Lexus CT 200 Hybrid Premium L3 Review: H for Haute

Lexus CT 200 Hybrid Premium L3 Review: H for Haute

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
10 Apr 2011
What we like:
pros
Meaty steering
pros
relatively refined
pros
unsurpassed fuel consumption numbers
pros
relatively affordable
pros
well built
pros
nicely thought out cabin
What we dislike:
cons
Awkward rear end styling
cons
not as quick as an A3 1.8 TFSI
cons
shallow boot floor
cons
unengaging to drive


The exterior's L-finesse design cues carry through to the CT 200h's interior, where the dashboard is divided into an upper Display Zone, and a lower Operation Zone, including the shift lever and system controls. The cabin is airy and spacious, while the driver sits in a snug cockpit, which creates a focused driving environment.

The instruments look good while the myriad of controls on the Operation Zone are logically placed for further ease of use. The cabin feels premium and luxurious enough even though it is a base model Lexus thanks to the soft touch surfaces and the tactile nature of the controls and switchgear.

The Lexus Remote Touch Controller is standard with the Premium model here. Having experienced it in the RX and now the CT, I personally find the system unintuitive to use and operate.

At the rear, legroom has been maximised by designing thinner front seatbacks and flatter centre sections for the rear seats while the flat floor is an added bonus for those seated in the middle.

Even though Lexus claims that the CT's hybrid battery is set as low as possible beneath the floor of the boot, the boot area lacks depth. Thankfully a 60/40 split/fold rear seatback is standard and when folded down, Lexus claims up to 985 litres of load space will be available.

The Premium model tested here commands a $17k premium over the base model. For the extra money, the Premium model offers Lexus Parking Assist with rear view camera, keyless entry, cruise control, anti-theft alarm, rain sensors, DVD navigation system with retractable multi-display screen, Remote Touch Controller, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, leather seats, electrical adjustments for the driver's seat and a Mark Levinson sound system.

The CT200h represents many firsts for Lexus - it is the first full hybrid in the compact luxury segment, it is also Lexus' first compact five-door hatchback model. The styling might not be as pretty as the earlier concept car and the driving experience lack inspiration but the new gateway model to the Lexus marque certainly makes for an interesting alternative to its compact luxury competitors.

Credits: Story and photos by Raymond Lai

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