2017 Lexus CT 200h Review

CT 200h

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2017 Lexus CT 200h Overview

It doesn’t look like anything else on the road, and why should it? A hybrid hatchback designed for a new generation of discerning car buyer should be anything but your ordinary grocery-getter. Lexus, the same company that builds the definitely-your-father’s-luxury-car ES, also builds a rolling contradiction of that notion, the 2017 CT 200h.

The CT hybrid is based on the Toyota MC platform, a venerable underpinning shared with the Corolla, Prius, RAV4, and Lexus NX, and it sports the distinctive “spindle” grille–but similarities to other models stop there. Though it may be a compact car, the CT has a wide track and a hatchback body style. But unlike other hatchbacks, the CT’s C-pillar (behind the rear doors) boasts bold curves that act as a juxtaposition to the front grille.

Having first arrived for 2011, the CT 200h was redesigned for the 2014 model year, bringing in the spindle grille and a more aggressive lower front fascia. There are two trims: the standard CT and the CT F Sport. Standard features include 17-inch 5-spoke aluminum wheels with V-rated all-season tires, aero-stabilizing taillight fins, and side mirrors with integrated turn signals and puddle lamps. Opting for the F Sport gains a larger spindle grille with a sport mesh grille pattern, a unique rear spoiler, access to several unique F Sport colors, unique LED fog light mesh, and F Sport badging.

The 5-passenger CT 200h features a flowing aesthetic interior that looks like it could be right at home in the garage of a Frank Lloyd Wright house. The straight lines blend with the ergonomically sensible center stack and are capped off with a traditional analog clock. Standard interior features include leather upholstery, a 10-way power front driver's seat, automatic dual-zone climate control, push-button start, and Bluetooth hands-free calling with voice-control activation. Standard audio features include MP3/USB/iPod inputs, Bluetooth streaming music, and a 90-day subscription to SiriusXM.

The CT is available with the Lexus Enform enhanced infotainment system, which has apps like Bing searches, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, Yelp Pandora, and Facebook Places. Enform comes with the navigation package, which also includes navigation with real-time traffic and weather updates, voice-activated address input, and Siri EyesFree iPhone operation. Get the navigation package and you also have the Lexus Enform remote, which allows you to start the vehicle and lock/unlock the doors remotely, as well as find your CT in a big, crowded parking lot. If you loan your CT to a friend, you can set up Enform remote to alert you should that friend exceed the speed limit. The Lexus Touch system uses a combination joystick/track ball for intuitive, ergonomic operation of the various menus. The navigation package even brings a 10-speaker Lexus Premium sound system with a rear subwoofer.

The CT is powered by a 1.8-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine paired to a hybrid drivetrain. The I4 makes 98 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque. When coupled to the electric motors and nickel-metal-hydride battery pack, the CT’s net output is 134 hp, and power is sent to the front wheels through an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission. Fuel economy for the CT 200h is 43 mpg city/40 highway/42 combined. Lexus claims this combination is good for a 0-60 mph time of 9.8 seconds on the way to an electronically limited top speed of 113 mph.

The CT 200h allows you to customize the feel of your ride with Drive Mode Select, which features Normal, Sport, and Eco drive modes. Sport quickens the throttle response for faster acceleration, while Eco softens throttle response and limits hybrid system output and climate control settings to get the most out of every drop of fuel.

Standard safety features include daytime running lights, a tire-pressure monitoring system, electronically controlled braking, front- and side-impact airbags, traction control, and vehicle stability control. The CT 200h has an EV mode, which means it can sometimes run silently; to prevent pedestrians and cyclists from accidentally hitting it while in EV mode, the CT emits a tone from a speaker mounted in the bumper. Optional safety features include a backup camera with guidelines, an intuitive parking proximity system with audible sensors for parallel parking, rain-sensing automatic windshield wipers, and forward-collision warning with autonomous braking.

Base MSRP for the 2017 Lexus CT 200h is $31,250. The F Sport trim starts at $32,980.

The Lexus CT 200h doesn’t waste any time letting you know it's not your average hybrid, or even your average luxury car. Its unorthodox appearance shows onlookers there's a compact luxury hybrid for a new generation–one that delivers performance, efficiency, and comfort, all in one head-turning package.

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From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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