There are quite a few little CT 200h hybrids roaming around; designed to please those who can get by with the compact format and those who are willin to opt for luxury over Toyota’s legendary rationality.
Unlike the Prius, design has the upper hand over practicality, and the quality fit and finish exude perfection. The CT 200h’s engine offers smooth and efficient transitions between gas and electric power, in spite of the fact that its uses older nickel metal hydride (NiMh) batteries.
So, what gives? The infotainment system is a throwback from the ‘90s! I definitely expected more from the folks at Lexus.
What is a Lexus CT 200h?
A hybrid that eases the pain at the pump. The build quality and finish are world-class. On the other hand, the standard equipment list is quite sparse, and the many available options quickly add up.
2013 Lexus CT 200h F Sport Price and Specs
The 1.8L 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine is hooked up to a 60kW permanent-magnet electric motor that offers a full EV mode. Together, they produce 134 horsepower.
Lexus uses nickel metal hydride battery technology. Toyota claims that this choice is motivated by reliability. The price, as they are more affordable than lithium-ion batteries, is also an important factor behind this choice.
The electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (ECVT) is not for everyone. Personally, I was not inconvenienced by its operation. You must keep in mind that these types of transmissions are noisier than conventional gearboxes.
This combination of technologies in the 2013 Lexus CT 200h F Sport helped me squeeze out 5.9L/100 km during the test period.
The MSRP starts at $31,450, while the Touring and Premium packages add $2,000 and $5,050 to the total, respectively. The F Sport Package brings the grand total to $37,400. For $ 39,650, you can benefit from the optional Technology Package
Driving the 2013 Lexus CT 200h F Sport
Lexus scored some serious points with the CT 200h, and struck out on a few minor issues as well. Let’s start with the strong points: the transition between the gas-powered engine and the electric motor is seamless.
In fact, this is a good example of the overall smoothness of this vehicle, which is exactly why it eventually may become annoying in the long run. My test vehicle was the ‘’F Sport’’ model. In spite of the fact that it has a sportier suspension, the 2013 Lexus CT 200h F Sport lacked grip. The 134-hp engine is easily overwhelmed. I personally think that driving enjoyment, even in a hybrid (and even more so a Lexus hybrid), is what counts most!
Rear visibility is limited. This minor issue is mitigated by the integrated rear-view mirror backup camera, which I appreciated. This setup is, for me, a much more natural and precise system than the popular cameras that change proportions, thus changing perception.
The Lexus CT 200h’s braking system also stands out. It is diametrically opposed to the Jetta Hybrid Turbo that I tested a few weeks back. It is precise, predictable, and natural. The regenerative braking system can be felt, but this is both normal and not too disruptive.
Inside and Out of the 2013 Lexus CT 200h F Sport
I like the looks of this diminutive Japanese car. All curves, it exudes both luxury and youth. This allows Lexus to target markets that are completely different from that of the LS, for example.
What about the F Sport? It enhances the 2013 Lexus CT 200h’s styling. It sports unique front and rear spoilers, a three-spoke steering wheel, sport pedals, and aluminum-alloy 17” F Sport wheels.
The well-designed cabin is spoiled by an archaic infotainment system. I never managed to connect to Bluetooth. This is totally unacceptable in this day and age. There is a satellite radio function, without a display! A complete aberration.
This is in addition to a series of poorly designed controls, in particular the seat control buttons that are straight out of the ‘90s. The heated seats didn’t feel particularly heated, or maybe the heat is too subtle for my liking. This is a common caveat throughout the Toyota/Lexus lineup.
The rear seats are snug, but comfortable, just don’t expect enough trunk volume for a week’s vacation for four.
Comparing the 2013 Lexus CT 200h F Sport
The choice of hybrids keeps growing, but the selection of compact luxury hybrids is quite limited.
The Acura ILX Hybrid and Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid are among the main choices. Both the Jetta and Golf TDI are low-fuel consumption choices that you may also consider exploring.