WITH diesel cars declining in popularity, many people are considering switching to hybrid models and though the choice is limited in the family hatchback sector, there are some stand-out models including the Lexus CT200h.
Lexus has a well-established presence in the hybrid sector and the CT200h is aimed at those who want hybrid performance from a practical family hatchback that also has premium cachet, and the Lexus brand certainly has that.
CT200h prices start at €29,216 (£25,150) and it was this entry-level model that I tested. All versions use the same engine, a 1.8 litre 98 hp petrol unit boosted by an electric motor and mated to a standard CVT auto gearbox. Performance is fairly typical of class standards – 0-100 kph in 10.3 seconds, top speed 180 kph (112 mph). Emissions are low at 101 g/km and average fuel economy is 22.7 kpl (64.2 mpg). And being a full hybrid means the CT200h can run at low speeds on electric power only – a big plus-point.
Out and about, the CT200h is very smooth and the CVT transmission is seamless, though at higher revs the engine note does become more evident. Suspension is firm and helps provide assured cornering and the car has plenty of grip. Ride comfort is good on all but the roughest surfaces.
The cabin is spacious with good head and leg room in the rear. The 378-litre boot is not the largest in the class but will meet normal daily needs and the split-fold rear seats can boost the available space.
The dashboard layout is clear and straightforward, with main information displayed on a screen which is operated by a rotary near the gearshift. Standard equipment includes powered windows, push-button start, dual-zone climate control, digital radio, Bluetooth, sat-nav, rear parking sensors and reversing camera, tyre pressure monitor and a raft of safety features. These include adaptive cruise control, auto high-beam, pre-collision system and lane-keep assist.
Rivals in this sector include the Mercedes A Class and the BMW 1 Series but the Lexus CT200h does have its own distinct appeal, underpinned by the brand’s exclusive image and outstanding reliability record.
Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.
Model: Lexus CT200h
Engine: 1.8 litre petrol with electric motor
Transmission: CVT automatic
Performance: 0-100 kph 10.3 seconds, top speed 180 kph (112 mph)
Economy: 22.7 kpl (64.2 mpg)
Emissions: 101 g/km