We may see the stylish Prius return in the near future.
When Lexus phased out the Prius-based Lexus CT 200h in the U.S. back in 2017, it seemed like the hatchback was truly dead as a doornail in our market. Lexus announced no plans to replace it, leaving prospective buyers in a bit of a pickle. If you don’t particularly care for the Prius’ odd-duck styling, we don’t blame you, and its alternative has been out of circulation for two years now. However, Autocar reports Lexus is indeed working on a CT 200h replacement. While it is not sold in the U.S., the CT 200h is still kicking in global markets.
Lexus Europe head Pascal Ruch, speaking at the Geneva Motor Show, offered some insight on the matter. The new Lexus CT 200h will remain on sale until 2021. After that, the next generation will move to Toyota’s TNGA platform. That platform underpins the brand’s more recent cars, including the current Prius.
Over the long-term, Lexus plans to boost its global hybrid market share to 50 percent. It’s an ambitious goal and one where Lexus needs a wider variety to hit the mark. What is not currently clear is whether the company plans to keep the CT 200h replacement a hatchback. Crossovers are the hot ticket right now, but Lexus already has a good spread there. There’s the new subcompact UX, as well as the NX and the RX.
The focus with the Lexus CT 200h is currently on the European market where it still sells. As such, it’s also not clear whether a replacement would come to the U.S. or not. Depending on the type of car it is, a new CT 200h may fare well as an upmarket alternative to the Prius, which is facing tougher and tougher competition. It was also the least expensive Lexus model, which could also attract more buyers into the brand.
Editor’s Note: If Lexus did revive the CT 200h here, I’m willing to bet we would see the same powertrain from the UX 250h. That would give it a power bump over the old car’s 1.8-liter-based hybrid system, which put out an underwhelming 134 horsepower. The hybrid UX manages 181 horsepower from its 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle engine and electric motor. Hopefully, that would mean over 40 mpg combined, and a fair amount of zip.
In a throwback to when Lexus did sell the CT 200h here, check out our track review below: