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2013 Lexus CT

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2013 Lexus CT Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2013

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 the CT
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.

2013 Lexus CT Details
2013 Lexus CT photo Interior

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
2013 Lexus CT photo

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.

Notable Equipment
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 and a moonroof. There is no base cruise-control system, just the expensive dynamic system sold as an option.

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 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.

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

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