By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
Though you wouldn't know it by looking at its tidy sport-hatchback design, the 2012 Lexus CT 200h shares key underpinnings with the Toyota Prius, including its 1.8-liter engine and hybrid electric drive architecture. Handling is on the sporty side and steering is responsive. The CT 200h is the least-expensive Lexus, yet offers a nicely trimmed, feature-filled cabin. But rear seat room and cargo space are cramped and rearward visibility is poor. Road noise is intrusive for a Lexus, and the ride is choppy at times. EPA fuel economy estimates are excellent for a luxury car, but fall 8 mpg below the Prius.
The 5-door 2012 CT 200h may appeal to you if you want a well-equipped small hatchback car with sporty handling and the best fuel economy wearing a Lexus badge.
The CT 200h may not speak to you if you expect a luxury brand entry, even one that saves the planet, to be quiet, smooth-riding, powerful and roomy.
All-new for the 2011 model year, the 2012 CT 200h is little changed. Nebula Gray Pearl paint replaces Smoky Granite Mica this year. Also, new is a Vehicle Proximity Notification System that beeps when the little Lexus hybrid is in electric mode to alert cyclists and pedestrians.
Driving Impressions There is no getting around it, compared to the similarly sized and priced Audi A3, the Lexus CT 200h feels down on power. It just LOOKS faster than it drives....Freeway onramps just seem longer. The hybrid hatchback's blending of internal combustion and electric propulsion is as seamless as it is in a Prius. In fact, the pictogram that shows how the gas and electric systems are collaborating is an immense source of driver entertainment. Which is not to say the CT 200h isn't fun to drive on a back stretch of the twisties, it's just more fun doing so in Sport mode.
SELECTABLE DRIVING MODES
Lexus CT 200h drivers can choose between the Normal mode, which provides all-electric propulsion up to one mile at up to 28 mph, an Eco mode that slows throttle response to save gas, and a Sport that maxes engine revs, quickens steering and increases battery power.
NAVIGATION WITH REMOTE TOUCH CONTROLLER
This mouse-like device with haptic feedback just forward of the shifter gives the driver full control over the infotainment system without ever lifting a hand from the console.
Though snug, Lexus didn't scrimp on materials in the CT 200h cabin. The form-fitting front bucket seats are generously bolstered for lateral support. Attractive and brightly lit gauges are complemented by a prominent 8-inch LCD multi-display screen and sensuously curved, billet-like console shifter. Beyond the sporty, the CT 200h gains green cred with standard simulated leather that's 60% lighter than real hides, speaker frames made from bamboo, and floormats and other interior trim constructed from 30% plant-based materials. Missing, however, are paddle shifters for manual control of the continuously-variable automatic transmission.Exterior
Far from being an old man's gray Lexus sedan, the 2012 CT 200h looks like a hot hatch with class. It may be a hybrid with Prius internals, but the image it projects, from its jutting, low-slung nose and arrowhead LED running lamps to its muscular wheel arches, steeply raked roofline and deep rear spoiler, is one of sporty sophistication. Slightly smallish in the wheel openings are the 17-inch tires, but larger ones might hurt the car's excellent fuel economy. The CT 200h doesn't look out of place next to an Audi A3, BMW 1 Series or Mazda Mazda3 5-door.
Among other Lexus luxury touches, the base model comes with keyless entry, dual-zone A/C, a 10-way power driver's seat, a 6-speaker audio system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, Bluetooth interface and SiriusXM satellite radio. Opting for the Premium model adds heated front seats and a moonroof. There is no base cruise control system, just the expensive dynamic system sold as an option.
The comprehensive CT 200h Navigation Package adds a backup camera, voice-command HDD tilt-screen nav system with remote controller, Lexus Enform emergency notification system, NavTraffic and other features. The better kitted-out CT 200hs will also have the Leather Package, which besides real leather also includes rain-sense wipers, electrochromic mirrors and memory driver's seat. The optional dynamic cruise control is combined with a Pre-Collision System that warns of an impending crash. Also available is an F-Sport Package that adds sportier-still suspension, high-gloss wheels, a mesh grille and larger rear spoiler, and further interior leather trim and metallic accents. A power passenger seat, however, is not available.
By channeling the Prius's renowned 98-hp 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine and 80-hp electric drive motor, the Lexus CT 200h is way ahead of the competition in the fuel economy department – 43 mpg in the EPA city cycle is nothing to sneeze at. But the 10-second 0-60 mph acceleration performance that feels so socially responsible in a Prius is a bit of a letdown in a sporty luxury-brand car that looks like it should run with Audis and BMWs.
1.8-liter inline-4/AC 650-volt permanent-magnet motor
98 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm (gas engine)/80 horsepower (electric motor)/134 horsepower (combined)
105 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 43/40 mpg
By Lexuslady on Friday, January 23, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun drive, great stereo, great mileage, good looks"
Cons: "slightly small leg room in back seats."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Had this car for four years now. This is our forth Lexus and like all the others is a great driving car with absolutely no mechanical issues. Quite cruising, quick enough, very fuel efficient (43 mpg average), handles well and the seats are great, Like all Lexus cars the stereo is great. Only issue and a small one at that, is the leg room in the back seats. If your only two people great car, if your three or more regularly you might want a slightly bigger car. We are currently looking for a 2014 or 2015 model to replace this 2011 model. That is how happy we are with this vehicle."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By LastofTheV8Interceptors on Monday, December 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Well-designed, gas milage, fun2drive, good tech"
Cons: "Little storage, delicate, hard suspension"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Having driven coupes all my life I was struggling to find a car with four doors that was sporty, sensible and wasn't going to make the street parking I have to do (I live in the city) any more difficult than it already was. I would have never bought a Lexus or a hybrid for any other reason, and I was completely surprised that this car (existed) is as awesome as it is. It's a Luxury, Hybrid, Compact Sportscar. Now while it's a combo of all these things it does not of them exceptionally well. But the fact that you have a level of all three of these working in tandem is what makes the car rad (in my opinion). For those of you in the world that like the tight, sporty drive of a Japanese import (like me) then you'll be surprised by how Not A Prius this is, even though it's the same manufacturer. If on the other hand you're the kind of person that likes words like "spacious and roomy" in your vehicle descriptions that this is def not for you. The car is well designed (outside of a couple of super minor head-scratchers), looks great, drives great and is generally pretty awesome. The only downside is that it's kind of a delicate beast, and the suspension is as hard as a rock...which it has to be. Also like most entry level cars as the years go by they start to cut corners so depends on what year you buy. I have a 2012 FSport model which I got for a solid price used. I don't recommend the Fsport however - as much looks great, it can't clear an apple standing up on the ground, which is ridiculous. If I had to do it again I would get the premium trim instead. If you're looking for something sporty but practical then you should defiantly take one of these for a test drive."
6 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By SpursFan on Saturday, November 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I like the car for the most part with the exception of the miles to the gallon. It says it's supposed to get 42 and I don't get close to that. I have to fill up at least twice a week and at a supposed 42 miles to the gallon that shouldn't be the case."
7 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By JB on Wednesday, October 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great mileage"
Cons: "stiff ride and tight trunk and rear passenger leg"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I recently acquired a CPO 2013 CT200h this past spring and have logged nearly 10k miles in commuting traffic. The ride is a bit stiff compared to the typical Lexus lineup; however handling is quite good in corners and mountain hills because of its low center of gravity. Being a RX400h and LS600h owner I can tell you that if speed is your primary goal then this isn't the vehicle for you - but if you want great fuel economy, a dependable vehicle with agile handling then this is the right choice. Hauling capacity is limited but in those instances i'll use the RX and if comfort and speed is a desired then ill take out the LS for a spin - all in all the CT a great vehicle for day to day driving w/ mileage consistently over 40mpg. Be smart and buy certified preowned and save on the depreciation $$ but don't expect a bargain as you pay for what you get - quality and dependability - can't be more pleased with our Lexus hybrid family."
14 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By spycy on Sunday, September 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great gas mileage, decent cargo space"
Cons: "Visors are useless, no guidelines in b/u cam"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I am 2 years into a lease of this vehicle and truly love it. I average about 38 mpg in the city and 44 - 46 mpg on the open highway. I primarily drive the car in Sport Mode because the pickup is so much better. I have the Premium model and really love the leather seats, lighted doorsills and navigation system. Even though it's a smallish compact, you don't feel like you're in a shoebox when driving. The front seats are comfy and well-molded and the driver's side has several mechanisms for changing seat height, back recline and legroom, in addition to varying levels of lumbar support. When the back seats are folded down, you can get quite a bit in there. My husband is a musician and we've had amps and other gear, in addition to lumber and bookshelves in the back of this car! In addition, I like the side mirrors which tip downward when in reverse and auto-dimming rearview. My complaints are few, but here they are: 1) The sun visors are nearly useless. They are neither deep enough nor long enough to serve any real purpose in sunny day driving. 2) The backup camera does not have the "guide lines" that other backup cameras feature (including on other, less-luxurious, Toyota vehicles). Would definitely be helpful in tight spots. 3) The cell-phone holder is in a very strange location and interferes with the ability to properly reach the seat heating controls. In addition, when there is no cellphone mounted in it, it rattles. 4) The back seats are somewhat difficult for anyone 6' or taller -- there is just not enough legroom. Even shorter folks may have legroom issues if the driver or front-seat passenger are tall and have the seat pushed back. 5) The dash plastic seems a little "cheap" for a Lexus. Doesn't have the wood burl or topline luxury of other Lexus models. 6) It would be nice if the hatch could be lifted/closed by button on the key fob, rather than manually. When you're hands are full, you always have to set stuff down to manipulate the hatch. 7) The navigation screen doesn't display all of the characters from Satellite Radio items, for some reason. It cuts off the names of the bands and songs after only about 15 characters or something. Overall, despite the tiny issues above, I still think this is a great hybrid vehicle and would definitely recommend it."
16 people out of 29 found this review helpful
By twomileshigh on Thursday, September 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fuel Economy, Styling and Fit and Finish"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car is nimble, gets great fuel economy and looks GREAT. I would recommend this vehicle to anyone who is interested in Hybrid technology."
7 people out of 14 found this review helpful