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VIDEO: Lexus goes sporty with new hybrid

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SALT LAKE CITY — Celebrities made hybrids cool with their Priii. Now, the CT200h that Lexus loaned us is trying to make hybrids sporty.

Our demo had the F Sport package, which gave it nothing but a sportier look. It looks a lot like a Mazda 3.

Under the hood, it has a 98-horsepower four cylinder gas engine that combines with the electric motor to pump out a whopping 134 horsepower. That was sarcasm.

We wouldn't call it fast, but it's interesting to drive. It handles fine, but Sardine Canyon turned into use the batteries going up, charge 'em as you go down. And that helps you get 42 miles per gallon. You can skulk around in full-electric mode — this should be in a spy movie; the bad guys could drive conventional sport wagons.

Eco mode is blue, Sport gets you red lighting and tach. The info screen adjusts and is easy to read, but you still have to toggle around with a mouse-y thing to find out who sings that song. We hate it, but CT200 buyers are what Lexus calls "young, highly discerning," and "environmentally conscientious."

Who also want to get weather and pro sports info from their cars, though they have smartphone holders. It has serious cockpit feel, though that means resting your hand on a mouse.

Out back, there's plenty of room for dancing drills. We had almost a week of runaround testing, and it was an interesting time, but the week was cut short by crash testing when an F-350 rear-ended us. The Little Lex gave where it should, none of the 8 air bags fired, and the only injury was a sore neck.


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Brian Champagne


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