By Cars.com EditorsJune 13, 2011
About the video
Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2011 Lexus CT 200h. It competes with the Volvo C30 and Audi A3.
(upbeat music) <v Announcer>Cars.com auto review. (upbeat music) Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for cars.com. Lexus has its first small hatchback in the CT 200h. This is a new car. It competes with entry-level premium cars like the Volvo C30 and the Audi A3.
Like both, the CT is pretty small. Unlike either one, it's also a 42 mile per gallon hybrid. We'll take you through the styling and interior and touch on some of our driving impressions. (upbeat music) At about 170 inches long, the CT is clearly the smallest car in Lexus's lineup. Other vehicles like the IS and the HS, pretty small sedans themselves, are both at least 10 inches longer bumper to bumper. And despite the small cabin size, there's actually a fair amount of room in the front seats from a kind of forward backward perspective. I'm about six feet tall, and I have the seat up here, and there's enough room to have a comfortable driving position. The seats are also pretty comfortable and have good lateral support when you're cornering. Unfortunately the cabin's not very wide, and you really get a sense of that because there's a very high center tunnel here, leading back to the center console. It kind of pins your knees in. It's gonna be an issue, especially for larger drivers. The backseat is gonna be tight for just about everyone. Leg room and head room are both pretty limited, and the short doors really make it difficult to get in and out smoothly. (upbeat music) Behind the back seat, there's less than 15 cubic feet of cargo volume, closer to what you get in most sedans than in hatchbacks. The Volvo C30 has about this much room. The A3 from Audi has closer to 20 cubic feet. Fold the rear seats down. You're looking at about 32 cubic feet of maximum volume that roughly splits the difference between maximum volume in the C30, which is pretty small, and the A3, which has a lot more room. (upbeat music) Now, Lexus is Toyota's luxury division. So the CT has the same 1.8 liter four cylinder and electric motors as the Toyota Prius. In place of the four buttons that kind of adjust drive train modes in the Prius, you've got this knob here that essentially does the same thing. It goes from EV mode to ECO, normal, and finally a sport mode. In EV mode, Lexus says the CT 200h can get up to 28 miles per hour without using the engine. Of course, that requires a very light foot on the accelerator pedal and a very patient old lady behind you. But the CT handles pretty well. There's a battery pack here underneath the rear floor, and the extra weight gives the car a degree of balance that's missing and a lot of front wheel drive competitors. You can actually swing the tail out in this thing, which is pretty nice. (upbeat music) Unfortunately, the car does ride kind of firm, and it's also a little bit loud on the highway. Neither attribute bodes well for a vehicle that wears a luxury badge. Don't get me wrong, the CT 200h is more fun to drive than the Prius, and it's a lot nicer on the inside, but I can't help, but wonder if Toyota should have just left its own logo here instead of putting on the Lexus L. (upbeat music) <v Announcer>For more car related news, go to cars.com, or our blog kickingtires.net.