2014 Lexus CT 200h Luxury Hybrid Hatchback
The 2014 Lexus CT 200h is still the only compact luxury hybrid hatchback–and it’s a lot more fun to drive than you might imagine.
This year, the CT 200h gets new frontal styling that starts with the “spindle” grille shape, and includes redesigned front and rear bumper fascias.
New 16 and 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheel designs have been introduced while at the back the L-shaped reflector housings and black lower centre section give the car a squatter stance on the road.
To the rear, a new bumper design features a more horizontal structure. Distinctive, L-shaped reflector housings are incorporated on the bottom corners. A black lower center section emphasizes the vehicle’s low center of gravity and broad rear stance.
The new CT 200h is available in a choice of six body colors including an all-new Lexus red. A Lexus first, a sporty black roof is available with six color schemes to provide a unique two-tone look. All exterior paint now benefits from a scratch-resistant, self-restoring top coat.
Inside, the CT’s interior is roomy in front and acceptable in the rear. It’s a lower car than a Prius–and almost 6 inches shorter–and the driver sits low with legs more extended than in other compacts, but headroom in generous in that position. The rear seats fold flat, which may be a configuration used often by childless couples who decide this is a nicer alternative than the distinctive, numb driving of a Prius. The one flaw is the high load floor, due to the battery located underneath, with enough height only for grocery bags before impeding the view rearward through the slit-like tailgate window.
Also the multimedia interface has been updated to match that of the IS. On cars without sat-nav, and those with the basic navigation system, menus are controlled using a rotary dial like the BMW i-Drive. However, those with the premium sat nav retain the previous car’s mouse control.
Another complaint with the previous model was the noisy drone from its CVT automatic transmission. That’s why the newcomer’s gearbox has been reprogrammed so that the engine speed increases with the car’s actual speed to make acceleration feel more natural.
Lexus has also improved sound insulation on the new CT 200h to make it quieter to travel in at motorway speeds.
The final update for the new model is an increase in efficiency of the 1.8-litre petrol engine electric motor hybrid powertrain. The result is emissions from just 82g/km of CO2.
The CT is equipped with an advanced eight airbag system and Whiplash Injury Lessening front seats.
Being a Lexus, the CT hybrid is tuned quite differently than the Prius whose powertrain it shares. It’s meant to be more sporty, and the Sport mode not only remaps the electronic responses to acceleration and braking, it also cleverly converts the power gauge into a tachometer with red lighting around its edges.
The 2014 Lexus CT 200h will arrive at dealers in early 2014. Pricing start at $32000
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