2014 Lexus CT 200h

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$32,050

starting MSRP

2014 Lexus CT 200h
2014 Lexus CT 200h

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Handling
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Front-seat comfort

The bad:

  • Narrow cabin
  • Tight backseat
  • Ride on rough roads
  • Modest acceleration
  • Blind spot visibility

1 trim

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2014 Lexus CT 200h trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • New exterior styling, revised interior
  • Four-door hatchback
  • Hybrid drivetrain
  • Available collision warning system
  • Seats five

2014 Lexus CT 200h review: Our expert's take

By David Thomas

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

Editor’s note: This review was written in April 2013 about the 2013 Lexus CT200h. Little of substance has changed with this year’s model. To see what’s new for 2014, click here, or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

Minor changes may not make the 2013 CT 200h feel like an “all-new” model, but it remains one of the most charming hybrids on the market.

A luxury hybrid isn’t an easy sell. A luxury hybrid with sporty intensions is an even harder one. Yet ever since Lexus’ compact CT 200h hatchback debuted a few years ago, it has impressed by exuding cool and still delivering results at the pump.

The 2013 edition gets a few minor changes, most notably a new schnoz that takes on the spindle design of the new GS, ES and even the RX SUV. There’s also a new F Sport version, which I tested for this review.

You can compare the 2012 and 2013 models here.

Green Performance
The CT 200h looks a lot faster than it is; I wouldn’t call acceleration the car’s strong suit. Other editors pointed to sluggish off-the-line speed, an uncivilized continuously variable automatic transmission and unresponsive throttle.

Hit a road with even the slightest curvature, though, and you realize why the CT 200h is so appealing. The little hatch flings around curves with a light-footed nimbleness reserved for small roadsters, not front-wheel-drive hatchbacks. In fact, its turning radius is even smaller than the standard Mini Cooper hardtop.

Three drive modes — Eco, Normal and Sport — allow for some adjustments. Indeed, when set in Sport, the steering tightens and the CVT revs slightly stronger. Eco dampens the accelerator more than any other setting, making the CT slow for the sake of better mileage.

And what of mileage? Rated 43/40/42 mpg city/highway/combined, the CT falls in the middle of modern hybrids, but it holds a unique space in the luxury market. There are no 50 mpg hybrids like the Toyota Prius from luxury brands. Acura’s new ILX Hybrid sedan has EPA numbers of 39/38/38 mpg. A gas-powered automatic Mini Cooper, in comparison, rates 28/36/31 mpg.

Driving aggressively around town with the kids over a weekend, and on a few 45-mile round-trip commutes, the trip computer read an impressive 39 mpg almost the entire time, dipping below that figure mostly in suburbia. The weather was in the low 30s most of the time, which can lower mileage in any vehicle type but especially hybrids.

Interior
The outside may have gotten a few upgrades, but inside remains the same as the last CT I tested a few years ago. It’s a nice interior, but it doesn’t scream “luxury,” and it just feels small.

Our test car’s all-black interior made an already tight cabin feel even more confining, but I had plenty of headroom and legroom when driving alone. After I put my kids in the backseat, however, I had to move my seat up farther than I was comfortable with to give them room.

I’m average height, at 5-foot-10, and I found the front to be a bit small. Taller editors complained loudly, one saying he felt like he was in a cave.

The materials are decent for an entry-level luxury car, but at $32,945 to start, the CT 200h isn’t exactly cheap (all prices cited include destination charges). The roomier ILX Hybrid starts at $29,795 but packs less driving fun. For another $1,000, the F Sport trim on the Lexus added a claustrophobia-inducing black headliner to the black interior, as well as a unique steering wheel. Yet the car comes with faux-leather seat covering called NuLuxe. Leather costs an additional $1,330.

Lexus’ optional navigation and multimedia system in my test car is a generation behind versions I’ve tested in the new GS and ES. The control mimics a computer mouse, but requires commands to be entered via a button on the side, where your thumb rests. Newer versions let you click on the controller itself. The 7-inch display screen is also considerably smaller than the 12.3-inch screens the larger sedans pack.

Despite its ease of use, I’m not sure the option is worth its $2,735 price. An upgraded stereo isn’t part of the package; it comes in an $890 Premium Package, which buyers are unlikely to escape on the cars already on dealer lots.

Cargo
I was a bit surprised by how much room the hatch provided. I was expecting something close to the Mini Cooper’s 5.7 cubic feet, but it’s rated at 14.3 cubic feet. The CT 200h fit a day of shopping trips with my kids — meaning the bags had to fit without the rear seats folding down.

The added utility of the hatch and folding rear seats definitely sets the CT apart from the ILX: The hybrid sedan has only 10 cubic feet of trunk space.

Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety deemed the CT 200h a Top Safety Pick, representing Good ratings in side, rear and medium-overlap frontal crash tests as well as roof strength. A more strenuous small-overlap front test has yet to be performed on the CT 200h.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash-tested the CT 200h.

CT 200h in the Market
Is there even a market for a sporty, luxury, hatchback hybrid? Judging by CT 200h sales to date, there’s a small one; it has clearly been a success as a niche car.

It’s easy to see why people like it. It delivers inspired handling and 40 mpg, with a small amount of utility thrown in.

The price may keep some shoppers away, though — there are plenty of thrills for less money at dealerships, even if they do cost more at the pump.

Send David an email  

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.4
  • Interior design 4.5
  • Performance 4.4
  • Value for the money 4.4
  • Exterior styling 4.6
  • Reliability 4.6

Most recent consumer reviews

4.6

The car that bear fits my needs.

I wanted a used small car that was reasonable priced with under 70,000 miles. I found this small hatch back hybrid in excellent condition. The interior is very sport and I love the hatchback to get packages in and out of the car easily. It will be very economical for commuting to work.

5.0

Sporty cost efficient luxury

Needed a vehicle for high mileage driving that was comfortable and affordable. This Lexus met all needs! Fun to drive and 48 mpg’s. Reliable and rides great. My first luxury car and now I’m spoiled!!

4.4

Very fuel efficient vehicle

This ct200h was a replacement vehicle for my wife?s 2008 VW beetle. She wanted a small car that I would also enjoy to drive. This car fits the bill. While this car is not particularly fast off the line it is fine once up to highway speed. The car hugs the road and the front seats are comfortable. The rear seats are good for children and smaller adults. We have been getting 50+ mpg in city driving and 45 in highway driving. Overall a good purchase so far.

See all 25 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
72 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
72 months/70,000 miles
Hybrid electric
96 months/100,000 miles
Maintenance
12 months/10,000 miles
Roadside assistance
48 months/unlimited distance

Compare the competitors

2014

Toyota Camry Hybrid

$26,140

starting MSRP

2014

Acura ILX Hybrid

$28,900

starting MSRP

2013

Toyota Prius Plug-in

$32,000

starting MSRP

See all 2014 Lexus CT 200h articles