Our cars: Lexus CT200h - March 2012

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Lexus CT200h
Lexus CT200h
Lexus CT200h SE-L Premier

Week ending March 30
Current mileage 7817
Driven this week: 909 miles

Lexus CT200h review

It's been a case of 'spot the difference' this week. The car on the right of the picture is our long-term CT200h SE-L Premier; the (very) eagle-eyed will spot that the one on the left is an F-Sport model, which we have been testing this week.

Look closely and you'll spot the F-Sport's dark-finish alloy wheels, mesh grille and larger sideskirts. There's a larger rear spoiler, too, and inside there's an F-Sport steering wheel, aluminium pedals and scuff plates and black leather trim.

The F-Sport also has different suspension settings aimed at making it a bit, well, sportier, but everyone that drove both cars found it very hard to tell the difference.

Our CT200h has front and rear lateral dampers fitted (a £450 option) and these are standard for F-Sport cars. That partly explains it, but you'd still expect a greater difference between the two. Unfortunately, both cars have an unforgiving low-speed ride, yet aren't especially fun on the twisty stuff.


Week ending March 23
Current mileage 6908
Driven this week: 457 miles

The CT200h's boot isn't ideal for dogs. Just ask Edward, my girlfriend's seven-month-old Labrador.
I've previously mentioned that the shallow boot won't hold much luggage; well, it isn't good at holding much dog, either.

Edward is pretty quiet in most other cars' boots, but he whines when in the back of the CT. There's not enough room for him to sit upright, and certainly no space for stretching.

There is one handy by-product of the high floor, through: I don't have to bend down when sliding things in and out of the boot. A bigger load space would be far more useful, however - just ask Edward.


Week ending March 16
Current mileage 6451
Driven this week: 545 miles

Like most other What Car? staffers, I like the driver’s seat in the CT200h.

It’s comfortable, has just the right amount of support, and is neither too hard nor too soft. Electric adjustment and lumbar support also allow you to make minute adjustments to easily find the ideal seating position.

I have the seat set quite high, though, because the steering wheel doesn’t go low enough. The padded armrests on the door and centre console are also set too far back for my elbows, but they’re not enough to stop me being settled behind the wheel.


Lexus CT200h SE-L Premier

Week ending March 9
Current mileage 5906
Driven this week: 982 miles

My mountain bike fitted into the CT200h at the weekend – just.

Dropping the rear seatbacks creates a reasonably level load area, but because the hybrid system’s batteries sit beneath the boot floor, it’s not a very tall space.

That meant I had to remove the bike's wheels and saddle to make it fit, which was a pain – especially when I was muddy and tired after the ride.

Next time, I'll use my bike rack.


Week ending March 2
Current mileage 4924
Driven this week 709 miles

I’ve inherited the Lexus CT200h from former keeper Iain Reid (he’s awaiting a Mazda CX-5).

My early impressions aren’t particularly positive. The biggest issue is what the CT200h is supposed to be. It’s not comfortable enough to be a good town car; the numb steering means it’s no fun on twisty roads; and the CVT gearbox makes the engine drone on the motorway at anything other than a gentle cruise.

At least there are plenty of toys to play with and the stereo sounds ace.

From a high-mileage driver’s point of view, the fuel tank range is a worry, though. Of course, I don’t expect to get anywhere near the official claimed figure of around 700 miles, but I’m not getting even half that.

After 258 miles, during which I had the Lexus in its most economical ECO setting as much as I could, the trip computer said the remaining cruising range was 46 miles. That would have given fewer than 310 miles to a tank.

If I can alter my driving style sufficiently, that figure should improve. For the sake of my finances, I hope so!


Our cars: Lexus CT200h - February 2012


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