Lexus is set to offer an adjustable drive mode system on their upcoming CT200h hybrid hatchback, similar to systems from automakers like Nissan and Subaru.
While other performance hybrids, like the Honda CR-Z, are content with Normal, Sport and Eco modes, the CT200h has all of the above, plus an EV mode. As you can infer by the names, Normal is the standard setting, while Eco dials back the air-conditioning and throttle response and Sport sharpens up the throttle and steering. Stability control and traction control systems are also dialed back to give drivers a bit more fun behind the wheel.
The EV mode is a bit more interesting, and allows drivers to drive for one mile under electric power, but at speeds of 25 mph or under – a pretty useless feature, but a promising glimpse of things to come from Lexus. Autoguide will be previewing the CT200h at the end of September, so stay tuned for our driving impressions.
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Hit the jump to see the official press release
Lexus CT 200h Offers Standard Drive Mode Select with Four Driving Modes – Acceleration, Steering Feel, Illumination, and Meter Style Change Based on Driver Selection EV, ECO and Normal drive modes for typical driving Sport drive mode for dynamic driving with enhanced steering feel Normal and ECO modes feature blue illumination and hybrid system indicator Sport mode provides red illumination and tachometer, plus less intrusive VSC and TRAC
Torrance, Calif. – Sept. 2, 2010 – The all-new 2011 CT 200h premium compact hybrid brings a contemporary, stylish flare to Lexus’ hybrid line-up. As the fifth Lexus hybrid, the CT 200h seamlessly blends its sporty and luxurious design with fun-to-drive features.
The CT 200h benefits from a new platform incorporating numerous, exclusively developed body, chassis and Lexus Hybrid Drive engineering applications designed to offer customers a choice of distinct driving modes: Sport, when the driver wants a more dynamic experience, or Normal, Eco, or EV to satisfy more typical day-to-day driving needs.
Supplementing the Normal drive mode of the new Lexus full hybrid compact’s seamless, Electronically-Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT), three drive modes may be selected to fit the driver’s needs or mood, while further improving either performance and dynamic ability, or driving efficiency, fuel economy and emissions.
EV, ECO and Normal drive modes place the emphasis on more relaxed driving, with particular attention paid to ride comfort, smooth acceleration and the minimization of NVH within the body, chassis and powertrain.
From start-up and at speeds of less than 25 miles per hour, the CT 200h can operate in EV mode for up to one mile driving under electric motor power alone. This unique driving mode is not available to drivers of mild hybrid vehicles, requiring the full hybrid technology of Lexus Hybrid Drive. With vehicle range dictated by battery charge, the EV drive mode allows for comfortable urban driving with minimal noise, and zero NOx and particulate emissions. Because the gas engine is switched off throughout its operation, the EV drive mode contributes to a significant reduction in the new Lexus’ overall fuel consumption.
In ECO mode, throttle response to aggressive accelerator pedal inputs is reduced and air-conditioning control optimized for improved fuel economy. Depending on driving conditions, the ECO mode can help customers adopt a relaxed driving style, and can achieve a perceptible reduction in fuel consumption.
Sport mode focuses on dynamic driving, maximizing the new CT 200h’s performance and steering feel. Engine revs are held higher, and throttle and Electric Power Steering (EPS) settings are modified to give a faster response to driver inputs. The system automatically governs the amount of steering assistance to offer more direct steering feedback and a more involving driving experience. In addition, Sport mode provides less intrusive operation of the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC) systems, allowing drivers to fully exploit the new Lexus full hybrid’s extended dynamic abilities.
The highly distinct characters available via the CT 200h’s Drive Mode Select function are further reinforced through changes to the driver’s instruments synchronized to driving mode selection. Backlit in hybrid blue for the EV, ECO and Normal drive modes, the instrument panel illumination automatically switches to red when the Sport mode is selected. Simultaneously, the hybrid power indicator changes to a tachometer.
With four standard drive modes offered as part of the Drive Mode Select function, CT 200h demonstrates a new hybrid attitude for luxury customers, which can simply be referred to as the Darker Side of Green. Lexus will display the CT 200h at the Paris Motor Show.