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Building upon <A HREF="">our previous Front Page story</A>, here is more detailed information on Lexus CT 200h pricing for the United States. Back in mid-September this author predicted, in <A HREF="">an earlier Front Page story</A> that U.S. CT 200h base model pricing would be no higher than $29,995 plus destination charge and local taxes. Other pundits, however, felt that the current strong Japanese yen / weak U.S. dollar would push the base MSRP closer to the $31,000-$32,000 range. Fortunately, <A HREF="">a Lexus USA Newsroom Press Release</A> confirms that base, or Entry Model pricing will begin at $29,120, or, once the delivery, processing and handling fee of $875 is added on, $29,995. That number is a whopping $1130 lower than its most direct rival, the Audi A3 TDI Diesel. And, while the Lexus CT's 40 mpg EPA highway fuel economy rating falls a couple of ticks short of the Audi diesel's 42 mpg on the highway, the Lexus' 43 mpg city and 42 mpg in combined city/highway driving are numbers the Audi (with EPA ratings of 30 mpg in city driving and 34 mpg in combined city/highway driving) can only dream about, not to mention that the Lexus achieves them on 87-octane regular fuel that is at least 20 cents per gallon cheaper than diesel fuel. In other pricing comparisons, the Entry Model Lexus CT 200h is priced to be $4,695 below the IS 250 Automatic and $6,480 below the HS 250h.

And said Entry Model is hardly a stripper, for its generous standard equipment list for the United States includes 17" alloy wheels, Safety Connect telematics, XM Satellite Radio, USB connector for iPod/MP3 players, Bluetooth including streaming audio, NuLuxe imitation leather seating with power lumbar support, plus a couple of industry firsts: the Yamaha front and rear lateral performance damping system designed to absorb and minimize undesirable body vibrations, offer a more linear steering feel, and further contribute to ride comfort; and the Electronic Device Holder that can easily hold most cell phones, music players, or portable Navigation devices in close proximity to the power and USB ports on the console. For those who prefer a few more bells and whistles in their vehicles, Lexus has somewhat revised their original plan to offer four option packages as we wrote <A HREF="">in late October</A>. Instead, the CT 200h will echo its hybrid big brother the HS 250h in offering a Premium Model that adds a Moonroof and Heated Seats to the Entry Model's already extensive suite of standard features. The Premium Model will have an MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) of $30,900, or, once the delivery, processing and handling fee of $875 is added on, $31,775.

Lexus will also offer five option packages (presumably available on both Entry and Premium models), although three of them are similar riffs on the Premium Audio Package. The first of these includes the 10-speaker Lexus Premium Audio System with In-dash, 6-Disc CD Changer, Auto-Dimming Electrochromic Rearview Mirror with Compass and Lexus Homelink Universal Transceiver, with an MSRP of $1125. When ordered in conjunction with the Navigation Package, the Premium Audio Package loses the compass in the rearview mirror and sees a slight price drop, to $1100. The third iteration is the Premium Audio Package with Backup Camera, which sees the Auto-Dimming Electrochromic Rearview Mirror feature both compass and backup camera functions, with an MSRP of $1475. For those of you that prefer your navi fully integrated from the factory, the Navigation Package includes a hard disk drive navigation system with Backup Monitor, the exclusive, computer mouse-inspired Remote Touch controller, Lexus Enform telematics with Destination Assist and eDestination (including 1-year trial subscriptions), Lexus Insider, Voice Command, XM NavTraffic, XM NavWeather, and XM Sports & Stocks functions (including a 90-day trial subscription). This $2445 package requires the purchase of the $1100 Premium Audio with Navigation Package described earlier. The purchase of one of the Premium Audio Packages is also a co-requisite for the fifth package, the Leather Package, which, at $1330, includes Perforated Leather Seats with Driver seat Memory, Rain-sensing Intermittent Wipers with Mist Cycle and Auto-Dimming outer mirrors with Memory function.

Other options include the Pre-Collision System (PCS) & Dynamic Cruise Control combo, priced at $1500 and requiring the purchase of Premium Audio, Navigation and Leather Packages; signature hybrid LED Headlamps including Auto Leveling and Headlamp Washers for $1,215; and, for non-audiophiles for whom the standard 6 speakers and single-CD player audio system is sufficient, a stand-alone Electro Chromatic rear view mirror with Compass and Back Up Monitor for $550.

In addition, Lexus will offer nearly two dozen accessories for CT, ranging from comfort and convenience items to a 17” F Sport wheel and interchangeable dashboard trim panels that allow for the replacement of the standard black panel with one made of genuine bamboo, genuine ash burl, or a silver metallic finish. Also revealed is a tentative U.S. launch date of March 1, 2011.
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