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2014 Lexus CT 200h Overview
Fulfilling a lately recognized niche, the 2014 Lexus CT 200h offers a 5-seat compact luxury hatchback at a fairly affordable price. Now in its fourth year of production, this spiffy wagon gets some minor yet noticeable cosmetic updates, namely the new “spindle” grille that graces the rest of the Lexus stable, as well as a larger rear spoiler, redesigned headlights and a refreshed rear bumper. Though the latest CT 200h edition is nominally offered in a single Base trim, some tweaks to the suspension and the interior and exterior appointments, along with a distinctive wheel upgrade will get you the CT F Sport sub-trim.
Designed to compete with Audi’s A3 (specifically its upcoming e-tron hatchback iteration) and Mercedes’ handsome (and non-hybrid) CLA 250, Lexus’ little hatchback touts best-in-class mileage as its claim to fame, while rumor has it that a hybrid sedan version and a non-hybrid version of the hatchback presently adorn the Lexus drawing boards. In any case, passenger room in the CT 200h is noted by reviewers to be a little tight, while cargo area is only given to the upright rear seatbacks (14.3 cubic feet). Fear not, because those rear seatbacks are split-folding, accepting of total cargo cubic footage far in excess of the stated amount.
Powering this front-wheel-drive-only (FWD) pint-sized people mover is the traditional variable-valve-timed (VVT) 1.8-liter hybrid inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine that mates with a pair of electric motors and a continuously variable-speed transmission (CVT) for 134 total hp. The touted mileage figures, by the way, work out to an impressive 43 mpg city/40 highway. Additionally, this gas/electric hatchback comes with 4 driver-selectable cruising modes: Eco for an economical drive, Normal for everyday use, Sport for a sportier (though less fuel-efficient) run, and EV for all-electric spurts.
Now to the good stuff! This downsized Lexus sports standard 17-inch alloy wheels, an upsized rear spoiler and a power sunroof on its swoopy profile, with leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, leather and alloy accents, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat gracing the interior. Remote power door locks, power windows and heated power-adjustable mirrors also come standard, as do cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering. Dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth hands-free calling return, as does the Enform infotainment system busily interfacing with a single-CD player boasting 6 speakers and satellite radio.
Besides the optional F Sport Package, there’s a Navigation Package with a 7-inch touchscreen, rearview camera, remote garage door opener and upgraded audio, as well as a couple of Premium packages that offer variations of the above sans the navigation system. Remote engine starting, leather upholstery and LED headlights are all available with the latest variation of the CT 200h.
Finally, notable standard safety features remain 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, active front headrests and front side-mounted airbags. Turn-signal-integrated mirrors also come standard in this hybrid hatchback, as do front fog/driving lights, daytime running lights, a post-collision safety system, Enform/Safety Connect emergency assistance and a remote antitheft alarm. Optional safety equipment, meanwhile, includes adaptive cruise control with pre-collision warning, as well as Intuitive Parking Assist with rear parking sensors.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.