What’s New for 2014?
2014 Lexus CT 200h comes with a handful of updates that include refreshed front-end styling, new LED headlights and new wheels and a black-painted roof for the F Sport package. Inside, CT 200h gets a reshaped steering wheel, the latest version of Lexus’ Remote Touch infotainment interface and new audio speakers for higher-quality sound. Lexus kept the price the same as the previous year.
The CT 200h is a five-door hatch that doesn’t look like anything else in the Lexus lineup. It comes powered by a hybrid gas-electric powertrain taken from the Toyota Prius. You just fill this car with gas and there is no need to plug it in. It’s powered by a four cylinder gas engine mated to an electric motor for running in electric-only mode at slower speeds and very short periods of time. The CT 200h is fuel-stingy and achieves an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 43/40 mpg city/highway on regular 87-octane unleaded gasoline.
The Lexus CT 200h F Sport is the sporty version and comes with a sport-tuned suspension, black leather, 17-inch alloy wheels, mesh grille, a black roof, aluminum sport pedals, perforated leather steering wheel, rear spoiler and F Sport badging. This tester also came with the F Sport LED headlamps with auto-leveling, headlight washers and LED Foglamps. The optional Navigation system featured a backup camera, 10-speaker premium audio and an app suite with a host of technology goodies.
Inside the CT 200h
Inside, the cabin is cozy and snug with a comfortable driver’s seat. The steering wheel is slightly flat-bottomed, making climbing in and out a little easier. Rear-seat legroom is tight as we found out during week while taking some co-workers to lunch. The rearward view is restricted, and we recommend the optional rearview camera that comes with the navigation system. Rounded edges around the liftgate window, rear headrests, and wiper blade, all restrict the view. The backup camera helped as we pulled out of parking spots this week. Cargo space is about the same as a compact sedan, but small for a hatch.
On the road with the Lexus hybrid
CT 200h with the F Sport package is for those who like to drive. It comes with a sport-tuned suspension which sets it apart from the standard model. The CT 200h makes 134 hp, 98 from the 1.8-liter Atkinson Cycle gas engine and 80 hp 60 (kW) from the motor/generator. It’s not a performance hatch, but it shines in the corners. This Lexus hatchback corner so well, that the driver will begin to think it’s made for the track.
The F Sport cornering was spirited and secure as we tackled mountain corners near Evergreen. This Lexus has impressive balance, and a low center of gravity that keeps the hatch planted even at high speeds. The F Sport chassis features high torsional rigidity, using a double-wishbone rear suspension, and sophisticated performance dampers. It makes the hybrid fun to drive.
The CT 200h engine and electric motor come mated to an electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT). But it’s still a CVT and doesn’t have gears like a normal automatic or manual. But Lexus uses this transmission for efficiency not sport. It would have been more fun to drive if Lexus offered steering wheel paddles for sequential shifting.
In our week of driving the Lexus hybrid we didn’t come close to the EPA-estimated 43/40 mpg city/highway or 42 mpg combined. But we were driving up hills at altitude, at fast highway speeds and not even attempting to be green. And we were never able to drive much on full electric except for slowly driving through a parking lot.
The 2014 Lexus CT 200h F Sport offers a level of driving dynamics that sets it apart from other hybrids. It comes with enough of a sporty attitude to make driving a hybrid fun. It offers 5-door hatch utility and makes a great city commuter with its maneuverability. The CT 200h has a quiet cabin, an above average ride quality and excellent cornering in the mountain curves.