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 Mike on Wednesday, February 11, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, great economy"
Cons: "Too low to the ground"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Wonderful car to drive. Contrary to common publicity, the average mileage has been 50.5 mpg. It has this wonderful button that allows the driver to choose one of three modes of operation: Sport (engine w/ battery assist); ECO (battery w/ engine assist); Normal (car manages battery & engine mix). Sport gives more power than I need. Normal is the one I use the most. It feels very much like driving a sports car (I've owned 2 "sports cars" but I like this better). It has a 6 disc changer and speakers everywhere. The AC is more than adequate. Seat warmers work well for cold mornings. The electronic shift is great. Rear view camera as part of the rear view mirror. Outside mirrors can be focused down when backing up so as to see the parking stall lines. Has USB port where I can charge my phone while driving; blue tooth system works very well as there is no problem with me being heard when talking; radio can be switched between AM, FM, CD, bluetooth, USB, satellite (satellite service n/a for Hawaii). I like everything about this car except it's getting more difficult for me to get in / out - I'm getting too old."
4 people out of 9 found this review helpful
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."
12 people out of 20 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."
7 people out of 13 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 16 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."
15 people out of 23 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."
17 people out of 30 found this review helpful