2015 CT 200h New Car Test Drive
The Lexus CT 200h is a five-door hatchback powered by a hybrid gas-electric powertrain based on the Toyota Prius. The CT 200h is 6 inches shorter than the Prius, or about the same overall length as the Audi A3 wagon. It was introduced as a 2011 model and received minor styling revisions for 2014.
For 2015, Lexus CT 200h gets few changes. The 2015 CT 200h gets a new Siri Eyes-Free mode, an upgraded Lexus Enform App Suite that adds Slacker, and an updated HomeLink garage door opener. Turn signals adopt the three-flash system, and 2015 models equipped with navigation get additional voice commands.
The CT 200h is a hybrid and works very similarly to a regular gas-powered car. You don't plug this car in. You simply fill the tank with gas. It's propelled at times by both the electric motor and its four-cylinder engine, but at very low speeds it can run in electric-only mode for short periods of time. The 2015 CT 200h achieves an EPA-estimated fuel-economy rating of 43/40 mpg City/Highway (42 mpg Combined). We got 38 mpg while not exactly striving to drive green.
The Lexus CT 200h F Sport model has slightly firmer springs than the standard model, but its sports appeal is mainly aesthetic: black leather, racy 17-inch alloy wheels, a mesh rendition of the front grille, big rear spoiler, aluminum pedals, perforated leather steering wheel, titanium-gray metal instrument panel trim, and F Sport badging (including a new rear badge).
Inside, the cabin is cozy with a comfortable driver's seat. Everything is easy to reach. Rear-seat legroom is tight. Cargo space is about the same as a compact sedan, smallish for a hatch. The view rearward is restricted, so we recommend the optional rearview camera that comes with the navigation system. The next-gen multimedia system includes HD Radio and real-time traffic and weather.
With the Prius powertrain, the CT 200h makes 98 horsepower from the 1.8-liter Atkinson Cycle gas engine and 80 hp 60 (kW) from the motor/generator, for a total of 134 hp. Its 0-60 mph acceleration time of 9.8 seconds is the same lethargic pace as that of the Prius. Because it corners so well, a driver might be lured into treating the car in a sporty manner, but the small engine and continuously variable transmission cannot respond to that urge. The CT has four driving modes: EV, Eco, Normal and Sport. Don't count on going far in EV, the all-electric mode.
We were surprised and delighted to discover the CT 200h handles so well, and the F Sport goes even better. In any CT 200h, the cornering is spirited and secure. This Lexus has impressive balance, with a low center of gravity and centralized moment of inertia (the spin-out factor). The chassis offers high torsional rigidity, using a double-wishbone rear suspension, and sophisticated performance dampers.
Ride quality is very good. We drove hard over a section of road with a lot of lumpy tar patches, and our Lexus took them in stride. The CT 200h is very maneuverable, able to make a U-turn in just 34.2 feet. Brakes are firm, too. It's very quiet inside the cabin at freeway speeds.
The 2015 Lexus CT 200h ($32,050) comes standard with automatic dual-zone climate control with dust and pollen filter, NuLuxe-trimmed seats, leather-trimmed steering wheel, 10-way power driver's seat, four-way power front passenger seat, fold-flat rear seats, SmartAccess key system with pushbutton start, steering wheel audio controls, manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth 3.0 wireless connectivity for streaming audio and hands-free phone, power locks with anti-lockout feature, power windows, power mirrors, cruise control, six-speaker AM/FM/CD system with MP3 and USB/iPod inputs, WMA capability, integrated SiriusXM Satellite Radio receiver with complimentary 90-day subscription, 12-volt power outlet, automatic headlights, first aid kit, heated mirrors, illuminated glove box, power moonroof, and split-five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels.
The CT 200h F Sport model ($35,045) features special suspension tuning (springs and anti-roll bars), perforated black leather upholstery, 17-inch alloy wheels with two-tone graphite and machine finish, mesh grilles, a big rear spoiler with twin air ducts, aluminum pedals, perforated leather-trimmed steering wheel, titanium-gray metallic instrument panel trim, and special badging. F Sport also is offered as an option package with NuLuxe-trimmed seats ($1,180), or with leather ($3,350). Dealers can install more serious handling equipment such as lowered springs and heavy-duty anti-roll bars.
Major option packages are stacked: For instance, you must take the Seat Comfort Package ($475), which combines heated front seats with a four-way power passenger seat, to be able to order the Premium Package ($900 or $925), which includes 10-speaker audio with a six-disc changer and automatic sound leveling (ASL), auto-dimming inside mirror with compass, and HomeLink.
The Display Audio Package ($1,670) includes a rearview camera, compass, 10-speaker premium audio, auto-dimming mirror, and HD radio. With either that box or navigation ticked, you can order the Luxury Package ($2,145 or $2,170) which, in addition to perforated leather seats, adds auto-dimming outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down, memory for the driver's seat and mirrors, and rain-sensing wipers. Buying the Premium Package also entitles you to add HDD Navigation ($3,490) with a 7-inch multimedia display screen, which includes a rearview camera, enhanced Bluetooth, Lexus Enform App Suite with destination assistance, Lexus Insider, remote touch navigation controller, voice-command recognition, and HD radio with iTunes tagging; that package deletes the compass. Order both leather and navigation, and you can add the Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control ($1,500).
The 2015 CT200h offers only a few stand-alone options, including auto-leveling LED headlights with washers ($1,265), and Intuitive Parking Assist ($500). The rearview camera ($550) includes an auto-dimming inside mirror and a compass. Dealers, however, can install a long list of accessories.
Safety features include frontal airbags, side and knee airbags in front, full-length curtain airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, traction control, whiplash injury lessening seats, Safety Connect with automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, emergency assist button and enhanced roadside assistance. Optional safety features include the rearview camera and the Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.