2011 Lexus CT 200h Hybrid: Review Roundup

Lexus CT 200h Hybrid Reviews

photo courtesy of Lexus

Hybrids are becoming more common. With Toyota dominating the market, luxury brands have started to take notice. The CT 200h hatchback is Lexus’s most serious attempt to bring more sound engineering, fuel economy and luxury touches into the growing hybrid market. Let’s find out what’s being said about it.


MotorTrend – First Drive: 2011 Lexus CT 200h (October 2010)

If fuel economy is your thing, the CT 200h gets 42 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. Those figures are pretty close to the Prius.

MotorTrend calls the CT 200h “a far smoother and more comfortable car to drive than the Prius,” saying that “the CT 200h rides nicely over poor-quality pavement, and vibrations are nearly non-existent. Exterior noise is effectively dampened as well, though not the tire noise.”

The reviewer takes the CT 200h to task over its steering and supposed “sportiness,” which they say doesn’t quite measure up. However, they liked the handling of this car in Sport mode, saying “the safety nannies are dialed back… This car can handle. Quite well, in fact.”

Although they have some pointed words for the dash controls, they like the driver’s seat and position of the steering wheel and pedals.

MotorTrend concludes with: “The most remarkable thing about the CT 200h is how easy it is to forget that you’re driving a hybrid. Regardless of driving mode, transitions to and from electric power and gasoline power are so seamless that you simply forget they’re happening. Power is plenty adequate in most situations, but can leave you wanting when passing or climbing hills. The brakes, meanwhile, are much more linear and dare we say ‘normal’ than Prius brakes.”


Car and Driver – 2011 Lexus CT200h Hybrid: First Drive Review

Car and Driver has several issues with this car. The engine produces “98 hp with an 80-hp electric motor for a combined output of 134. This lowly amount of power has to haul roughly 3200 pounds, so this vehicle is slow. Figure on the amble to 60 mph taking 10 seconds flat.” They say, however, that this will enhance it’s projected gas mileage.

C&D also thinks the interior is too tight, but that controls are well laid-out. They note that there are eight standard air-bags in this car.

C&D is unimpressed with the CT 200h’s pure EV mode, calling it “pure gimmick.” They continue “EV operation is theoretically possible for up to one mile at speeds up to 28 mph, but anything more than the lightest pedal pressure refires the gas engine.” They call the throttle of the three preset driving modes, Eco, Normal and Sport “lazy, lethargic and sluggish,” respectively.

They say it’s generally comparable to other competitor’s hybrids, but conclude: “Given the Lexus’s sloth and dull personality, we’d take one of the European cars—or even the much cheaper, mechanically similar, and more efficient Prius—instead.”


Edmunds – 2011 Lexus CT200h Review

Edmunds calls the CT 200h’s driving modes “sharper and more enjoyable than you’ll find in most other hybrids.” They also tout its fuel economy, but take issue with the acceration. “In our testing,” Edmunds says, “the CT posted a 0-60 time of 10.4 seconds, 0.3 second slower than the already pokey Prius.”

They call the car “a respectable choice.”

“It’s affordably priced, practical and will no doubt be a draw for shoppers prioritizing fuel efficiency,” Edmunds says.

They are in favor of the many safety features, including a collision-notification system. In brake-testing, Edmunds says that “CT’s performance was acceptable, with the car stopping from 60 mph in 120 feet.”

They responded positively to the interior controls: “The shifter sits high on the angled center stack, within easy reach of the driver, and Lexus’ ergonomically stellar Remote Touch controller governs the navigation system — this controller is essentially a mouse that sits on the driver side of the center console, and like the shifter, it’s remarkably easy to reach and use.”

They conclude by saying: “Enthusiast-minded shoppers in this segment will be better served by the nimbler BMW 1 Series or quicker Volvo C30.”


Automobile Magazine – First Drive: 2011 Lexus CT200h

Automobile, like other reviewers, is mystified by Lexus trying to market this car in America, saying “The CT’s spec sheet is only a diesel engine and a clutch pedal short of passing for a European hatch.”

They come down hard on the CT’s pickup, saying it “rather impassionately drones its way to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds,” but, like everyone else, laud its fuel economy. They also say its suspension and handling are greater than that of the Prius.

Automobile says that the three driving modes are boring, the sport having some promise, but with the gas engine kicking in at speed or throttle, it is largely wasted.

They say that “the brake pedal feels OK on soft applications, but its response to big pedal inputs is abruptly nonlinear.”

They conclude the review by griping about the CT’s $31,500 sticker price and posit that this car was designed with Europe in mind, more than anything else. They then say it’s no excuse: “At the end of the day,” Automobile says, “there’s just no comparison between a pain au chocolat and a Hershey bar shoved between two pieces of Wonder Bread.”

Laurent J. Masson December 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I don’t think the CT200h is a good car for America. It was created for European urbanites who wanted an upmarket Prius, and that’s what it is but it’s also substantially smaller, and significantly more expensive. Back seat and trunk space are much smaller than in a Prius, this Lexus is for well-off singles only. Others will find a Prius much better.

Steve Jabbata January 12, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Ok just wanted to clear something up. Toyota=Lexus. Lexus is a subsidiary of Toyota. To say luxary manufacturers are leaning forward and sight Lexus as your example is at worst false and at best misguided research. If any was done outside of going to car and driver and copy and pasting a review on this website.

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