Lexus is well established as Toyota's luxury brand with a range rooted in hybrid technology. So far it has been known for a line-up of large saloons and SUVs, but with the arrival of the CT200h, Lexus has widened its scope to reach a wider clientele. This is the company's fourth full hybrid model, and also its first with both a more compact size and price tag below £40,000.
Under its five-door hatchback skin, the CT 200h is a close cousin of the Prius hybrid, produced by parent company Toyota. This Lexus is the first premium-badged full hybrid of its size from any car company. Like the Prius, the CT 200h has a 1.8 litre, 98 bhp petrol engine which works on the Atkinson cycle, using a modified combustion process optimised for economy. It works in harness with an 81 bhp electric motor mounted at the rear, and there is a battery pack located under the boot floor.
With emissions below 100 g/km, the car is in band A for Vehicle Excise Duty, and so qualifies for a free annual tax disc. It is also congestion charge exempt, and in the lowest category for company car taxation, with 10 per cent BIK. That will endear it to business drivers seeking a premium branded model with budget running costs.
This is a bit of a Marmite car, applauded by some, derided by others. One reason is its slightly awkward body styling, which seems a little mismatched front and rear. Another is its somewhat dull driving dynamics. Its appeal is more strongly orientated towards eco enthusiasts than keen drivers.
Pricing is from £23,845, but better-equipped versions like our range-topper test car quickly climb past £30,000.Performance
The maximum power output of the petrol engine and electric motor combined is 134 bhp, which is adequate for a car that weighs just under a ton and a half. That is a respectable level of output that ensures a reasonable calibre of performance for the CT 200h. Its behaviour on the road is brisk, efficient and civilised. It is not, though, a sporty car as Lexus would wish us to think. The impression behind the wheel is more of a tourer than a sports model. It is appropriate that the CT in the car's name represents Compact Tourer.
This is a 13-year+ news article, from our Lexus archive, which dates back to the year 2000.
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