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2011 Lexus CT 200h

$7,556 — $17,224 USED
Hatchback
5 Seats
42 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Handling
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Well-equipped base model
  • Front-seat comfort
  • Navigation system

The Bad

  • Narrow cabin
  • Tight backseat
  • Ride on rough roads
  • Modest acceleration
  • Blind-spot visibility
2011 Lexus CT 200h exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2011 Lexus CT 200h
  • New for 2011
  • Four-door hatchback
  • Hybrid drivetrain
  • Available collision warning system
  • Seats five

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2011 Lexus CT 200h. It competes with the Volvo C30 and Audi A3.

by Kelsey Mays -

Americans love hybrid hatchbacks, but mostly for the hybrid part; overall, we're still lukewarm on traditional hatchbacks. Lexus added a third ingredient — budget luxury — to create the CT 200h. With a starting price just over $29,000, it's the least expensive Lexus in nearly two decades, and it shows.

The 2011 CT 200h feels at times like a cut-rate Lexus, but its combination of fuel efficiency and handling should win the brand some much-needed younger buyers.

The front-wheel-drive CT's styling is the closest yet to Lexus' LF-Gh concept, and it comes in base and Premium trims, which you can compare here. We evaluated a CT 200h Premium.

Thrust vs. Thrift
Thanks to the drivetrain's immediate thrust, the CT 200h has adequate oomph for driving solo: It scoots from a stoplight well enough and maintains highway speeds with little trouble. But it lacks the reserves to pass on a whim, and barreling up to 60 or 70 mph from an on-ramp runs the poor thing out of steam. (And kilowatts, as it were.) Confident acceleration should be a given in any luxury car, even an entry-level one. Were it not for the instant power starting out — a characteristic of most hybrids, thanks to their torque-rich electric motors — I'd deem the CT a dog. As it stands, many luxury shoppers will indeed find the Lexus too poky.

At least the pokiness pays off in gas mileage. The CT has the same 1.8-liter four-cylinder and 60-kilowatt electric motor as the Prius h...

by Kelsey Mays -

Americans love hybrid hatchbacks, but mostly for the hybrid part; overall, we're still lukewarm on traditional hatchbacks. Lexus added a third ingredient — budget luxury — to create the CT 200h. With a starting price just over $29,000, it's the least expensive Lexus in nearly two decades, and it shows.

The 2011 CT 200h feels at times like a cut-rate Lexus, but its combination of fuel efficiency and handling should win the brand some much-needed younger buyers.

The front-wheel-drive CT's styling is the closest yet to Lexus' LF-Gh concept, and it comes in base and Premium trims, which you can compare here. We evaluated a CT 200h Premium.

Thrust vs. Thrift
Thanks to the drivetrain's immediate thrust, the CT 200h has adequate oomph for driving solo: It scoots from a stoplight well enough and maintains highway speeds with little trouble. But it lacks the reserves to pass on a whim, and barreling up to 60 or 70 mph from an on-ramp runs the poor thing out of steam. (And kilowatts, as it were.) Confident acceleration should be a given in any luxury car, even an entry-level one. Were it not for the instant power starting out — a characteristic of most hybrids, thanks to their torque-rich electric motors — I'd deem the CT a dog. As it stands, many luxury shoppers will indeed find the Lexus too poky.

At least the pokiness pays off in gas mileage. The CT has the same 1.8-liter four-cylinder and 60-kilowatt electric motor as the Prius hybrid (from Lexus parent Toyota). Total output for the engine and motor matches the Prius' 134 horsepower, and the CT's EPA-estimated combined mileage is 42 mpg. That's 8 mpg short of the more aerodynamic Prius but well ahead of the diesel-powered Audi A3 TDI (34 mpg), the Volvo C30 (24 mpg) and the BMW 128i (22 mpg). What's more, the CT runs on regular unleaded gas — not the norm for luxury cars. Based on my experience, the EPA figures seem conservative: On a 129-mile highway trip into the wind, I observed 43.5 mpg on the CT's trip computer. With a stiff tailwind on the return leg, another editor reported nearly 60 mpg. Temperatures both legs were in the high 40s.

Like most full hybrids, the CT can cruise on electric power alone at low speeds. An EV button maximizes the distance it can go on just electric — about a mile, if the hybrid battery is full — but requires featherweight acceleration, low overall speed and a near-comatose driver behind you. Other driving modes include Eco, Normal and Sport; our observed mileage came largely in Normal mode. Sport mode hastens drivetrain response and holds engine revs longer. It's enough to give illusions of power around town, but the fun is short-lived. Stand on the gas, and the drivetrain's shallow limits show.

Handling, Braking & Ride Quality
If the CT stumbles in acceleration, it shines in handling. The steering wheel turns with a light touch at low speeds in Eco and Normal mode, but it wanders too much on the highway. Sport mode dials back the assist, improving feedback and highway stability a great deal. It also relaxes the threshold of the CT's standard stability system, which intervenes smoothly when it must. (Alas, there's no way to deactivate the stability system.) Drive the CT hard, and the nose pushes mildly, but the tail follows soon after — a dynamic that belies the car's nose-heavy 60/40 (front/rear) weight distribution. Nicely done, Lexus.

Like its competitors, the CT rides firmly. We detected no flex, and the car stays planted on broken pavement, but the suspension doesn't isolate very well. Major bumps produce loud ka-thunks, and too often the car surrenders to the plane of the road — up, down, up, down. Driving enthusiasts won't mind, but the typical Lexus buyer will find the experience too much like an econocar.

Like all hybrids, the CT employs regenerative brakes that help recharge the battery. Lexus says it tuned the brakes for better refinement than the Prius. Indeed, the CT's pedal feels more linear than the Toyota's, but our test car's pedal had a lot of hydraulic noise in the first inch or so of travel. A Toyota spokesman said the brakes should work noise-free, so that might have been an anomaly with our car. See for yourself on your test drive, and click the link at the bottom of the page to send me an assessment.

The Inside
Cabin materials are inconsistent for a Lexus — too much faux-metal plastic, a cheaper headliner than usual — but the same could be said for most sub-$30,000 luxury cars. For its league, the CT scores a few hits. The stitched upholstery around the instruments and center console evoke a pricier interior, and the optional navigation system's mouse-like knob controller is a cinch to use. The automatic transmission's springy electronic shifter mirrors that of the Prius: left and down into Drive, with a button for Park.

Several editors noted our car's tight headroom — at 37.8 inches, it trails the A3, 1 Series and C30. Hemmed in by a high center console and narrow overall cabin, knee and hip room are also tight. The standard eight-way power driver's seat slides far back, but the tilt/telescoping steering wheel has limited range.

Faux leather is standard; our tester's optional heated leather seats felt as rich as in any Lexus. The seats are well-cushioned yet supportive, but larger drivers may find them too narrow. The backseat, meanwhile, is as inhospitable as an econocar's: shoddier finish, no center armrest or reading lights, tiny doors, cramped legroom. The C30 has another 1.3 inches of backseat legroom, and it doesn't even have rear doors.

Cargo room behind the rear seat measures 14.3 cubic feet. With the 60/40-split seats folded, maximum volume totals 32.3 cubic feet. Those figures split the difference between the cargo-deprived C30 and the roomier A3.

Safety, Features & Pricing
The CT 200h achieved top scores in all four crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, earning the car a Top Safety Pick designation. The CT has not been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Click here for a list of standard safety features, or here to see our evaluation of the CT's child-seat provisions.

Optional features include adaptive cruise control with a collision warning system.

The $29,120 CT 200h comes well-equipped. Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, faux leather upholstery, 17-inch alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, keyless access with push-button start, and a USB/iPod-compatible stereo with steering-wheel audio controls and Bluetooth audio streaming. The CT 200h Premium adds a moonroof and heated seats — too little to justify its $1,780 price hike. Unfortunately, tacking on all other options, from a navigation system to genuine leather and an upgraded audio system, require stepping up to the Premium. Bah.

Load up the CT 200h with factory options, and the sticker tops out around $38,500. Curiously, even at the top end a power passenger seat isn't available.

CT 200h in the Market
Lexus says CT 200h buyers cross-shop the Audi, BMW and Volvo competition — and the budget-luxury field is set to swell. Expect Mercedes and Infiniti to throw their hats in the ring, too.

But are the cars that swell? Most are what you'd expect: A half-step down from the brands' usual fare, but appealing on their own strengths. So it goes with the CT 200h, which combines Lexus touches with a Toyota driving experience. The wild card is styling, where conservative Lexus took a radical leap. It paid off. The car looks sharp, which should draw as many car shoppers as its gas mileage. It may not live up to every tenet of the Lexus badge, but the CT's prospects seem as bright as our test car's nuclear-gold paint job.

Send Kelsey an email  


Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.8
44 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.3)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Will last 500,000 miles

by TheCarGuy from Los Angeles on August 19, 2018

This car is a perfect commuter car. It drives like a Lexus, so it?s comfortable and luxurious. It?s reliable and requires little maintenance other than a regular inspection every 10,000 miles. Read full review

(5.0)

Most Valuable Hybrid in its Class

by mcc from Los Angeles on August 6, 2018

An absolute delight to own and use this for the most aggressive driving habits and this car never even flinched!. Lexus is synonymous with quality but this car really out does all expectations and ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2011 Lexus CT 200h currently has 1 recall


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2011 Lexus CT 200h has not been tested.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Lexus

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2011 CT 200h Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The CT 200h received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker