by Cheryl Eldridge and wire reports
The Lexus CT 200h had me smiling last week due to its comfort and exclusive exterior styling.
The CT 200h is not your ordinary hatchback. It’s a hatchback that’s pretty sexy and doesn’t just apply to a certain group of people. It’s comfortable, easy to drive and if the driver places five dollars in the tank you will be blown away and surprised, for this baby delivers 43mpg in the city and 40mpg on the highway.
My eminent white exterior with black leather interior CT 200h combines a hybrid powertrain with a compact, four-door hatchback layout that seats five passengers, which was grand for my family of five. There was enough legroom, armroom and trunk space that met everyone’s needs.
This single trim standard equipment tester includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors with built-in turn signals and puddle lamps, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), split-folding rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Siri Eyes Free technology that connects to select smartphones and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and a USB/iPod interface.
Naturally, there are a number of option packages available, but availability can vary depending on the region in which you live. The CT 200h’s Seat Comfort package includes heated front seats and a four-way power front passenger seat. The Premium package adds automatic wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a 10-speaker audio system with a six-CD changer. The Leather package includes auto-dimming outside mirrors, leather upholstery and driver memory settings. I enjoyed them all. The Navigation package features a rearview camera which is a plus when backing up, voice-controlled navigation system, the Remote Touch interface, HD radio and Lexus’ Enform app-based infotainment and Safety Connect emergency telematics systems.
A Display Audio package includes the premium 10-speaker sound system, plus a 7-inch display screen, a rearview camera, an additional USB port and the Remote Touch controller. The optional F Sport package bundles distinctive 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a larger rear spoiler and a host of unique styling tweaks inside and out.
There are also a handful of stand-alone options, including LED (low-beam) headlights, adaptive cruise control with a pre-collision system, front and rear parking sensors and a back-up camera with the display built into the auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Power for the 2015 Lexus CT 200h hybrid comes from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine mated to a pair of electric motor/generators and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Total output is 134 hp, which is routed to the front wheels by way of a specialized continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
According to Edmunds testing, the CT 200h accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a slow 10.4 seconds.
On the safety side, the 2015 Lexus CT 200h includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front- and rear-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and dual front knee airbags. Lexus’ Safety Connect telematics system is also standard and includes functions like automatic collision notification, stolen-vehicle location and emergency assistance. A rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors are available as options.
The optional adaptive cruise control system includes a pre-collision feature that uses radar sensors to detect an imminent impact and responds by tightening the front seatbelts and initializing brake assist. In Edmunds brake testing, the CT’s performance was acceptable, with the car stopping from 60 mph in 120 feet.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the CT 200h its highest rating of “Good” in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. Its head restraint/seat design also earned a “Good” rating for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Inside its emphasis is on being environmentally friendly, therefore the interior of the 2015 Lexus CT 200h doesn’t have quite the same opulent feel of the traditional luxury models Lexus has built its reputation on. In place of the usual soft leather and gleaming wood trim, this hybrid’s passenger cabin incorporates recycled and sustainably sourced materials wherever possible. That said, the cabin still has a premium look that sets it apart from many more mainstream hybrids.
For the most part, gauges and controls are well-placed and intuitive to use. The singular exception to this would be the laptop track pad-like Remote Touch system that’s used to make selections on the large central display (included in the Display Audio and Navigation option packages), which is frequently too sensitive to use on the fly. Ultimately, it’s a clever idea, but ends up being more frustrating than it’s worth.
By the way my tester was $37,865 loaded for a king or queen.
Until next week, drive safe, buckle up, it’s the law and please don’t text and drive.