CT 200h Reviews
More to come...
Interesting car for being a Lexus..
EPSOM, UNITED KINGDOM – November 26, 2010: The launch of the new Lexus CT 200h into the heart of the small luxury car market is set to shake up the established status quo. As the 1st full hybrid in its segment, it will deliver unprecedented benefits in total ownership costs, beyond anything its rivals can offer.
Thanks to the low emissions performance and high fuel efficiency of CT 200h’s Lexus Hybrid Drive system, owners can take advantage of 0 annual road tax charges and lower company car benefit-in-kind rates. It also has the distinction of being the only premium model with automatic transmission to be exempt from the London congestion charge. What’s more, its low emissions performance demands no compromise in the luxury, comfort and convenience features premium segment customers expect.
More money can be saved through the car’s design for low service, maintenance and repair (SMR) costs and predicted residual values that match the current class leaders.
CT 200h’s Lexus Hybrid Drive has low maintenance requirements designed-in. There is no starter motor or alternator, the continuously variable transmission (CVT) means there is no conventional clutch and there is no concern about diesel particulate filter performance. Furthermore, the regenerative braking system helps extend the life of the brake pads to an average 70,000 miles. The hybrid components are covered by a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty.
Cost comparison – Benefit-in-Kind taxation over 3 years
CT 200h’s sub-100g/km CO2 emissions (94g/km subject to homologation) mean that it attracts benefit-in-kind company car taxation at only 10 per cent. The impact of this compared to the tax charges on its main market rivals over three years is shown in the table below: in terms of tax, CT 200h can save a company car driver more than £90 a month.
The new CT 200h can deliver cost savings to private owners, company car driver and company car operators, thanks to its combination of low emissions-linked taxation, high fuel economy and residual values, low service, maintenance and repair costs and a 100 per cent write-down allowance against Corporation Tax in the first year.
The table below shows that, compared to its principal rivals, CT 200h can save drivers more than £3,000 over three years or 60,000 miles. And for businesses choosing it as a fleet car, the savings can be well in excess of £7,000.
Lexus CT 200h:
Better Looking than Prius, Possibly as Solid
Earlier today I drove the 2011 Lexus CT 200h, Lexus’ 2nd major attempt to get its hybrid technology into something sporty, and the 1st dedicated hybrid ever in the premium compact segment. While I won’t give a full review here, as the car deserves more drive time before landing an ultimate judgment, here are some preliminary thoughts.
1st off: the car looks cool, especially with the granite paint job. It’s definitely better looking than the Toyota Prius and has the leather trim, seat warmers, dashboard technology and design cues that comprise the basic requirements of any luxury vehicle these days. Many people buy the Prius in spite of its looks; that won’t be the case by a long shot when the CT 200h hits dealerships in March.
Inside, the hatchback design and four doors lend extra room to the interior trunk, although the rear legroom seems relatively limited. (Low and close placement of the front seats makes for a crisper feel on the road but could have contributed a bit to the slight lack of space; a tapered roofline and trimmed corners also contribute to the cozy feel.) Minimal buttons on the dash are a welcome change from other luxury cars beleaguered with superfluous gadgets.
Lexus uses a novel device in the center console to control the navigation, audio and other settings–it looks and works much like an oversized computer mouse. Like in the Prius, CT 200h’s shifter consists of three main commands–reverse, neutral and drive–and the car is virtually silent when standing or driving at low speeds.
CT 200h comes with a sport, normal, eco and “EV” drive modes. Eco mode slows the throttle and dampens the AC to save fuel but is noticeably more sluggish than the sport or even the normal settings. Braking is soft, of course, but no worse than other hybrid vehicles on the market today.
The car uses a 1.8-liter, 98-horsepower 4-cylinder gasoline engine with an 80 hp (60 kW) electric motor charged on a Ni-MH battery. EPA efficiency ratings haven’t been released yet, although Lexus reps told me the car will get 43 miles per gallon in the city and 40 on the highway on normal mode. (The Prius is EPA-rated at 51/48/50 mpg for city, highway and combined driving, respectively.) The base model is expected to cost just under $31,000.
CT 200h will go from 0-60 mph in 9.8 seconds, with a max speed of 112 miles per hour. In this, at least, it matches the Prius exactly. Whether it has the gumption, durability and resilience to make a name for itself in the hybrid market is another matter entirely.
Editor's Rating: 4.5 out of 5 *sUp Front
The new front-wheel-drive Lexus CT 200h, which is scheduled to hit dealer showrooms in late February, is a terrific upscale alternative to the Toyota (TM) Prius. This all-new model has 2 big selling points: A relatively low price—it's the least expensive model in Lexus' lineup, with a starting price of $29,995—and an average fuel economy rating of 42 miles per gallon.
It's no BMW (BMW:GR), but the CT 200h offers a nicer cabin and greater driving panache than high-mileage competitors such as the Prius and Honda (HMC) Insight. If your priority is the greatest possible fuel economy the Prius is still the best buy on the market, as far as I'm concerned. If you're willing to pay a bit more for nicer styling and better handling, the CT 200h is well worth a look.
Lexus' new entry-level hybrid has the same power plant and drive train as the Prius, an 80-horsepower electric motor and 98-hp gasoline engine that generate a combined 134 hp. The transmission is a fuel-efficient, continuously variable automatic. That's where the similarities end.
The CT 200h is completely different from any other Toyota or Lexus model. Indeed, it doesn't share a platform with any of them. It's a 4-door/5-passenger hatchback, a highly practical style of vehicle that is popular in Europe but traditionally doesn't sell well in the U.S. With the price of regular gasoline now above $3, American tastes may start to change.
The CT 200h is an excellent choice for commuting and is flexible enough to handle everything from weekend chores to a car-pool with three or four kids. The sporty, well-bolstered front seats are much more comfortable than front seats in the Prius. There's only enough knee-and-foot room for two average-sized adults—not 3—to sit comfortably in the rear seat, however.
Even with the rear seats up, there's 14.3 cu. ft. of luggage space, about equal to the trunk of a midsize sedan. As in the Prius, the rear seats fold down to make a large hauling space.
Starting price is $29,995, about the same as a top-of-the-line Toyota Prius V. Standard equipment includes a chunky, leather-clad steering wheel, a 6-speaker audio system, 17-in. alloy wheels, a push-button starter, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and stability and traction control. Standard safety features include eight air bags and stability and traction control.
Options include a hard-drive navigation system with traffic and stock price alerts ($2,245), premium audio with a backup camera ($1,475), LED headlights ($1,215), and remote engine startup ($375).
The CT 200h's 42-mpg fuel economy rating (40 mpg on the highway, 43 in the city) lags the Prius' 50 mpg, but equals that of the Honda Insight and beats most other hybrids. If my experience is any indication, mileage results may diminish during the year's coldest months. As I engaged in about 225 miles of mixed driving in frigid winter weather, I averaged 37 mpg. On the plus side, the car is instantly ready to go in cold weather. The windows defrost as swiftly as the heated front seats become toasty-hot.
I didn't make any effort to maximize fuel economy. The CT 200h has 3 driving modes: eco, normal, and sport. If you were to keep it in eco most of the time—accelerating and braking gradually—I suspect you could easily average 42 mpg or more. If you really want to economize, you can drive up to a mile on electricity alone at speeds as high as 28 mph. One cool feature: The instrument panel backlighting is blue in eco and normal modes and switches to bright red in sport mode.
Behind the Wheel
The CT 200h accelerates from 0 to 60 in 9.8 seconds, same as the Prius—slow, even by economy-car standards. However, the Lexus is more fun to drive than the Prius because its developers went to considerable lengths to give it better driving dynamics.
Among other enhancements, the CT 200h has an independent rear and MacPherson strut front suspension, as well as lateral dampers and a rigid frame to improve steering and handling in the corners. The center of gravity is much lower than in the Prius, and the seats are in the center of the vehicle, which improves balance. Putting it in sport mode quickens throttle response and steering feedback and makes the suspension settings sportier.
Going to such lengths to improve handling in such a slow vehicle might seem almost ridiculous but it works. While the Prius feels stiff and ungainly on the road—like a giant toy car—the CT 200h is kind of fun to drive. Toss this car around among curves in sport mode and it feels tight and under control. The speed-sensitive electric steering provides a surprising amount of road feel. The CT 200h would be more fun if it had paddle shifters and didn't have a boring (albeit fuel-efficient) continuously variable transmission. For a super-efficient hybrid, it isn't bad.
The CT 200h's cabin feels upscale, even though Lexus cut some corners to keep the base price low. Notably, the seats and cabin are upholstered in a faux leather called NuLuxe, which is both cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the real thing. (No volatile organic compounds are used in its production and two-thirds less C02 is generated.) Nonetheless, the black-and-tan upholstery in my test vehicle felt soft and looked both pricey and durable.
Personally, I'd stick with NuLuxe. If you want real leather, it's available as part of a $1,330 package that also includes rain-sensing intermittent wipers, driver's-seat memory, and auto-dimming outside mirrors.
Buy it or Bag It?
The CT 200h is a niche product: Lexus expects to sell only about 12,000 annually in the U.S. So it isn't for everyone. But it's a vehicle I'd definitely consider buying for myself, especially as a 2nd car.
The main competitor is the Prius, which (as was mentioned above) tops out at about the starting price of a CT 200h. The Prius seems clunky next to the CT 200h. The main doubt I'd have about either of them is Toyota's seemingly endless product recalls. (Who would have dreamed three years ago that uncertainty about quality would be associated with Toyota products?)
The other main alternative I'd consider is the diesel-powered Audi (NSU:GR) A3 TDI wagon, which starts at $31,125 and is rated to get 30 mpg in the city and 42 on the highway. The Audi is quicker and even more fun to drive than the CT 200h, but has greater CO2 emissions.
The Audi and the Lexus are both very nice little cars. I'd be hard-pressed to choose one over the other.
For some reason, 'Fire Agate Pearl' in the US appears to be the same colour as the one I've ordered in the UK as 'Langdon Bronze' ! A sort of chocolate brown/bronze metallic/mica.
I'm officially now bored with silver cars...
For example Starfire Pearl 077 is also called White Pearl Crystal Shine in Japan and Blanc Cristal Metallise in France and Arctic Pearl in the UK.
Not sure if this is posted but has really big hi-res pics when you click on the thumbnails.
Hey guys, Lexus Mag just posted some cool shots of the CT200h around the streets of Paris last fall during the Paris Auto Show.
To me the CT seems too small and slow but it does have my interest.
I can't wait to see one up close.
Wait till you drive one. Very nice.
The more I see I think it may be a tad small for my 6' 4" body. I hope not but a test ride will answer that.
I am 6'2" and had no problems fitting. Head room was good. It felt larger than it was.
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