Damon Lavrinc of Autoblog also attended the Lexus CT 200h press launch in France, and today he shares his thoughts on the new hatchback hybrid:
…it’s obvious the CT’s suspension tuning has been canted towards the comfortable side of sporty. Not a bad thing when trying to eat up the miles. On the highway, it’s been a decidedly Prius-like affair – completely expected considering it shares both major platform components and its Atkinson-cycle 1.8-liter four-cylinder with the flagship green machine from Toyota.
By the time we hit Paris proper and begin winding our way through mid-morning traffic, the CT 200h begins to come into its own. The slightly stiffer springs, along with its Prius-sourced (albeit modified) MacPherson front suspension, Avenis chassis components and HS 250h double A-arm rear suspension work in concert to dull the combination of marginally neglected pavement and cobblestone streets.
All of the dynamic Lexus hallmarks are present: slightly anesthetized steering, marginally mushy brakes, a bit of body roll and a general lack of enthusiasm for being pushed too hard. But it’s far better than most hybrids.
Overall, it’s a decidedly mild review for the CT 200h, best summed up in Lavrinc’s closing paragraph:
If you’re looking for a Euro-flavored premium hatch with the allure of a hybrid badge and the fuel economy to match (42 mpg city/41 mpg highway), the CT 200h is, frankly, your only option. Its inherit sportiness is questionable, but if you’re moving up from a Prius – which Lexus fully expects some of its buyers to do – then it’s more than capable of elevating your pulse, if just a few BPM.