ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 1.8-liter inline-4, 98 hp, 105 lb-ft; AC permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor, 80 hp (battery limited to 36 hp), 153 lb-ft, combined power rating, 134 hp; 1.3-kWh nickel-metal hydride battery pack
TRANSMISSION: continuously variable automatic
Wheelbase: 102.4 in Length: 170.1 in
Width: 69.5 in Height: 56.7 in
Curb weight: 3278 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 10.5 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 33.0 sec
Street start, 5–60 mph: 10.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 17.9 sec @ 78 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 111 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 175 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.85 g
In the last few years, there’s been a lot of talk of Lexus becoming an exclusively hybrid brand. Whether or not that will actually come true, hybrids are certainly a tremendous part of the brand’s business and image: It continues to crank out gas-electric versions of otherwise conventionally powered models, as well as hybrid-only models like the HS250h and this CT200h.
Both the CT200h and the HS250h ride on Toyota’s MC platform, which also underpins the Toyota Corolla and Scion tC. But where the latter hooks an electric motor to a 2.4-liter inline-4—total system output is 187 hp—the supposedly sportier CT200h’s gas 4 displaces just 1.8 liters, and it and an electric motor combine to produce 134 hp, 13 fewer than the HS’s gas engine makes all by its lonesome. (The CT’s setup is basically the same as that found in the Prius.) And, of course, there is the small matter of the HS250h resembling a 4-wheeled Teletubby. Viewed from certain angles, the CT200h’s slight forward rake lends it the look of a rear-drive Japanese VW GTI—in spite of the fact that it’s front-wheel drive.
The CT200h has a bit of the feel of a Japanese GTI as well. Grabbing the thick steering wheel conjures flashbacks of squealing tires and blurring scenery, and the 1st few cranks reveal a sporting heft. Lexus claims the CT utilizes a “bespoke suspension design,” bespoke apparently meaning “shared with the HS250h.” But where the chubby HS feels as soft as it looks, the different tuning of the CT’s setup endows the car with immediate, athletic responses and surprisingly level body control.
We’re Not Mad, Just Disappointed
All that promise goes right out the window as soon as you start pushing the CT, though. While the steering is nicely weighted and very quick off center, it offers zilch in the way of feedback. The chassis, too, is a big pile of unrealized potential. It has a very pleasant balance of ride and handling at lesser speeds, but it’s actually too flat in turns, and isolates the driver completely from what’s happening at the limit. The driver feels the g loads build, but may as well be on a carnival ride for the amount of interaction he feels with the source of it. That’s particularly disappointing when you consider how playful this car could be. With a short, 102.4-inch wheelbase—2.3 shorter than that of a BMW 1-series—the CT would love to rotate, if only its intrusive stability-control system could be turned off. Not only is the stability control stubborn, but it isn’t particularly quick to react, either. We found we were able to initiate and immediately catch slides before the system intervened. It would still cut power, however, at that point only retarding forward progress instead of aiding stability.
And with just 134 hp propelling a 3278-pound package, the CT’s forward progress is already sufficiently encumbered. We clocked a 0-to-60-mph time of 10.5 seconds and a 17.9-second quarter-mile at 78 mph—CVT mooing away all the while—2.1 and 1.4 seconds slower than its HS platform mate, and 0.5 and 0.3 slower than the slightly lighter Prius. CT200h drivers will want to keep an eye out for Smart Fortwos, as they represent a rare opportunity for a victory in the stoplight drags. Those for whom the “go” part of the stop-and-go commute reaches higher speeds will want to note that heat soak quickly afflicts the electronic componentry after repeated runs, slowing acceleration times further—so catch those Smarts early. As for the CT’s hybrid credentials, rarely did we motor without the gas engine aiding our propulsion. There is a button marked “EV mode,” but if pressing such a button at 26 mph activates a note in the display saying “EV mode unavailable excessive speed,” then you don’t have an EV mode. (In that same vein, Lexus, you haven’t built a sporty car if it has a CVT and doesn’t offer an option to manually lock in ratios, even fake ones.) Even with us abusing it to, you know, actually get places, the CT did return 33 mpg, so it’s got that going for it.
Light a Fire Under its Butt, but Not Literally
Slowness isn’t the only trait the CT200h shares with the HS250h. The HS’s interior suggests that perhaps somebody affixed the wrong badge at the factory, and the car was intended to be just another Toyota all along. The CT200h gets a bit more brightwork and handsome contrast stitching, but still is oddly low-rent for Lexus. While we appreciate the shift lever that looks like a chrome version of the handle a Boeing 747 captain pulls to extinguish a fire in engine four, bright spots like this largely serve to illuminate the shortcomings of the surfaces around them. The vast plains of black plastic simply feel cheap, and the button layout seems to have been either the work of a sociopath or simply an afterthought.
For $29,995, the basic CT200h package includes a load of equipment you’d expect of a Lexus: faux leather—“looks and feels like leather to driver and passengers, but is manufactured with the environment in mind,” according to Lexus—satellite radio, a tilt/telescope steering wheel with audio controls, and power windows and locks, among other gear. It does not, however, offer any options beyond interior and exterior colors. To unlock the rest of the options list, buyers must opt for the CT200h Premium, which adds a sunroof, heated seats, and $1780 to the bottom line. Once in the candy store, whoever spec’d our test car went for the nuclear belly bomb. Real leather seats—damn the cows! Get me a double Whopper!—added $1330 to the sticker, while auto-leveling LED headlights with washers drained the bank by another $1215. The $1100 audio package is one of three different Premium Audio packages Lexus offers, depending on what other equipment is specified. This one is paired with the $2445 navigation system, which rewards the driver with Lexus’s horribly distracting mouse-nub infotainment controller. The driver navigates the system by moving a regular old computer cursor on the nav screen using a joystick located on the center console—at least until he smashes into the car ahead of him. (Better opt for the $1500 collision-warning system, which our test example did not have.) Toss in a cargo net for $75 and lighted door sills for $299, and you’ve got a total of $38,239, or just about $1000 more than the base price of the porridge-tastic HS250h.
With the CT200h and the HS250h, Lexus has a situation similar to Jeep’s Patriot and Compass: 1 platform, 2 divergently styled vehicles. We don’t like either Jeep. Lexus’s recent update of the IS F completely transformed that car, correcting many wrongs and instilling a sense of soul. Hopefully, the company can do the same for this, its 2nd compact front-drive hybrid. As for its 1st 1, we’ve a suggestion similar to the 1 we made when Jeep introduced the Compass and Patriot: Do 1 thing, and do it well.
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^^^ In regards to your question it was stated in a past article (looking for it) that every Lexus will offer a hybrid variant and possibly become standard in the future. As we know Europe will be hybrid only, the IS 200d will be dropped leaving the IS F as he sole petrol engine.
Lexus’ latest hybrid, the 2011 CT 200h, is a 4-door hatchback that seats 5passengers. This gas-electric hybrid is a hot seller, spending an average of 9 days on dealer lots in April, according to KickingTires.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The 3 child seats are installed in the 2nd row. The booster seat sits behind the driver’s seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat. We also install the infant seat in the 2nd row’s middle seat with the booster and convertible in the outboard seats to see if 3 car seats will fit. If there’s a 3rd row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.
Here’s how the 2011 Lexus CT 200h did in MotherProof.com’s Car Seat Check:
Latch system: The CT 200h has 2 sets of lower Latch anchors in the outboard seats. They sit behind zippered openings that open wide for easy access to the anchors. 3 tether anchors can be found halfway down the seatback under hinged covers. Both the Latch and tether anchors are easy to use.
Booster seat: Our high-back booster seat fit well in the CT 200h, thanks to its seat bolsters that held it in place. The seat belt buckles are anchored in the seat cushions, but not recessed.
Convertible seat: After removing the head restraint, the forward-facing convertible fit well in the hybrid. To get the rear-facing convertible to fit, we had to move the front passenger seat forward several inches. This resulted in the tester’s knees pushing against the glove box.
Infant-safety seat: Like the rear-facing convertible, we had to move the front passenger seat forward several inches to get the rear-facing infant-safety seat to fit in the 2nd row. However, we didn’t have to move the passenger seat quite as far forward, which left our tester’s knees just grazing the glove box.
How many car seats fit in the 2nd row? 2
Editor’s note: For 3 car seats—infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats—to fit in a car, our criterion is that a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.
Even as it successfully launched its Scion brand to attract the youth market, Toyota did little to attract a younger audience for its Lexus brand. The new CT200h hybrid hatch is an attempt to change that. Lexus hopes that its combination of performance and its green image will capture the attention of affluent buyers in their 30s and 40s.
The performance angle simply doesn't add up. The CT200h'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 CT200h's total output peaks at only 134 horsepower. That's not exactly what I would call sporty.
On the other hand, the CT200h 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 CT200h 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.
Steve Diehlman, Assistant Web Producer
Mechanically, the CT200h isn't all that different from the Lexus HS250h, and yet I find the smaller hatchback a much more compelling car than the milquetoast HS. The similarity stems from Toyota's hybrid system, which imbues cars with exceptional fuel economy and enough detachment and lack of spirit to garner the "appliance" label. In the CT200h, Lexus uses the smaller 1.8-liter four-cylinder to boost fuel economy well above the HS's 35/34-mpg rating. While I didn't match the EPA's 43/40-mpg rating -- I don't have the patience to drive in a manner wherein I could achieve those numbers -- I was impressed with the 38-mpg average I achieved in 650 miles of mostly highway driving.
Lexus would like you to think of the CT200h as a sporty, dynamic little fun hatch, but that's quite a stretch. It isn't fast and it isn't very engaging, yet I'm drawn to the CT200h for the way it combines Lexus's signature comfortable luxury with a newfound sense of style. The lighted sill plates, cool blue illumination, and stitched leather coverings on the center console and instrument cluster are surprises from this traditionally conservative brand. The ivory leather seats are masterfully sculpted and well padded. The ride moves Lexus into never-before-seen levels of firmness (save for the IS-F, or the LFA) but still prioritizes ride comfort. It is by no means sporty, but the CT200h is stylish, comfortable, and efficient, and as a fresh, unique car for the brand, it's an absolute winner.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
Lexus is targeting this car at young, hip people who want the Toyota Prius fuel economy with Lexus style. As a 22-year-old, I'm definitely young, and I like to think I qualify as hip, which may explain why I was so taken with the CT200h. For one, I really like the slick hatchback styling, especially in white. The Lexus badge belies the (relatively) low price: A 60-something woman I know who drives a Subaru Forester guessed that the CT cost $60K but the starting MSRP is half that.
A couple of especially clever interior features: Instead of a touch screen, the Lexus Enform system, which debuted on the current-generation RX crossover, uses a trackball-like controller for the navigation and stereo, which "feels" like it snaps to the on-screen buttons. It's very convenient and easy to use. There's also a convenient adjustable mount that can hold phones or iPods upright near the auxiliary port -- it's very simple and highly useful.
The CT200h is based on the same platform as the European Toyota Avensis, which also underpins the Scion tC in our market, but its hybrid powertrain is essentially the same as that in the Toyota Prius. The CT200h's 9.8-second 0-to-60-mph time (per Toyota's testing) isn't exciting, but the ride-and-handling mix leans more toward premium-hatch than eco-warrior. The only negative is somewhat heavy, underassisted steering. Of the 3 drivetrain modes -- Eco, Normal, and Sport -- only the 1st seems to have an effect, evoking tortoise-like throttle response. Would I buy a Lexus CT200h? Probably not, but it's far more interesting than the Prius.
Jake Holmes, Associate Web Editor
This is Lexus's effort to bring Toyota Prius owners into the Lexus fold in a small, sporty hatchback rather than the Lexus RX crossover or one of the larger Lexus hybrid sedans. The results are mixed. From a styling standpoint, I find the exterior to be kind of a generic hatchback; I walked around the car and could find few exterior styling features that would cue me that this vehicle is from a luxury automaker. I find the side rear door sheetmetal, which sweeps up behind the door glass in an odd way, to be particularly unattractive. The CT200h is not ugly, but I struggle to, at first glance, find any more street presence in it than in a Mazda3.
The driving experience is actually quite good. The brakes are touchy at first and take some time to become accustomed to, but there is quite good body control, a very plush but surprisingly well-controlled ride, and definitely some heft to the steering, even if it's not the most communicative. So, it's not at all a soggy mess, as a lot of hybrids, and a lot of Lexus models, have been in the past. I drove the CT200h very briskly on my favorite stretch of twisty road and was impressed: it has good bump suppression and accurate, precise steering, if not abundant in feel. I really was able to whip along with speed, comfort, and smoothness.
The interior is none too large, but it's comfortable, with good front seats. With the driver's seat set in a position to accommodate my 5-foot, 11-inch frame, I then sat in the left rear passenger's seat (we auto writers call this "sitting behind myself"), and I had just sufficient leg and headroom. The CT200h is quite narrow, a reflection of the fact that it's built on a European Toyota platform. The rear cargo compartment has a tall floor (to accommodate the battery pack underneath), so the cargo space is not very high, it's not very deep, and it's not very wide, meaning it's not very big.
The readout on our CT200h showed an average of 38 mpg over a 796-mile driving period.
The interior aesthetics are far more successful than the exterior. Our example had a modern black/gray/cream combination. There's a pronounced center stack, including the now-familiar Lexus Enform mouse-style controller for a lot of the functions on the display screen, which protrudes from the top of the dash but folds down when you wish or when the car is turned off. It does not impede forward vision.
The gearshift lever is a peculiar little chrome device, but it feels good in the hand. It resembles the working end of a golf club. The steering wheel is very nice and appropriately upscale in design and materials.
Our West Coast Editor, Jason Cammisa, reports that the Lexus CT200h is thick on the ground in Marin County, where he lives, and the greater Bay Area, so apparently it has hit its target: people who have driven Toyota Priuses for some time and are ready to trade up for more luxury, more sport, and more prestige.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
As my colleagues have stated, the CT200h is an interesting attempt to give the Lexus brand some character. Cars like the IS-F and LFA were supposed to move the needle in terms of performance, but I don't think they've done much to change the rather soft image of the Lexus brand. Let's face it, anyone considering a Lexus is more likely to be interested in fuel economy and residual values than 0-60 times or lateral grip. So Lexus is looking for a way to add a bit of curb appeal to a high-mpg package that revolves around a hybrid powertrain.
I can see the appeal of the CT200h if you're a young-ish professional living in an urban or suburban environment with lots of traffic. The hybrid drive means impressive fuel economy while you're crawling along and the interior is a very comfortable place to pass the time. I still don't care for the Enform system's mouse-like controller, but I haven't spent a lot of time driving Lexus products with this system. I found it to be more unnatural and distracting than an iDrive/MMI/COMAND controller, but far easier to use than a MyFord Touch system. So it's neither the best or worst solution to infotainment, but maybe it's just what Lexus owners want. If you own a CT200h and happen to get out of traffic-clogged roadways, there's even more to like about the car. For once, there's a Lexus that becomes enjoyable to drive on the sort of roads enthusiasts appreciate. There are a lot of better performing premium cars, but I can't think of anything else on the market that can match the combination of Lexus's fuel economy figures and performance. Yes, there's an Audi A3 TDI, but the diesel engine is not nearly as efficient in urban driving, so the CT200h makes a lot more sense unless the majority of your driving is on the highway.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor
2011 Lexus CT200h Premium
Base price (with destination): $31,775
Price as tested: $38,239
1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine
Electric drive motor with Lexus hybrid drive
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
Vehicle stability control
LED daytime running lights
Tire pressure monitoring system
SmartAccess with push-button start
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Tilt/telescoping steering column
4-mode drive mode select
Lexus audio system with 6 speakers
Single in-dash CD player
XM satellite radio
Carpeted floor mats
Options on this vehicle:
Navigation system -- $2445
HDD navigation system
Lexus Enform destination assist
I like the display. It's in a better location where you don't have to take your eyes off the road. At least for me, since I'm 5'3" I have to sit a little closer than other people so the touchscreen in the SC, for example, is much too close and I have to lean back, take my eyes off the road, and do what I have to do.
2011 Lexus CT 200h - Starfire Pearl, premium trim
2010 Lexus RX450h AWD - Obsidian
4V3 aka Fire Agate Pearl (USA)was intially named Brown Spice Mica back at the CT Global Press Launch I attended a few months ago in France. Langdon Bronze for the UK, Sienna Brown for Ireland, Havane Métallisé in France and so on.
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.
I love my Agate and wouldn't change it for the world.
Let us know when you CTh has arrived. You'll be pleased with the car.
I 've had the baby for 1 month already and I love it. Soft shade on the side and rear, some 3M on the front and it's is a charm. Am now installing winter tires and chose some R16 with metal rims instead of the R17 with alloids. Gatineau roads are bad in winter so hense.
Am now at 6.2 l/100km. It is not much but undertand I only do very small trips each time and the initial charge just has time to end (3-4 minutes) ans I don't have time to beneficiat the EV. So I think!
Does any one have a idea on thes subject?
No mater, I still love it. And it's going to be with me for q long time.
We know we’re a tough bunch here at the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center. It all comes down to our high standards. If you’re an automaker craving a recommendation, there is a standard to meet: the car has to perform well in our tests, have at least average reliability, and not fail any crash tests. Simple formula?
Not if you’re in charge of moving the Lexus CT 200h.
I spent a lot of time in it over the New Year’s break. And I’m impressed with the car’s superb fuel economy— 40 mpg overall in CR’s testing—and outstanding predicted reliability. Even the 4-door hatchback styling grew on me. But I understand why it scored around mid-pack within its category. Beyond the impressive fuel economy and reliability, it really doesn’t do anything well.
Hence, it’s an unloved Lexus.
Let’s face it: The CT 200h is a strange bird. 1st of all, you might think the CT is luxurious given the Lexus nameplate. While the interior fit and finish isn’t bad, there are substantial amounts of hard plastic, which look neither rich nor upscale.
2nd, there’s no getting around the fact that the car is simply noisy. Road noise is prominent, but it’s the engine’s unrefined wail that does it in for me. The CT shares the Toyota Prius’ 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine; combined with the hybrid system, it makes a somewhat weak 134 hp. But this paltry power output has to move over 3,200 pounds, producing sluggish acceleration and a startling racket getting the car to merge into traffic. Zero to 60 mph in 11 seconds? Even by 1980s standards, that’s slow.
So despite its sporty looks, the CT 200h is even slower getting up to highway speeds than the last Toyota Corolla we tested. Also, the CT’s steering had decent weighting, but that didn’t mask its vagueness on center. To anyone even faintly interested in cars, that’s a bore fest.
3rd, I’m average height but I don’t fit well in the driver’s seat. And I wasn’t alone in finding head room wanting and the cabin cramped. I understand it’s a small car, but it needs to at least fit middle-of-the-road bodies.
3 strikes and you’re out? Actually, there are more—such as a rough ride and a cargo area so small you’d swear the car’s designers never imagined you’d carry anything larger than a gallon of milk—but I think you get the point.
Would we buy 1 over a Prius? Not likely. If fuel-efficiency is your #1 priority, an upper-level Prius 4 undercuts the CT by $2,000. A mid-range Prius can be had for thousands less.
Now that the CT 200h has been fully tested by CR, it sits in our lot among the Jeep Compass, Nissan Versa, and various Honda Civics as the least sought-after cars to drive.