Motor Trend Drives the Lexus CT 200h

Lexus CT 200h in Los Angeles

Motor Trend snuck into the Lexus CT 200h event in Los Angeles yesterday, and today have published their first thoughts on Lexus’ new hybrid hatchback:

The best way to think of the CT 200h is as a better-looking Prius Sport, if such a model existed. It shares the Prius’ hybrid drivetrain, with its 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor, but it now has a “Sport” mode that ups the power to the electric motor for an extra boost of speed when you drop the pedal. It won’t give the IS F a run for its money, but it feels noticeably quicker than driving in “Normal” mode, which essentially mimics a Prius.

What we could test was the CT 200h’s ride quality, which was quite good. On the rough pavement that is L.A. city streets, the car rode well and soaked up even large bumps nicely. It’s a tad firmer than you’d expect from a Lexus, given its sporty disposition, but nothing that would scare the average Lexus shopper out of the car.

Around town, the CT 200h feels quick enough for L.A. traffic. Although we didn’t want to risk small-arms fire from other motorists, we found we could get pretty close to the claimed 28 mph limit on battery power alone before the engine kicked on. When it is on, the engine emits a low growl that at least sounds sportier than a Prius.

Motor Trend wasn’t without complaint — they found the steering “light and lifeless”, even in Sports mode, and weren’t all that impressed with the interior design, which they thought was “simple and utilitarian and mostly absent of stylistic touches”.

While I don’t agree with all their points, especially when it comes to the interior, I’m enthused by their generally positive reaction. More importantly, it’s great to finally be seeing some feedback on how the CT really drives, and honestly, I’m surprised that only Motor Trend crashed these CT 200h events — I expected a bunch of publications to do the same exact thing.

[Source: Motor Trend]


  1. hehe... no press has actually driven the near-production car yet.
  2. WorldofLuxury wrote:hehe… no press has actually driven the near-production car yet.
    As in many tested the car during the events.
  3. JVX

    Talking about Motor Trend crashing the event, I've heard that one of the CT200h used for the event got rear-ended on the road.
  4. I'm gonna "meet" the ct200h in Milan (Italy) next week. Anyone knows which car will be on show?
  5. Haha, if the CT200h had a BMW badge, Motor Trend would likely be praising the interior for being "simple and utilitarian".
  6. I love Robertson Boulevard! "It’s a tad firmer than you’d expect from a Lexus, given its sporty disposition, but nothing that would scare the average Lexus shopper out of the car." It's either TOO LEXUS when it's cushy. Or NOT LEXUS ENOUGH when its suspension is firm. Can't ever win. Go figure.
  7. JVX

    Got a chance to drive the CT200h today in Venice. The driving distant to too short to really get a good feel. I could only get it up to around 30mph since there's always a stop sign at every corner. There interior design is actually very nice and this is only a pre-production car. If you like the interior design of an IS, you'll love the interior design of the CT. I own an IS, and I have to say that the CT is just as stylish, if not better. But just like the IS, the CT driver cabin area is a little tight for taller and heavier-built individuals. In the back seat, there's no center divider as found on the IS, making it roomier. The entire back seat can be folded down, giving lots of utility room. To me, the CT200h is like a luxury version of the Prius and Matrix combined. I really like how the front look like in person. It looks bold and aggressive. The acute angular headlamps make the car looks serious and hungry. The side view and back view look normal to me. This car looks proportional and wider, unlike the HS250. This car will definitely look better once lowered with lower profile tire and bigger rims. For people who have to use 91 premium octane, it will be a relief to know that the CT will use 87 octane. Depending on your driving style, you can get up to 50mpg like the Prius, as I was told. Overall, I like this car very much. Wish they would let me take it on the freeway.
  8. @JVX: Thanks for your input. In the end, I decided the test drive wouldn't be worth it when my friends ran into conflicting schedules. :-P Now if they let me keep it for a week, then it's a totally different story!!!
  9. kog

    @JVX: The black one did, they had it back out for the Venice event today.
  10. JVX

    @kog: I saw the black one there. It looks totally new. Didn't even know it was the one that got rear-ended. @WorldofLuxury: You didn't miss out much in terms of driving, but it would have been nice to see it person.
  11. Japan prices ... F-SPORT INCLUDED ;)
  13. Yummy golden yellow:
  14. CT200h vs CT200h