Vital Stats

1.8L I4 + Electric Motor
134 HP (total) /105 LB-FT
0-60 Time:
9.8 Seconds
Top Speed:
113 MPH
Front-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,130 LBS
14.3 CU-FT
43 City / 40 Hwy
As we discovered the first time we spent a week with one, the Lexus CT 200h is an intriguingly Euro-centric player in the entry tier of the premium market. With a starting price of $29,120 in 2012 (plus $895 for delivery), the CT represents the least expensive way to get into a new Lexus. At that price, it seems like a reasonable choice. For just a few dollars short of $40,000, our test car – a loaded F Sport model, a new trim level for 2012 – lost pretty much all of its value proposition. Still, the CT is an entertaining small hatchback that returns excellent fuel mileage.

Driving Notes:
  • 134 total horsepower – 98 from the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and the rest from the integrated electric motor – and 105 pound-feet of torque isn't enough gumption to earn a badge with the word 'Sport'. 0-60 takes 9.8 seconds and the top speed is just 113 miles per hour. The base Fiat 500, which has been called every variation of the world slow, is just as quick, albeit with a manual gearbox.
  • We've never been big fans of continuously variable transmissions, and the one used in the CT hybrid isn't going to change our minds. The engine drones at 4,000 RPM way too often, especially in Sport mode.
  • We wish there was an option to default the CT to Sport mode, as its more aggressive throttle mapping and quicker steering setup makes the CT much more engaging to drive. Plus, we prefer the digital tach display in Sport over the normal Eco dummy gauge that appears left of the central speedometer.
  • Eco mode turns the act of driving the CT 200h into a chore, yet it doesn't seem to have any meaningful impact on fuel mileage in regular driving. While it won't remember to start in Sport, it will remember to put you in Eco mode if that's how it was set when the car was last shut off. That's irritating.
  • F Sport mods don't make the CT 200h any quicker, but we're told handling has been improved a notch through retuned suspension bits. We found the CT F Sport's ride and handling compromise to be just right for Goldilocks. As far as appearances go, we dig the funky duds and think the F Sport bodykit and bespoke wheels are well done.
  • Why reinvent the gear-shifter? A little T-shaped nub sticks out of the center stack, with an offbeat h-pattern that requires an additional button labeled 'P' to put into park. Is this really necessary? Plus, a sporty car in this price bracket that doesn't offer a manual transmission really ought to feature paddles.
  • The 2012 CT uses an older version of Remote Touch control than the brand-new GS. Although it does include haptic feedback, it does not allow the directional controller to double as a selector. Instead, there's a separate 'Enter' button on either side. Not our favorite way to move a cursor or make selections. We also found ourselves bumping the joystick when using the climate and audio controls or when resting our arms on the console.
  • This is a small car. While I was able to fit my six-foot, two-inch frame comfortably behind the wheel, don't expect adults to spend too much time in the back. On the plus side, there's a reasonable 14.3 cubic feet of storage under the hatch with the seats up.
  • Fuel mileage remains a strong suit. We weren't able to match the EPA-estimated 43 city/40 highway, but we hauled four adults (driver included) around Phoenix, Arizona for an afternoon with the air conditioner blasting and still recorded mileage in the high 30s.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      This seems like it makes a great case for the Volt. At least it's still a better value than the Hs250.
      • 2 Years Ago
      To put a proper "sport" mode on the synergy drive they should have made it a plug-in with 6-8kWh of lithium batteries and a slightly larger electric motor. That would have given it more all electric punch.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hahahaha Imagine actually buying this thing? So ugly and... A 0-60 time that gets you BEAT by: (to name a few) A Dodge Caravan Honda Fit Chevy Cruise 1990 Miata AND an '84 Fiero gives it a really good run! Terrible.
      Justin Campanale
      • 2 Years Ago
      Audi A3 TDI is much faster, is a better daily driver,and has more power. The diesel engine means that it has tons of low end torque. Audi's interior is also considerably better than the CT's. The MPG is also underestimated by the EPA, rated at 30/42, but in the real world, more like 40/50.. I really wish Americans would get educated on diesels.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Neon, that was probably designed in late 1992, looks modern and well proportioned compared to this mess of 'design'.
      • 2 Years Ago
      The way to option this car is to take the nav, leave the leather, leave the F-Sport (an appearance package) and then you get a much nicer Prius for a few hundred more than the loaded Prius hatchback Five. When I last priced it out, they were within $300 of each other. Then you get dual-zone climate, Lexus loaners/service and amazing resale. The used CTs for sale are selling for around new prices. The depreciation is minimal. It's no sports car but it's satisfying to drive, feels nicely built and offers great mileage. Their customers couldn't care less about 0-60, so that's a non-issue.
        • 2 Years Ago
        In the UK, a year old Lexus CT200h has lost around about £10k of its original price from new. No amazing resale value here for us.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have one of these as my daily driver. Not the fastest car in the world, but comfortable to drive, awesome gas mileage (I get about 47 mpg on long drives with a mix of freeway and back roads) and certainly much sportier than a Prius or other small hybrids.
        • 2 Years Ago
        I'm sorry. :(
        • 2 Years Ago
        I do too. The non F sport model. On flat ground it does just fine. Give it a little hill to go up and it's wound all the way out. I agree about the not being able to start in Sport mode. I would like to have that choice. It's city mileage is a little disappointing. I'm getting around 37 in town but out on the freeway it's getting 44 MPG.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Well duh. It's got a ~130 horsepower. Frankly, it would probably get *better* mileage on the freeway if you took out the batteries/electric motor/etc.
      Master Austin
      • 2 Years Ago
      Typical of Toyota to put "sport" on something slow...I get a chuckle from the Corolla "Sport" and Yaris "Sport" models. I guess in Toyota language, "Sport" is used as a warning for "slow".
      Jeremy Pennini
      • 2 Years Ago
      What did you expect from a funny looking Prius?
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lexus is just slapping the f sport name on anything. Rip off.
        • 2 Years Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Calling this a "sport" model is like calling BMW 5 series a "luxury car". Toyota, you are embarrassing yourself.
      • 2 Years Ago
      HAHAHAHAH! Gdamn that's ugly.
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