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Sometimes when you are a spy you don't have to do all of the work.

A great example of such an unparalleled opportunity happened just yesterday morning.

While going to get my haircut downtown in New York City, I wound up seeing something that I swore deceived me. Was that just a Lexus CT200h? Not one but two of them? What?!

I was quoted as saying "Holy Sh!$#"

Long story short, Lexus is having the World Preview Tour for the all-new CT200h. The tour consists of two Euro-spec prototype vehicles which you can -- unbelievably -- test drive. As far as I know, not even the press has had the chance to give the car a ride.


2012 Lexus CT200h Photo Gallery







Luckily, I was in the right place at the right time but there was one hang up. I didn't have my proper camera. So, I swallowed my pride and took a few shots for the Spies with a bright pink point and shoot, thanks to my significant other. Although I am ashamed of the quality of the photographs, they are better than nothing and I have an idea what to get her for our anniversary.

Take a look at the 2012 Lexus CT200h Photo Gallery.

So after some "paperwork," I mean some forms filled out on an iPad, 00R was behind the wheel of the all-new hybrid.

First things first, looking around the interior it seems quite upscale. Its design is definitely European-inspired and everything feels well put together. Mind you this was a pre-production prototype; usually these car's build quality isn't so hot. Not the case in the CT200h.

Additionally, the interior seemed relatively roomy. Being 6'8 and 235 pounds, I fit fine without feeling claustrophobic. Granted, headroom was lacking and if I had not just gotten a haircut I probably would have been scraping the headliner.


2012 Lexus CT200h Photo Gallery









Poking and prodding the center stack's switchgear, the interior features appear to be the standard Lexus running gear. If you have ever driven a Lexus, you will not have to relearn how to turn on the heated seats. But considering I did not have more than 15 minutes with the car, I was only preoccupied with one thing, driving.

Getting it turned on and down the block, you quickly realize that it feels a lot like a third-generation Toyota Prius and Lexus HS250h that has been refined even more. Of course there is the usual hesitation when setting off from a stop, but it is a hybrid.

The one dial you will want to know about is the silver one in the middle of the center stack. That one controls the driving dynamics of the car. When you turn it to the right, it puts the Lexus into "Sport" mode. The gauge cluster's ambient light turns red and you begin to feel the differences immediately. Steering wheel weighting gets heavier and its drive becomes more responsive.

It does not drive as direct as a BMW but the steering feel is very similar to an Audi without the heft an Audi usually carries.

Over New York's infamous bumps, potholes and miscellaneous craters, the CT200h fairs out reasonably well. The suspension is on the tauter side but it didn't seem overkill. Definitely would need more time with the vehicle to be more conclusive.

Obviously the most important part about any hybrid car is what kind of MPG it reels in. The CT's mileage is still up in the air and individuals working the event didn't really have any answers. But I did hear that MPG somewhere in the 40s is being tossed around. How much of that is valid, 00R does not know.

If the CT can do better than the HS250h and Honda CR-Z then it will be in the clear. Now, if it can hit the third-generation Prius' numbers it may be a miracle.

At the end of the day, our brief drive of the Lexus CT200h was a pleasurable one. Clearly, we would need more time to get a more concrete feel for the car but it definitely paints us a nice picture of what Lexus had in mind when it created the CT.


2012 Lexus CT200h Photo Gallery


























2012 Lexus CT200h Photo Gallery

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2011 Bentley Continental GT Photo Gallery

2011 Dodge Durango Photo Gallery

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid & MKX


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EXCLUSIVE: 00R Drives Lexus' Latest Hybrid, The CT200h

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Agent00R

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