This is the new CT 200h, Lexus’ first hatchback which also is “the first full hybrid vehicle to be launched in the premium compact segment”. Based on the LF-Ch concept, this car is meant to lower the entry point of Lexus ownership and attract younger customers to the brand. Production will start late this year.

Designed and developed with Europe in mind, this production-ready Geneva showstar sports much toned down styling from the gold coloured concept that was unveiled in Frankfurt last year. The CT 200h should be about the size of a Golf; its 2600 mm wheelbase is 20 mm longer than the VW’s. The marque’s L-finesse design philosophy and the need for maximum aerodynamic efficiency and minimum wind noise determined the final shape. There’s some interesting detailing going on, but as a whole it looks dull to these eyes; what do you think?

If the exterior design didn’t stick true to the concept, the cabin is downright disappointing after what was promised. It looks high quality, but what happened to the bit about attracting younger customers? Anyway, the driving position is set low, with a highly supportive driver’s seat, says its maker, while in Sport mode, the hybrid indicator in the binnacle functions as a tachometer and the ambient lighting turns from blue to red. Lexus’ mouse-like Remote Touch controller makes an appearance.

The hybrid system in the CT 200h combines a 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine with an electric motor. This Lexus is capable of running in fully electric, zero emissions EV mode for up to 2 km (only?) at speeds up to 45 km/h. Lexus says that the CT sits on a new platform with a dedicated double wishbone and trailing arm rear suspension system setup, which combines the ride comfort expected of a Lexus with superior driving involvement and handling agility.

To see what this car might have been, click here to see the LF-Ch. More pics of the CT 200h after the jump.

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