Our cars: Lexus CT200h - January 2012
Week ending January 27
Driven this week 139 miles
In most respects, I think the CT200h's cabin is a good place to be. Quality is excellent, there are loads of toys to play with and the seats are comfortable and supportive.
For me, there's one key problem, though - I can't get the driver's seat to go as upright as I'd like. I often suffer from back pain when driving and various osteopaths and chiropractors have told me that sitting upright helps.
The CT200h's seat back, however, dosen't tilt as far forward as I'd like. I've experienced the same issue in a number of other cars and, as far as I can recall, all of them have been Japanese.
It's something that bothered me with two of my previous long-term test cars - a Honda Insight and Subaru Legacy - and, most recently, I experienced the same problem with a Toyota Prius.
Lexus CT200h review
Lexus CT200h SE-L Premier
Week ending January 20
Driven this week 648 miles
At the start of the month, I was complaining about the noisy repeating reversing- and parking sensor beeps. Well fellow CT200h owner Martin got in touch to say his dealer set up the car so that the reversing beep chimes only once when 'R' is selected.
I tried to see if I could change this in the car's settings menu, but had no joy, so will be in touch with the local Lexus dealer soon, I think.
Week ending January 13
Driven this week: 197 miles
Regular CT200h keeper Iain Reid needed something spacious for load-lugging duties last weekend, so he borrowed my VW Passat and I had his Lexus.
The CT spent most of its time darting around town, including the obligatory trip to the supermarket, but also briefly ventured onto the motorway.
Hard ride aside, it was decent around town, where it could cruise in electric-only mode for short periods, while our SE-L Premier’s standard parking sensors and reversing camera helped make it easy to park.
On faster roads, unless you’re happy to make sedate progress at best, the CVT gearbox caused the petrol engine to drone away at high revs until the car is up to speed.
There was enough space in the small boot for my modest load of shopping, and the underfloor storage was useful for keeping a pair of walking boots and a foot pump out of sight, but it would struggle with a family’s needs. There wasn’t much rear-seat space, either, and changing some of the settings on the central display could have been simpler.
Still, there were a few things I really liked. The stereo was particularly good – it sounded quite reserved at first, but didn’t distort at higher volumes and revealed details I’d never heard on some CDs.
The CT was also undemanding to drive and the classy, well-made cabin was a nice place to be.
Despite its compromises, then, I can understand why some people will own a CT200h and be perfectly happy with it. If your heart is set on a petrol-electric small family car, though, you’d be better served by the cheaper and more spacious Toyota Prius.
Week ending January 6
Driven this week: 80 miles
Kylie Minogue, when advertising the CT200h, goes on about a quiet revolution. Well, she hasn't tried the car in reverse then. The CT200h emits a loud repetitive warning beep when you put the car into reverse. That's okay on its own, but if you're reversing into a closed space, the parking sensor beeps go off too.
You can switch off the parking sensors, but I don't want to risk damaging the car's bodywork, so I'm putting up with a rather noisy parking experience.