With its mix of accommodating luxury, high-tech ecological sensitivity, and restrained dimensions, the Lexus CT 200h brings an unusual and appealing set of traits to the upscale market. The CT 200h is a modern, intelligent and civilized set of wheels for those who understand that luxury isn't about bulk and waste.
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2016 Lexus CT 200h Overview
What's New for 2016
The most significant news is the availability of the app-powered Enform system, which turns your smartphone into a remote starter and monitoring device. On a less connected note, the moonroof is now optional, and the nose wears new chrome trim.
Choosing Your Lexus CT 200h
All CT 200hs are four-door hatchbacks with a distinctive roofline. A traditional gas-hybrid driveline (no plug-in socket) puts a maximum of 134 horsepower through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to the front wheels. Lexus frames the CT 200h as the small-and-sporty member of the lineup, but it is at its best serenely managing a maze of city streets or cruising along gently winding roads. In either situation it returns excellent fuel economy: EPA estimates are 43 mpg city/40 mpg highway.
The CT 200h is available in two trim levels:
- The standard CT 200h starts at $32,200 after delivery. Standard equipment includes pushbutton start, Drive Mode Select that switches between different suspension and engine-management options, SiriusXM satellite radio, and seats upholstered in high-grade NuLuxe synthetic material.
- The CT 200h F Sport re-tunes the suspension for more responsive handling and adds a few sport-inspired styling touches and some additional paint and interior options. MSRP is $33,930 with delivery.
Option packages are assertively tiered:
- The Luxury package (leather trim, seat and mirror position memory) contains everything in the Premium package (rain-sensing wipers, electrochromic rear-view mirror) which in turn contains the Seat Comfort package (power adjustment and heaters for both front chairs).
- The Navigation package adds map software to the Display Audio package, which features an upgraded stereo with HD receiver, large control screen, a rear-view camera, and expanded Enform features.
The F Sport's performance pretensions don't quite square with the the CT 200h's identity as a comfortable and urbane commuter. On the other hand, the tech features of the Navigation Package are an excellent complement to the CT 200h's clean and sophisticated worldview.
2016 Lexus CT 200h Review
If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, but don’t want to give up the style and amenities that come with a luxury car, the Lexus CT 200h might be exactly what you want.
Pricing and Equipment
The Lexus we received was a mid-range CT 200h FWD with Eminent White Pearl paint and caramel-on-black trim. Base pricing starts at $31,250 (plus a $940 delivery fee) and it comes with standard equipment including:
- Keyless entry and ignition
- 10-way power driver's seat
- Drive Mode Select
- Dual-zone climate control
- iPod/USB integration
- Bluetooth interface
This CT 200h also came equipped with the Navigation ($3,480) and Seat Comfort ($475) packages that added features like navigation system with voice command, premium sound system, backup camera and four-way adjustable passenger seat.
- Despite not having great bursts of power, we were really surprised by the CT 200h's agility. Its sharp steering and quick throttle response (when in Sport mode) makes it a fun drive on mountain roads and in the backcountry.
- You’re going to have a really tough time finding a luxury car that can beat it on mileage. We drove the CT 200h pretty aggressively, both on the highway and off, and still experienced a 40 mpg average. No other luxury compact comes close right now.
- The CT 200h offers three selectable driving modes depending on what kind of experience you’re looking for on a given drive. Ignore the Eco mode (which nearly sapped all the enjoyment out of driving the CT 200h), and stick to the Normal and Sport modes. Honestly, once we experienced it in Sport, we found it incredibly difficult even to consider going back to Normal mode.
- Don’t come to the CT 200h looking for quick acceleration or thrilling performance. We found it to be no quicker than the closely related Toyota Prius, and when we timed it out, it took us over 10 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph.
- While its fuel efficiency is excellent for a luxury hybrid, it’s not nearly as fuel efficient as some non-luxury hybrids including the Prius.
- Though not loud by a long shot, we found that the CT 200h doesn’t run nearly as silently as other Lexuses we’ve driven.
For a sporty hatchback with a low roof, the interior of the CT 200h felt surprisingly roomy once we climbed in. The cabin was also well laid out, nicely highlighting the use of sustainably sourced materials used to create the premium look that we expect from a Lexus.
- We appreciated the well-bolstered, comfy front seats. They have us nice support when we tested the CT 200h's sharp steering more aggressively on some windy back roads.
- Due to the placement of the battery pack and the squat roofline, the CT 200h’s cargo capacity is significantly reduced. We were surprised to discover that there’s less than a foot of height below the rollout security cover, making the load bay quite shallow.
- We found the touch-sensitive pad used to control the infotainment system incredibly difficult to use while driving.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
For a car that hasn’t got much get-up-and-go, the CT 200h offers a surprisingly fun drive in the right situations.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
While the interior of the CT 200h isn’t nearly as small as the exterior would have you believe, getting into and out of the back seats was surprisingly difficult. Once we were in, the room wasn’t bad, but getting in and out through those back doors proved to be a real challenge.
The Bottom Line
In many ways, we feel like the CT 200h works better as a two-person compact than a four-person hatchback. That being said, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more fuel-efficient luxury car for the money. If the luxury experience is a priority, and your budget allows, we recommend adding the Navigation package. The technology features that it includes elevate the overall experience and compliment the CT 200h well.