Whether it's the rather bland looks or the underwhelming stats, the 2011 Lexus CT 200h hasn't primed us for our first shot behind its wheel. Today's announcement of four driving modes for the car doesn't do much to change that, though we're interested to see just how much sport can be added to the car with the press of a button.
In addition to the expected sport mode, the 2011 CT 200h also offers EV, eco, and normal drive modes to exploit its hybrid nature and maximize fuel economy to suit the situation. In EV mode, the CT 200h is good for all of one mile of all-electric driving, at speeds below 25 mph. That's not much good for even slow-paced urban driving, but it could help cut fuel wasted while cruising the lot looking for a space at the local mega mall.
Eco mode is a bit more practical, adjusting throttle response to damp out over-aggressive inputs and help cut waste on the driver's part. Air conditioning controls are also reined in to reduce the load on the engine.
In sport mode, Lexus tries to un-hybrid the CT 200h, sharpening throttle response and steering feel, holding higher revs before shifting, and making less intrusion from the stability and traction control systems to allow a little attitude.
We'll have to get behind the wheel of the new CT 200h to investigate both its greener and "darker" sides, but we'll have to wait like everyone else until nearer the retail sale date in early 2011.