It’s now been 12 months since Lexus launched into the compact premium segment with the CT200h, its smallest model, and BusinessCar has been waiting patiently for the arrival of our long-term test car.

The Japanese manufacturer claims sales have been going so well that we’ve had to bide our time, and a quick look at the figures could explain why the CT200h petrol-electric hybrid is so appealing to corporate drivers. The combination of a 1.8-litre petrol engine and an electric motor that recharges itself when the car is decelerating result in a CO2 emissions figure of just 94g/km, which is good enough to keep the CT in the lowest BIK tax band for as far ahead as the Government has announced, which is currently until April 2017. The engine and battery produce a combined 134hp, which means performance is adequate rather than sensational, although it’s certainly a smart-looking lower medium hatchback.

Our car is the mid-spec SE-L trim level, sitting above SE-I but below the F-sport that’s the equivalent of Audi‘s S-line or BMW‘s M-sport, with bodywork and interior enhancements to make it appear more sporty.

All CT200h models come with Bluetooth, seven airbags, rear privacy glass [1] and aux/USB ports, while the £1900 step up from entry specification to the SE-L adds features including leather seats, rear parking camera [2] and front and rear sensors, heated seats and cruise control.

We’ve delved into the options list for just two items: the full-map navigation system for £1850 and the Arctic Pearl metallic paint for £510.

The hybrid has three driving modes, with normal running sandwiched by Eco and Sport settings on the large central knob [3] in the middle of the dashboard. As it’s an eco car, we’ve started off in Eco, but the optimisation makes the performance fairly lackluster, so it may not be long before we switch to normal running.

When we first got behind the wheel we also felt that the driving experience didn’t match that provided by rivals such as the Audi A3 Sportback or BMW 118d, but to live with we’re expecting the CT200h to be a car with plenty to discover.

Lexus CT200h SE-L
Mileage 2620 miles
Claimed combined consumption 68.9mpg
Our average consumption 45.8mpg
Forecast CPM 50.2p
Actual CPM 53.3p