By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.8
The 2014 Lexus CT 200h is a stylish, sporty 5-door hatchback that may look all-Lexus, but actually shares much of its mechanicals with the Toyota Prius. Lexus, of course, puts its own stamp on the CT 200h giving it aggressive styling, a sportier suspension and a more robust version of the Prius' 1.8-liter gasoline/hybrid electric motor powertrain. The CT's interior also benefits from the Lexus touch, with upscale fabrics, better sound deadening and more features. Of course, these upgrades add weight to the CT 200h, which is why fuel economy figures fall short of what the Prius earns. While not as quiet or refined as other Lexus products, the CT 200h still feels special in the way luxury cars are supposed to make their owners feel.
If you're looking for a luxury car with a big dose of style and efficiency but a very small carbon footprint, the 2014 Lexus CT 200h tops a very short list.
If you're into rapid acceleration and quick bursts of power, the CT 200h isn't going to impress you. You could opt for Cadillac's ELR, which has more horsepower and is a stunning piece of work, but is also double the CT 200h's price.
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The 2014 CT 200h receives Lexus' signature spindle-grille design, as well as new 17-inch wheels, revised rear styling and a solid-black roof panel on the F-Sport trim. A new, thinner fixed navigation and Display Audio screen graces the dash while rain-sensing wipers are added to the Premium package.
Driving Impressions Let's face it: The 2014 Lexus CT 200h is no match for the BMW 1 Series, Cadillac ELR or upcoming Audi A3 sedan, at least not in...... the areas of performance and handling. But in the areas of styling, comfort and reliability, the CT 200h shines, and none of its rivals can match the little Lexus' impressive fuel-economy figures. Get the CT 200h on a twisty back road, and it will surprise you with its agility and quick response, especially with the Sport drive mode engaged. In Sport mode, the steering and throttle response are sharpened, and there is a noticeable difference compared to the softer Normal and super-soft Eco modes intended for everyday driving. Add on the F-Sport package and the CT 200h gets stiffer springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. The F-Sport package creates a sportier ride, but it's one that traditional Lexus owners might find a bit too harsh.
SELECTABLE DRIVING MODES
The CT 200h offers its owner a choice of three driving modes: Normal, Sport and Eco. Each varies throttle response to favor performance (Sport), fuel economy (Eco) or a middle ground (Normal). The Sport mode also quickens the steering response and increases battery output for maximum power.
DISPLAY AUDIO TOUCH SCREEN
The new fixed touch screen in the CT 200h can be divided to multiple information screens. When equipped with navigation, the screen can act as a single screen (maps), a split screen (maps and audio or compass) or three displays on the same screen (maps, audio and weather).
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 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.
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.
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.
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.