2013 Lexus CT 200h Review
Sampling the hottest version of Lexus' hybrid hatch.No Comments
The CT has quick reflexes and engaging steering, and sets the edge nicely in a corner.
Lexus likens its CT 200h hybrid hatch to being on par with its ES luxury mid-size sedan and its IS sports sedan, but that always seems a bit off to observers, since the CT looks so different to those two Lexii and comes available only with a hybrid powertrain.
The CT is clearly aimed at the most youthful potential Lexus buyers, hence its hybrid bits and hatchback shape. It's the performance Prius.
Lexus added an F Sport trim to the CT, but does that make it a hot hatch or a hybrid with sporty pretensions?
No matter, as the sport suspension gives the CT surprising handling chops. It's not a sports car, and there are Lexus models that are much better in the twisties -- see the IS and GS sports sedans -- but the CT handles much better than a car based on the Prius platform should. It has quick reflexes and engaging steering, and sets the edge nicely in a corner.
What it doesn't have is much accelerative power. At least not in the 'Eco' and 'Normal' drive modes. Switch the selector to 'Sport' and throttle response improves, but the CT still isn't a road rocket. No wonder, since the 1.8-liter four-cylinder and electric motor combine for only 98 system horsepower. If we were Lexus, we'd add a regular gas engine and a turbo option to the CT for true performance. As it is now, you have a sorta-fun hybrid that needs more guts.
The short wheelbase and sport suspension leads to a stiff ride on rough surfaces, and some oscillation occurred at highway speeds on certain pavement. The cabin gets loud at higher speeds, too.
Headroom and legroom are at a premium, as is cargo space -- this isn't a large car. For single commuters, it's fine, but those who haul humans and/or the junk humans haul will find themselves cramped.
As noted above, we'd love to see the CT line expand to include regular gas engines, including a hopped-up turbo. But that's because we're enthusiasts. Those who can live with low power and laggy throttle responses will find the CT to be edgier than the Prius. Still, unless you're young and low on (luxury) funds (and really desperate to buy a luxury nameplate), there are other hybrids that do the sport thing, or the hybrid thing, or both, better. Just be prepared to pay more.
Transmission: Continuously-variable automatic
Drive Wheels: Front-wheel-drive
Fuel Economy: 43 mpg city/40 mpg highway
Base Price: $37,630
As-tested Price: $38,525 (includes $895 delivery charge)
Available Features: Navigation, Bluetooth, USB, satellite radio, infotainment system, fog lamps, rear wiper, sport suspension, 17-inch wheels, heated front seats, rear spoiler, cargo net.