SUM UP (3 Stars)

By Automobile Magazine

What's New for CT 200h in 2014

The 2014 Lexus CT200h gets a revised exterior, available LED lighting, new front and rear bumpers, and new 17-inch wheels for the F Sport model...
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Vehicle Overview

The Lexus CT 200h is the automaker’s offering in the entry-level luxury four-door hybrid category, slotting in below the IS and ES as the automaker's least expensive model. The CT 200h shares the Toyota Prius' hybrid drivetrain, but attempts to inject style and comfort consistent with the Lexus brand in an effort to attract younger buyers.

Summary

The Lexus CT 200h comes with the 1.8-liter Atkinson cycle I-4, electric motor, CVT combination from the popular Toyota Prius, which has a combined output of 134 hp. Fuel economy is, as expected, excellent with an EPA-estimated 43/40 mpg city/highway. For buyers seeking the economy of a hybrid, but wanting the style of a European hatchback, the CT 200h fits the bill. Where the Prius didn’t handle rough roads very well, in our drives we found it difficult to upset the Lexus, and even over the roughest pavement didn’t get a squeak or rattle out of the interior. The CT 200h offers drivers a choice of three drive modes; normal, eco, and sport, where sport is the “just right” setting, and the other two are yawn-inducing.

Not yet evaluated by the NHTSA, the Lexus CT 200h was considered a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS for 2013, but has not yet been tested in the small front overlap category, so it has not met the criteria to earn the honor again for 2014.

What We Think

In an Editor’s Notebook review one editor commented, “The performance angle simply doesn't add up. The CT 200h's European styling and hybrid powertrain converge with Lexus luxury to make for a great vehicle, but it's not a sporty car. With the same powertrain as the Toyota Prius, the CT 200h's total output peaks at only 134 horsepower. That's not exactly what I would call sporty . . . On the other hand, the CT 200h is undeniably efficient, with EPA-rated combined fuel economy of 42 mpg. I had no trouble meeting that figure on my 30-mile round trip in city driving. To me, the CT 200h makes perfect sense for someone seeking an entry-level luxury vehicle with excellent fuel economy. Someone seeking an entry-level luxury vehicle with excellent fuel economy and sporty performance should, I think, look elsewhere.”

We also drove the CT 200h F Sport edition and said, “The Lexus CT 200h F Sport is simply an oxymoron that shouldn't exist.” Pass on the “upgrade.”

You’ll Like

  • Fuel efficient
  • European styling
  • Comfortable handling

You Won’t Like

  • Slow
  • F Sport adds no sport
  • Less efficient and less versatile than the Prius base

Key Competitors

  • Mercedes Benz CLA-Class
  • Audi A3
  • Acura ILX

Rating

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