harmony. The finer points of the product itself are exactly that, provided certain basic thresholds and standards are met for a car in this class - and I think they are. The average punter won't care that it is 10.3 secs to 60, not 9. If it was 15 secs, that would be different.
A more pertinent question is: will the car's 'image' work for the target demographic? I think Lexus is doing the right things to achieve that. Most importantly, the body styling is a very competent job (thankfully, it does not say Prius relation). It is also a practical car; there's good luggage space. The interior design is well-executed. Kylie is in the ads and there's a green hue, low running costs. It does very well on the company car benefit-in-kind scale.
As long as there are no supply problems, I can see this car being a pretty straightforward success for Lexus - at least in terms of the Lexus' sales target.
Incidentally, the UK launch event took place at Eton rowing club. It's a massive complex, very big rowing lake and it's where the rowing will take place in next year's London Olympics. There were people on bicycles with loudhailers barking instructions at rowers feverishly rowing. 'Put your back into it man.' I took a photograph out of the boathouse window as I munched on a particularly tasty bacon roll. Non sequitur I know, but I wanted to crowbar that picture in to this posting.