Car test of the month: Lexus CT200h
PUBLISHED: 16:55 20 March 2011 | UPDATED: 19:01 20 February 2013
You're worried about the environment, but also about your reputation at the golf club - what should you drive? Lexus might have the answer
Car test of the month: Lexus CT200h
Youre worried about the environment, but also about your reputation at the golf club - what should you drive? Lexus might have the answer
We all love the environment. Nobody wants to see the whales gone, or England developing a polar weather system, but we love our cars as well. Theyre convenient and comfortable, but it cant go on forever. Our love affair with petrol has to stop one day.
In the meantime, manufacturers have bestowed upon us the gift of hybrid cars, which use a mix of petrol engines and electric motors. They work well, too, but until lately theyve been designed to appeal to people who want to make it very obvious theyre doing their bit. Wouldnt it be great if there was a hybrid that could go almost undetected?
Step up, the new Lexus CT200h. Lexus has been making hybrid cars for some time, but theyve generally been large and, quite frankly, a lot of money. The CT200h is here to tempt BMW and Audi drivers away from the 1 Series and the A3, so how does it stack up?
First impressions are good. Nobody could accuse the Lexus of being pretty, but it is at least aggressive and purposeful in stance. From the front youd be hard-pushed to tell it apart from most of the other Lexus range, and inside is no different. A luxurious and beautifully finished blend of wood, leather and metal makes offerings from BMW and Audi look drab and mean-spirited by comparison, and you get a lot of toys for your money, too. On 16in wheels its refined at speed, feeling every bit the aspirational executive motor youd expect from a Lexus.
The CT200hs real party piece though, is its fuel economy. While its bettered by small turbodiesel engines on motorway runs, in town and city driving, where itll sometimes be powered by just the electric motor, it really comes into its own. Many buyers will be attracted to the CT200hs ability to slip into London without paying the congestion charge so it makes sense that, with clever regenerative braking (which turns your braking energy into electricity), this is the environment in which its most at home. Thanks to a clever display in the car, you can also see how efficiently youre driving, where your power is coming from and being diverted to.
Weve seen all this before of course dont forget that Lexus is a Toyota product, and so it stands to reason that under the executive suit lies much of the Prius running gear. There have been minor tweaks to the engine and the Toyotas cheap and cheerful torsion bar has been replaced with independent rear suspension, but its still a far cry from being a sports car. BMWs 118d has it licked for both acceleration and top speed, but buyers are unlikely to be overly concerned about its pace the CT200h handles neatly and, crucially, is a new entry point to the Lexus range. Its low emissions will be a boon to company car drivers, too.
Marrying the green elements of the Prius with the luxury motoring Lexus is renowned for makes the CT200h a unique car. Its not as sporting as its rivals, but around town or for city executives looking for the right badge, it makes perfect sense.
Price: from 23,485
Performance: 0-62mph: 10.3 sec
Economy: 68.9mpg (combined)
Engine: 1.8 petrol-electric hybrid
Gearbox: CVT auto
Contact details: Tel: 01892 700400 or 01227 455553