In-depth reviews

Lexus CT 200h (2011-2020) review

The Lexus CT 200h is no longer available to buy new, but makes for a decent and well-equipped secondhand hybrid buy

Lexus CT 200h
Overall rating

2.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Quality interior
  • Impressive reliability
  • Low CO2 emissions

Cons

  • Rear space is compromised
  • Newer rivals are more efficient
  • Sluggish CVT transmission
Car typeFuel economyCO2 emissions0-62mph
Hybrid53-55mpg115-121g/km10.3s

Lexus practically invented the luxury compact hybrid class when it unveiled the CT 200h at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The car received several minor updates during its time on sale, but is now available secondhand only. Rivals include the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq hybrids, as well as the plug-in hybrid Volkswagen Golf GTE. The CT stood in a field of one when it came to the market in 2011, but by the time it went off sale in late 2020, it was really showing its age.

The CT 200h is based on the previous-generation Toyota Prius and Toyota Auris. Power is from a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine paired with an electric motor to deliver a total output of 134bhp. It’ll hit 62mph from rest in 10.3 seconds before reaching a top speed of 112mph. The CT 200h is a full hybrid (or what Lexus and its parent company Toyota describe as a ‘self-charging hybrid’) with the electric motor designed to improve fuel economy, reduce CO2 emissions and deliver a mile or so of electric driving. Unlike its plug-in hybrid rivals, the CT has no charging cables and offers little chance of completing a commute on electric power alone.

Although you’re limited to a single engine and CVT transmission, there's choice of specification. There are three trim levels: CT, F Sport and Takumi, with the Safety System+ package standard across the range. This incorporates a pre-collision system, lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and sway warning. Also standard across the line-up are 17-inch alloy wheels, sat nav, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and rain-sensing wipers.

F Sport adds its own design of alloy wheel, plus a special F Sport grille, steering wheel and pedals. It also gets black mirror housings, sports suspension, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and rear privacy glass. Takumi, meanwhile, features a sunroof, LED headlights a premium navigation system, a premium Mark Levinson stereo and parking sensors at the front as well as the rear.

Aside from its hybrid powertrain, the other key selling point is the CT’s excellent interior. Even many years after launch, it retained a quality feel, with a level of fit and finish to rival anything else in this class. The dashboard is showing its age and the infotainment system feels woefully outdated, but the interior certainly feels good. In the back, rear-seat space is compromised by the battery pack under the floor, while boot space is merely adequate for this size of car. Rivals offer substantially more luggage capacity when you fold the rear seats down, but at least the boot floor is flush with the lip.

The CT 200h was never a class leader dynamically and was further outstripped in this area since it launched. Ride quality is poor, performance is lethargic and the steering offers nothing in the way of feedback. Push the CT too hard and the CVT transmission responds with lots of noise but little action. In its favour is an incredibly quiet and refined ride at town speeds and plenty of composure on the motorway.

Overall, the CT 200h really felt its age at the end of its time on sale, but these days it does make a good used buy thanks to its relatively low CO2 emissions, quality interior and the brand's excellent reliability record. Read on for the rest of our in-depth Lexus CT 200h review below...

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