By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.9
The 2013 Lexus CT 200h is a tidy, upscale sports hatchback that shares key underpinnings and systems with the Toyota Prius, including the 1.8-liter engine and hybrid electric drive architecture. It makes an intriguing bundle: modest acceleration, yes, but willing road manners, sophisticated styling, a luxurious interior and a prestigious badge, together with great fuel efficiency. The compromise does have its costs. Extra weight means the CT's mileage ratings fall well short of the Prius', and road noise and ride quality are not up to the standards of other Lexus models. But it's still a unique and satisfying blend of qualities that sets the CT 200h apart from Audi's A3 and BMW's 1 Series.
If you want a well-equipped small hatchback with sporty handling and the best fuel economy wearing a Lexus badge, the 5-door 2013 CT 200h is the one.
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.
The 2013 CT 200h is little changed. Silver Lining Metallic and Ultra White paint colors are added, the navigation system has some updates, and Park Assist and a Seat Comfort package (heated front seats and power adjustment added for the front passenger) are now available as stand-alone options.
Driving Impressions Let's be honest: compared to the similarly sized and priced Audi A3, the Lexus CT 200h feels down on power. But it looks fast. And indeed, it can be fun...to toss around over a winding back road, especially with the Sport drive mode engaged. This setting sharpens steering and throttle response compared to the softer Normal setting and the extra-lazy Eco mode. Suspension feels nicely calibrated for a sporty hatch. If some people think road isolation is not what it should be in a car wearing the Lexus badge, they will really be startled by the optional F Sport Package, which fits the CT 200h with stiffer springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. Predictably, the hatchback blends internal combustion and electric propulsion as seamlessly as a Prius does. And the pictogram that shows how the gasoline and electric systems are collaborating is an immense source of driver entertainment.
SELECTABLE DRIVING MODES
Lexus CT 200h drivers can choose between the Normal mode, an Eco mode that slows throttle response to save gasoline, the EV setting that allows electric-only propulsion for short distances, and a Sport setting that maximizes engine revs, quickens steering and throttle response 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 with his or her arm resting comfortably on the center console.
Though snug, the CT 200h cabin does not scrimp on materials or features. 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 multifunction display and sensuously curved, billet-like console shifter. Beyond the sporty, the CT 200h gains green cred with standard simulated leather that's 60 percent lighter than real hides, speaker frames made from bamboo, and floor mats and other interior trim made from 30-percent plant-based materials.Exterior
Far from being an old man's gray Lexus sedan, the 2013 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. The 17-inch tires and wheels look a little small 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 rearview camera, voice-command HDD tilt-screen nav system with remote controller, Lexus Enform emergency notification system, NavTraffic and other features. A well kitted-out CT 200h will also have the Leather Package, which besides real leather upholstery also includes rain-sensing 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 an even sportier suspension, high-gloss wheels, a mesh grille and larger rear spoiler, and further interior leather trim and metallic accents.
By employing the Prius' renowned 98-hp 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine and 80-hp electric drive motor, the Lexus CT 200h runs way ahead of the pack on fuel economy – 43 mpg in the EPA city cycle is eye-opening. 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 (gasoline 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 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."
4 people out of 9 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."
13 people out of 19 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."
14 people out of 25 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."
6 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Sunny1 on Friday, May 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Style, mileage, cargo room"
Cons: "Head room in the back"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought the car after selling my Cadillac STS. Needed room for the dog and better MPG for the commute (Caddy got 24 on a good day). The cargo area is much bigger than it looks, fits my adult german shepherd. I average 42MPG. Resale value is continuously more than I owe on it. Backseat is not designed for big people, but perfect for kids."
21 people out of 30 found this review helpful
By K Jones on Tuesday, April 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, saves me money, & dependable."
Cons: "This vehicle is small if you have a family."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This has been my best car owned to date. I have been unable to find good rationale to get out of it yet because of a combination of the options and gas value. She is also fun to drive and the sound in the vehicle is good."
12 people out of 19 found this review helpful