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Lexus CT200h Test Drive Review

Date: 20 August 2014   |   Author:

BusinessCar reviews the new Lexus CT200H

Despite offering a considerable CO2 advantage over automatic diesel rivals from German prestige brands, the driving experience on the hybrid CT200h, Lexus's entry into the volume lower medium sector, left it well adrift of its excellent competitors.

That's why Lexus has revised its smallest model, focusing on a more aggressive styling thanks to that new family nose that apes the larger IS model, interior tweaks to quality and kit, and changes to the engineering designed to improve noise vibration and harshness, and lift driver enjoyment.

It is more refined, and the extra body rigidity is noticeable in the handling, although here it's still not a match for the BMW 1-series, Audi A3 or Mercedes A-class. The CVT automatic gearbox has been remapped too, and while it is also better, a conventional auto still beats it for refinement.

The interior is lifted particularly by the addition of a 4.2-inch information screen in the instrument binnacle, while the likes of a tyre pressure-monitoring system are now standard. CO2 has been cut by 5g/km to
82g/km on the entry S model with 15-inch wheels, while the rest of the range is at 94g/km on 17-inch wheels, or 88g/km if the 16-inch alternative is picked.

As impressive is that prices have been cut for most models, with S spec down £1000, F-sport down £1250, and the SE, Luxury and Premium models down by £1500 on the pre-facelift car.

But it's on costs where the CT really impresses. In auto form, to match the CT, the best rival for CO2 is the
114g/km A-class, which is 20g/km higher than the petrol-electric CT that sits seven BIK bands lower. A 40% tax payer would pay £81 a month on the CT and £143 for the A-class, with the equivalent Audi and BMW slightly higher.

That also translates to whole-life costs, with the Lexus slightly cheaper on P11D and close enough to its rivals for RVs to triumph by 3.7p per mile over the next-best A3 Sportback, which is just ahead of the BMW and Mercedes.