Michael’s World: Lexus, The Search For A New Audience

December 4, 2010

By Michael Andre Adams

With compact cars representing the fastest growing and best selling segments from Harlem to Houston in the auto industry, luxe-life car manufacturer, Lexus, has once again beat American manufacturers to the starting line.

This spring, the brand will introduce its first ever compact car, with al intentions of capturing a stronger share of younger, entry level luxury car buyers. And they sweetened the deal with a further reduction of the car’s carbon footprint beyond its compact size, with another environmentally friendly twist: it’s a hyrbid!

From the outside, it’s obvious that Lexus got jiggy in the design of the new CT 200h. The low down front fascia, sleek roof and side lines of this stylishly sporty hatchback design is a definite head turner, especially amongst Gen-Yers. And with 40 being the new 20, no wonder Gen Xers like me find it aesthetically appealing and full of Lexus presence.

Despite its compact size, I found the interior to be quite comfortable, for the driver and front passenger. And although the fifth door opening is naturally less than that of a crossover, or SUV, with folding rear seats, one could cleverly maneuver cargo in and out for a weekend adventure, or exceptional shopping spree.

With a 134 horsepower engine, you’ll be in no race to get there. You will arrive with some extra change in your pocket for the gas you saved due to the engine size and hybrid feature. And with the EPA rating pending, just think, if the 187 horsepower Lexus HS 250h scored 35 mpg city / 34 highway, and the 98 horsepower Toyota Prius, with 105 pund-foot torque, scored 51 city /48 highway, the new CT 200h has got to be somewhere in the middle, which aint bad.

Certain colors of the CT 200h have exceptional upscale appeal, including a shade of brown, with white interior that’s a definite stand out. To that I’d replace the 17″ inch rims with a set of 18″‘s and say to them all, “how ya like me now!”

Again, you won’t see this one in your neighbors driveway until sometime after spring. And despite a “pretty please with sugar on top” request from my contact at Lexus, pricing has yet to be revealed for this new, entry level Luxe-Lexus. What you will find is “Darkcasting.” Hosted by actress and stand-up comedian, Whitney Cummings, alongside influential style-makers and personalities in major markets across the country, the series aims to share the candid conversations that took place along the drive.

“The show features a group of real drivers, not just driving enthusiasts, who give their honest impressions of the car and what is most relevant for them—maybe it’s the 42 miles per gallon, or maybe it’s simply fun to drive,” explains Dave Nordstrom, Lexus VP of marketing.

To check out the “Darker Side of Green,” go here.

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