Lexus offers several hybrid choices, and since they come from the Toyota family - makers of the ubiquitous Prius - you expect them to do a good job…and they don’t disappoint.
Of course, when someone in the parking garage confused my test ride with our co-worker Jane’s Ford Focus hatchback…well, it does kinda make you scratch your head over the $20,000 price difference.
That’s just on the outside appearance, though. Spend a week tooling around in the CT 200h and you’ll soon realize where the differences lie.
Might as well start with the power plant. The 200h relies upon a 4-cylinder hybrid engine that pairs with two electric motors. The result is a little over 130 horsepower delivered to the front wheels. Listen, acceleration when the light turns green will not blow your hair back, but that’s not why you’re buying this car, remember?
I did enjoy the smooth ride and handling, however. Lexus will never let you down in that area. They’ve borrowed the powertrain from the Prius, but the rest of the car is its own animal.
The exterior is…well, see my earlier comment about the confusion with the Ford. It’s not necessarily a stunning piece of eye candy, but it’s also not an eyesore. I’m guessing that the primary demographic for the car will have two X chromosomes, based on the number of women who said “hey, that’s cute.” I’m more likely to describe the look as “sleek.”
Open up and climb inside and you’ll appreciate the style and comfort. No, it’s not the ultimate in Lexus refinement, but it’s well designed and well above average. With a few option upgrades you can even inch a little closer to typical Lexus luxury.
The layout is good for the driver, with good sight lines and easy reach. For the one thousandth time I’ll ask engineers to go back to simpler dash designs, even though they won’t listen. But really? Having to use a type of mouse and multiple clicks just to switch from one radio station to another? Did little buttons on the console make it look that tacky? Bring back the buttons!
Sorry, I’m talking to a brick wall. Car designers are too cool to listen.
There’s decent head- and leg-room for the front seat folks, while the back seat is about average. Storage is at a minimum up front (i.e. glove box, storage bins, etc), which is disappointing. You’ll find the gear switches up on the console, a location that at least brings exclamations of surprise from your passengers. It’s so…futuristic!
The 200h is available as a Base model or the Premium (which I drove). Even in the Base you’ll find a nice selection of standard features, including heated side mirrors (we love those in Colorado), keyless ignition, and a decent array of sound/media choices - hello, mouse!
Step up to the Premium and you’re greeted with heated front seats and a moonroof. Options tack on a few bucks, but include things like Premium Audio, Navigation, Leather, and more.
Mileage is what separates the CT 200h from some of its competitors, weighing in with an impressive 42 mpg combined. MSRP for the Base is around $29, and you can add a couple grand for the Premium. With options, the Premium I drove came in a nose under $40k.
If you’re shopping for a premium compact car, and gas efficiency is a key consideration, you’d be nuts to not check out this Lexus hybrid. They set out to add a bit of pizzazz to the market, and with the CT 200h they’ve hit the mark.