2011 Lexus CT 200h Review

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Consumer Reviews
2 Reviews
2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor

The 2011 Lexus CT 200h is an iconic, stylish, and actually quite fun-to-drive car, with Lexus levels of refinement;, and it's a strong value—both as a way of entering the Lexus brand and as an exciting new green icon.

Forget the Lexus HS 250h that was introduced last year; it seems that Lexus might actually like you to. The new 2011 Lexus CT 200h is a much better car overall that wears its very purpose on its sleeve: Appeal to Gen X and Gen Y with an sporty, tech-savvy, and eco-conscious entry luxury model, and appeal to Prius owners who want to step up to something hybrid, but something sportier and different.

In profile, the CT is somewhat related to the Prius but doesn't have much in common with the HS and is a completely different car than Toyota's Matrix hatchback. Compared to the Matrix, the CT is lower and more aggressive looking than you might imagine; the closest product to compare it to in size, profile, and styling cues is the MazdaSpeed3. Inside the Lexus has a design that's more upscale in look and feel than any of those other non-luxury hatches. The instrument panel is somewhat low-set, with horizontal creases and a thick center console—truly a hybrid interior design pairing a cockpit feel with an airy design.

The 2011 Lexus CT 200h borrows the basics from the 2011 Prius, combines a 98-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with a 650-volt (battery peak 36-hp) electric motor system, altogether making 134 horsepower, but mates it with slightly different electronic controls that make the powertrain feel a bit sportier. A Sport mode changes the feel of the steering and allows the system's full 650 volts of assist at partial throttle. Overall, while the CT doesn't drive quite like lux hot hatches like the Audi A3 or Volvo C30, it's hands down the sportiest-handling compact hybrid. And it looks like it will deliver the sort of fuel economy that no-compromises Gen X and Gen Y buyers expect—likely well above the 40-mpg mark for many drivers.

Just as in the Prius, the hybrid powertrain combines a 98-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with a 650-volt (battery peak 36-hp) electric motor system, altogether making 134 horsepower, and as you nudge the little Prius-style shift lever over and down to 'D' and get underway, it doesn't feel particularly energetic or pulse-raising. Learn to ignore the little Eco gauge and the not at all sporty protestations of the engine and put your right foot into it a little more, and it's more promising.

Below the sound system there's a dial. Twist it to the left and you enter Eco mode, which has muted throttle responses and limits drive voltage (except under full throttle) to 500 volts. Press the controller to return to Normal, or if you're the target customer for the CT you'll probably like Sport mode, which reduces power-steering assist, provides a more aggressive tip in and throttle calibration, and brings a peak electric-motor boost of 650 volts even at partial throttle. If you're going to Sport, from Eco or Norm, the projected face of the analog Eco gauge at the left of the gauge cluster changes and it becomes a tachometer; and just to remind you, the color projected down onto the gauge cluster changes from blue to red.

The CT is about four inches shorter in wheelbase than the Prius and about five and nearly six inches shorter overall, but somehow Lexus has delivered a surprisingly roomy interior, thanks to a very well thought out seating position. In the CT 200h, you sit low, which not only brings a feeling of more space but a sportier driving feel. Just as in other hatches, you can fold the back seats flat for more cargo space.

Feature-wise, Lexus has also positioned this one well for the younger set, offering commonly desired tech features like Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming, full iPod control, XM Satellite Radio, keyless ignition, and Lexus Safety Connect all standard. Options include LED headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, or the Lexus Enform information and nav system; and a line of F-Sport performance and appearance accessories will be on offer at dealerships.

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April 21, 2015
For 2011 Lexus CT 200h

Exceeds high expectations on reliability, MPG and features

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I sold my Mini Cooper and bought this. The Mini was brand new when bought, the Lexus second hand. Even though the Mini was the diesel version and much smaller, the CT 200h has better MPG! I'm mostly doing... + More »
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April 10, 2015
For 2011 Lexus CT 200h

A fabulous auto with super mileage. Almost no maintenance.

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I needed to trade in my older Lexus LS 400 for a luxury car that got great mileage and almost no maintenance. The 2011 CT 200h was an easy choice. Since I drive 40 miles to my office each way every day I'm... + More »
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May 11, 2016
2016 Lexus CT 200h 5-Door Sedan Hybrid

great car but uncomfortable

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I bought this car in Feb 2016, brand new with 3 miles on it. I test drove a different car and fell in love with it. I also test drove 6 other cars that day and had it narrowed down between the Chevy Volt and... + More »
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May 24, 2015
2015 Lexus CT 200h 5-Door Sedan Hybrid

Drive it in Sport and it's a lot of fun....

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With crisp handling and a low center of gravity. This car is firm but if you want extra firm and slightly closer to the ground try the F Sport version. It looks the best with a black roof and an extended rear... + More »
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April 28, 2015
For 2015 Lexus CT 200h

The cost to operate this car is very low.

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This car is very economical to operate. It does not accelerate very well and does not take hills very well, but that's more than made up for by its economy. It looks expensive and seems high tech.
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July 27, 2015
2013 Lexus CT 200h 5-Door Sedan Hybrid

Big surprise, small package

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First of all. not since my Mini Cooper have we owned so small a car-and this is no Mini! But it comes close in the fun to drive department. My wife has been driving Lexus RX SUVs for years. Wen we ere ready... + More »
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April 17, 2015
For 2013 Lexus CT 200h

Fun to drive...

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And it laughs at gas stations. It can take a maximum of ten gallons so your fillup is in the twenties at todays prices. Get the nav system which adds a lot of capabilities if you have an Apple or Android... + More »
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April 17, 2015
For 2013 Lexus CT 200h

A Commuters Dream

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I drive the 405 freeway 2 hours every day. Anyone one else out there with me knows it can be grueling. But not in a CT200h. Super gas mileage is a given, but the comfort and styling make it that much better. A... + More »
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April 15, 2015
For 2013 Lexus CT 200h

Resist no more

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I went form a V-6 Audi to a hybrid Lexus CT. Admittedly, I had separation anxiety, but after about a month, I noticed that I was willing to drive more and wanting to take road trips! The fuel economy is... + More »
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April 21, 2015
For 2012 Lexus CT 200h

A car that fits my needs really well.

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I commute to L.A. from the High Desert a couple of times a week and put 25,000 miles a year on my car, so great gas mileage is a high priority. I had a 2010 Prius, which I was satisfied with, but I wanted a... + More »
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