Friday, 15 October 2010

Lexus CT200h

I should probably declare that I own a Lexus.

I should also probably also declare that I exactly fit the stereotype of a Lexus driver, except that I don't play golf. I am careful, deliberate, don't like to drive fast. I like to put the cruise control on and sit at 70 exactly on the motorway. I wait until I've got enough of a gap for 6 busses to pull out before I even attempt to gently push my way out.

To put it another way, I am a safe yet incredibly dull driver.

And Lexus make safe yet incredibly dull luxury cars. In all honesty, you can't drive them any other way, because you put your foot down and nothing happens for a few seconds. So you need a bit of a bigger gap. Yes, the acceleration is there when you need it, but it takes a while to appear. And the lights are automatic and self-levelling, so you can't blind people like Range Rover drivers like to do. The hybrid drive also has a peculiar little trick, whereby under light braking the battery starts recharging. Fine, except that if the battery is full, the system turns itself off and you suddenly lose all the braking force you were applying, and have to push a little bit harder. Often as you are rapidly approaching another car. So you stay well back in case of having to brake and potentially losing a fair proportion of your braking force, without warning.

And I've been looking for ways to reduce my fuel consumption, when along come Lexus with a new hatchback, claiming to give 69mpg. So it should be right up my street.

Except, it's not.

It's a Japanese version of the BMW 1 series, which has always been a little bit of a pointless car. But the fancy electronics add so much on to the price that it's no longer able to compete with the 1 series. So you end up with an overpriced car that is effectively a copy of an overpriced and pointless car.

No, sorry, I'm being dismissive. There is a point to the 1 series. It's for people who want a BMW but don't want to pay 3 series prices. And Lexus have introduced their competitor to the 1 series, and made it more expensive than the 3 series. So where exactly are they going to steal sales from? Answers on a postcard please...

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