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Resale: $23,330
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MPG: 43 city/40 hwy

2012 Lexus CT 200h

2012 Lexus CT 200h Review

(0 Stars)  A small hybrid hatchback that tries to be both sporty and economical.

Reviewed by Automobile Magazine on

Overview
The CT200h is not only the least expensive Lexus, it's also the most fuel efficient. It wraps Toyota Prius mechanicals in a lower, sportier four-door hatchback body. Unfortunately, the styling's sporty promise is mostly unfulfilled. The CT200h does offer more niceties than a Prius, but it's neither as roomy nor as economical. It's also more expensive, but the extra money buys a premium-level interior. The cabin is well finished and nicely padded, and the optional nav system brings with it a mouselike controller to access items on the pop-up screen. The CT200h uses the same powertrain as the Prius, a 1.8-liter four with battery assist and a continuously variable transmission. There's a choice of driving modes: EV (which you're kicked out of before you even leave the parking lot), Eco (which totally kills throttle response), Normal, and Sport (which calls up higher steering efforts and quicker throttle mapping). Even in Sport mode, the CT200h is slow: Lexus puts the 0-to-60-mph time at a shade under ten seconds, and the CVT has the tiny four-cylinder droning at the top of its rev band when you ask for quick acceleration. In mellower driving, the electric motor's torque helps to mask the weak engine. The chassis is a happier affair, with far better steering than the lifeless Prius's and an absence of body roll -- the latter at a cost of considerable impact harshness. The CT200h may appeal to a Prius shopper willing to trade some practicality and fuel economy for a little Lexus luxury. Buyers looking for a more sporty driving experience might check out the Audi A3 TDI.

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