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.
Far from being an old man's gray Lexus sedan, the 2014 CT 200h looks like a hot hatch with class. It may be a hybrid with Prius internals, but the image it projects, from its spindle grille and available LED headlights 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 a VW GTI, BMW 1 Series or Mazda Mazda3 5-door.
Notable Standard Equipment
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, rain-sensing wipers and a moonroof. There is no base cruise-control system, just the expensive dynamic system sold as an option.
Notable Optional Equipment
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 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.
Under the Hood
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
As the Lexus brand's most affordable 2014 model, the base CT 200h retails for about $33,000 while the CT 200h Premium sells for just over $34,000. Well-equipped models with options like navigation, leather, premium audio and dynamic cruise control can exceed $40,000. Check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what consumers in your area are paying for the CT 200h. Based on the reliability history of Lexus models and the Prius architecture, the CT 200h should perform well above average when it comes to resale value. Kelley Blue Book estimates that the 2014 CT 200h will retain about half of its value (over $15,000) after three years of ownership. One value alternative is the Mazda Mazda3 5-door, which offers a lot of the same sporty style and sharp handling, plus much better acceleration for $10,000 less, but the Mazda lacks the CT 200h's impressive city fuel-economy figures and premium badge.
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