The CT 200h leads Lexus’s entry into 2014, the market’s only full hybrid luxury compact hatchback undergoing a raft of changes that sharpen styling, hone handling and spice up specifications. And the prices are coming, down, too. The full story will break in the next few weeks, but early details have been issued ahead of the first cars reaching the road during March.
The Detroit motor show marked the debut of a hot new high-performance Lexus, the RC F. Powered by the mightiest V8 engine Lexus has yet engineered and visibly inspired by the LFA supercar, this full-blooded coupe will sit at the pinnacle of the new RC range, which broke cover in Tokyo late last year.
Driving a Lexus straight into a solid object isn’t recommended for customers, but it is all part of the stringent crash test programme that’s revealed the new IS 300h to be the best in its class for safety. The full hybrid saloon topped the rankings in Euro NCAP’s 2013 test data, earning it a five-star rating and particular praise for the performance of its pop-up hood in helping cut the injury risk to pedestrians.
Look at any new Lexus and you can’t fail to notice the more striking design language that’s being applied, not least with the “spindle” front grille that’s quickly become a distinctive and defining feature. That’s only part of Lexus’s commitment to great design: it has just announced the winners of the second international Lexus Design Award – including young British creative James Fox – and announced details of the major exhibition it will be hosting at this year’s Milan Design Week.
Last year the Lexus GS 450h won the “residual value champion” honour in German motoring magazine Auto Bild’s annual survey. This year it lost out… to its sister model, the new GS 300h, which has been calculated to offer the lowest depreciation percentage in its class.
Russia is one of Lexus’s biggest global markets and it has given the new IS a warm reception. Top motoring magazine Klaxon has given the IS a covered gold award as the best mid-size car on the market, the eighth such trophy to be collected by a Lexus in the past 13 years. Not be outdone, the local edition of Top Gear magazine in the Baltic states has named the IS Baltimaade Aasta Sedaan and Delli Nutikaim Auto for 2014 – that’s best saloon and smartest car of the year for anyone whose Estonian is a little rusty.
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