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The Lexus CT 200h is a five-door hatchback powered by a hybrid gas-electric powertrain based on the Toyota Prius. The CT 200h is 6 inches shorter than the Prius, or about the same overall length as the Audi A3 wagon. It was introduced as a 2011 model and received minor styling revisions for 2014.
For 2015, Lexus CT 200h gets few changes. The 2015 CT 200h gets a new Siri Eyes-Free mode, an upgraded Lexus Enform App Suite that adds Slacker, and an updated HomeLink garage door opener. Turn signals adopt the three-flash system, and 2015 models equipped with navigation get additional voice commands.
The CT 200h is a hybrid and works very similarly to a regular gas-powered car. You don’t plug this car in. You simply fill the tank with gas. It’s propelled at times by both the electric motor and its four-cylinder engine, but at very low speeds it can run in electric-only mode for short periods of time. The 2015 CT 200h achieves an EPA-estimated fuel-economy rating of 43/40 mpg City/Highway (42 mpg Combined). We got 38 mpg while not exactly striving to drive green.
The Lexus CT 200h F Sport model has slightly firmer springs than the standard model, but its sports appeal is mainly aesthetic: black leather, racy 17-inch alloy wheels, a mesh rendition of the front grille, big rear spoiler, aluminum pedals, perforated leather steering wheel, titanium-gray metal instrument panel trim, and F Sport badging (including a new rear badge).
Inside, the cabin is cozy with a comfortable driver’s seat. Everything is easy to reach. Rear-seat legroom is tight. Cargo space is about the same as a compact sedan, smallish for a hatch. The view rearward is restricted, so we recommend the optional rearview camera that comes with the navigation system. The next-gen multimedia system includes HD Radio and real-time traffic and weather.
With the Prius powertrain, the CT 200h makes 98 horsepower from the 1.8-liter Atkinson Cycle gas engine and 80 hp 60 (kW) from the motor/generator, for a total of 134 hp. Its 0-60 mph acceleration time of 9.8 seconds is the same lethargic pace as that of the Prius. Because it corners so well, a driver might be lured into treating the car in a sporty manner, but the small engine and continuously variable transmission cannot respond to that urge. The CT has four driving modes: EV, Eco, Normal and Sport. Don’t count on going far in EV, the all-electric mode.
We were surprised and delighted to discover the CT 200h handles so well, and the F Sport goes even better. In any CT 200h, the cornering is spirited and secure. This Lexus has impressive balance, with a low center of gravity and centralized moment of inertia (the spin-out factor). The chassis offers high torsional rigidity, using a double-wishbone rear suspension, and sophisticated performance dampers.
Ride quality is very good. We drove hard over a section of road with a lot of lumpy tar patches, and our Lexus took them in stride. The CT 200h is very maneuverable, able to make a U-turn in just 34.2 feet. Brakes are firm, too. It’s very quiet inside the cabin at freeway speeds.