Across the Pond, CT200h Still Makes Sense

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2018 Lexus CT200h

Lexus North America may not think the littlest Lexus hybrid has a business case, but one writer from New Zealand thinks it still has appeal.

We did a double take when we ran across this review of the 2018 Lexus CT200h by the website Stuff. After a quick glance at the “co.nz” appending the web address we remembered that, despite the hybrid’s discontinuation Stateside, the rest of the world got an updated model for 2018.

The reviewer, David Linklater, starts off with the basics but laments the fact that the CT200h doesn’t come with a plug. We think he missed Lexus Europe boss Alain Uyttenhoven‘s comments from more than a year ago. “It doesn’t mean we’ll ignore (PHEV) technology and in time I’m sure we will need it to hit tougher targets, but we’re ready for that if and when we need it. For now, we don’t; our customers will get the car they need without the added complexity.”

2018 Lexus CT200h

Linklater writes, “More to the point, if you want a pint-sized premium-brand hatchback with electrically themed power, there are now many more options. All of them more technologically sophisticated than the littlest Lexus.” He then mentions the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW i3, 225xe, and Mini Cooper S E Countryman, all notable because they have a PHEV system. We tend to side with Lexus on this one: why add the complexity just for the sake of complexity? As a holistic approach, the “get in and drive” is more our speed than “get out and charge.”

2018 Lexus CT200h

Once he gets past the lack of a plug, he starts to see where the CT200h really excels. He notes, “It looks, feels and smells like a true Lexus inside and while the car can’t travel on electric power alone for anything but very short distances, the Lexus/Toyota hybrid system is expert at seamlessly switching between its two power sources (or combining them) in heavy traffic.” For those of us who know what an hour each way to and from work feels like, a nice interior really pays dividends. Linklater points out that the interior is quite roomy, despite initial impressions, and calls the rear seats “adult sized” with far better headroom than the “coupe-like” luxury sedans that are so popular nowadays.

2018 Lexus CT200h

Linklater finished by saying, “as one of life’s little luxuries, the CT200h is still very hard to beat for its quality, equipment and soothing urban gait. Especially at this price.” We couldn’t agree more. While the CT200h might not hold the same appeal to everyone, for the right commute the refined compact hybrid really is a welcome companion.

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Austin Lott is a longtime professional automotive journalist who learned the ropes after landing a stint writing for the iconic magazine MotorTrend after earning a bachelor's degree in English from Vanguard University in Southern California.

Lott is a regular contributor to popular Internet Brands Auto Group websites, including Rennlist and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Austin is published regularly in Super Street and is a frequent contributor to Honda-Tech and 6SpeedOnline. Although he's partial to Japanese imports, he'll give anything cool a shot.

Austin can be reached at [email protected].

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