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Lexus CT200h 2014 review: snapshot

EXPERT RATING
7
Lexus has given its CT200h hybrid a major facelift, tightened up the body to improve noise and vibration suppression, but, surprisingly, hasn't changed the drivetrain components.

Lexus has given its CT200h hybrid a major facelift, tightened up the body to improve noise and vibration suppression, but, surprisingly, hasn't changed the drivetrain components.

Styling

There's no harder fought market in the luxury vehicle segment than that of small to medium cars. Lexus CT200h is up against the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the Audi A1 and BMW's 1 Series. Buyers from the Mercedes C-Class, Audi A3 and BMW 3 Series may also be taking a look at the Lexus CT range.

Once upon a time buyers of the big-three German marques were on the conservative side. Now, buyers in the small car segment are increasingly demanding styling that's out there. The original Lexus CT200h didn't fill that bill, but the facelifted model has leapt away from the ordinary, perhaps taking cues from the radical shape of the front end of the A-Class.

Lexus' 'spindle-grille' theme, applied to many other models from the upmarket Japanese marque in the last couple of years, reaches new heights (and new widths and depths) in the CT200h. It comes in two distinct finishes, our favourite being that used in F Sport, with its distinctive mesh grille. The latter also features a black roof.

There are also new-design alloy wheels, revised rear lights and a restyle of the rear bumper. The standard models get a smallish rear roof spoiler, the F Sport a much larger unit. The overall effect is a bold look that certainly gathers a fair bit of attention. Inside there are new trim colours and materials. Satellite navigation with Suna traffic information is standard on some, optional on others.

Engines / Transmissions

A big surprise is that there are no changes here. The hybrid petrol-electric system produces up to 100 kilowatts of power and drives through a clever CVT automatic transmission.

There are obviously bigger advances being made in hybrid technology than in conventional engines and transmissions, so why not adopt the latest in hybrid technology to the facelifted Lexus CT200h? Lexus won't comment on this and we can only assume that big things await us when the all-new model is launched, probably in 2016 or 2017.

Safety

All Lexus CT200h models now have a reversing camera. They benefit from additional body strengthening and the use of no fewer than eight airbags, including units to protect the driver's and front passenger's knees. The small Lexus had no trouble gaining a five-star crash test rating.

Driving

The revised Lexus CT200h is a surprise package. Improvements to the body and suspension make it even quieter and more pleasant to travel in. Driver involvement is increased thanks to the tauter body and the softer suspension settings that complement one another. On the other hand using the same drivetrain as before surprises us.

Always a quiet, smooth car in the tradition of all Lexus models, the CT200h has been further improved by the use of a stronger body, which permits softer suspension settings. The steering has been improved and while you wouldn't really call it a sports hatch, even in F Sport format, the CT200h is pleasant to drive and ride in. There's some road noise on coarse-chip surfaces, though we've heard worse.

Pricing Guides

$28,888
Based on 13 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$20,990
Highest Price
$34,900

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
CT200h F Sport 1.8L, PULP, CVT AUTO $24,888 – 34,900 2014 Lexus CT 2014 CT200h F Sport Pricing and Specs
CT200h Luxury 1.8L, PULP, CVT AUTO $20,990 – 24,880 2014 Lexus CT 2014 CT200h Luxury Pricing and Specs
CT200h Prestige 1.8L, PULP, CVT AUTO $21,010 – 26,620 2014 Lexus CT 2014 CT200h Prestige Pricing and Specs
CT200h Sports Luxury 1.8L, PULP, CVT AUTO $24,200 – 29,920 2014 Lexus CT 2014 CT200h Sports Luxury Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7