In terms of popular hybrid models, the Lexus CT200h is right near the top in the UK – as sales have breached 27,000 since it was introduced in 2011.
With the Japanese brand reluctant to bring out another generation of CT, it has given the CT another update – meaning new equipment and a new look.
Although it isn’t a conventional hybrid, the CT has always proved popular in the premium hatchback sector when put up against Audis and BMWs.
But how does the new one match up against its previous incarnations and its rivals? Let’s find out…
Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre petrol engine paired to a 60kW electric motor – which together produces 134bhp and 207Nm of torque. That duo is paired to a CVT transmission that directs the power to the front wheels.
Unfortunately for Lexus, the hybrid game has improved significantly since 2011 when this car and powertrain were first introduced, and the CT200h doesn’t feel particularly refined anymore compared to modern models.
The 0-60mph time of the CT is 10 seconds and it can achieve a top speed of 112mph – not exactly rapid, but that isn’t what the model is about.
Economy-wise, the CT does well as it can achieve 74.3mpg and emit 88g/km CO2 – which is still quite good considering how far the market has moved on.
Ride & Handling
As hybrids have become more car-like and better to drive, Lexus has stood still with the CT and it feels quite dated when on the move. Around town it’s fine and is perfectly reasonable when nipping about narrow streets – but as soon as you get out on the open road and on longer journeys, it becomes tiresome and noisy.
The CVT gearbox drones along and the powertrain struggles to get the car up to speed, so it is really disappointing when compared to other hybrids.
But on the upside, the steering is well-weighted and allows for nimble cornering – although you may not want to use it too much if there is that much noise from the powertrain.
The ride is as you would expect from a Lexus – well-balanced and comfortable on most road conditions.
Interior & Equipment
The interior design and layout is as you would expect from Lexus – well-built with good quality materials, but many of the controls are poorly placed. For example, the driving mode selection wheel is where the audio controls would normally be, and the heating controls are much higher up than normal.
The seats offer plenty of support and are comfortable, with plenty of space on offer for all passengers.
In terms of equipment the CT has a good level of accessories, and with the F-Sport version we tested was specced with a dynamic bodykit, leather upholstery, a large 10.3-inch infotainment display paired with a less than intuitive trackpad and Safety System + – which includes cruise control, lane keeping assist and high beam assist, and is available from SE Plus models upwards.
Other equipment includes a DAB radio, USB/AUX inputs, a reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, a leather sport steering wheel, 60/40 split rear seats and sports suspension.
Starting price for the CT200h range is £23,495 for the base SE trim line, while the F-Sport model we tested starts from £26,995. Although it isn’t the most expensive model in its sector, it isn’t particularly cheap either.
Thankfully the running costs are quite reasonable, as with emissions being low and economy quite high, you won’t be paying much in road tax compared to rivals and visits to the pump will be few and far between. The price of options can spiral out of control though, so be careful what you add if you choose to go for a CT.
As with other Lexus cars, the CT200h remains a good alternative due to its quirky nature and less-than-offensive looks. But the powertrain is a disappointment and lags behind the modern hybrid options that are much more up to date than this CT. Also, some of the interior design decisions from Lexus are poor and it can feel quite difficult to navigate. Running costs are excellent, however, and that means if you want to different-looking hatchback that doesn’t pull much on the purse strings, the CT200h might be the car for you.