Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2014 Lexus CT 200h: The Brand’s Sporty Hybrid Hatchback


Highlight: The CT 200h is able to drive short distances at low speeds with zero tailpipe emissions, while in EV (electric vehicle) driving mode.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $37,850 (base model $32,960)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features:  air bags; ABS; an electronic brake force distribution system; vehicle stability system; traction control system; a tire pressure monitoring system; and a first aid kit

Standard Equipment: 17-inch wheels; power sunroof; pseudo leather seats; a power driver’s seat; keyless entry; a push button starter system; a dual zone ventilation system; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; selectable driving modes (sport, economy and electric); a tonneau cover; and a rear spoiler

Upgraded Features On Hybrid Touring Model: a navigation system; a rear back up camera; an auto dimming rearview mirrors; rain sensing wipers; a power passenger seat; heated front seats; an intuitive park assist system; Lexus’ Enform App suite; and a 10-speaker audio system with HD radio

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD with satellite radio  

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

iPod connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles

Hybrid Warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder/98-hp

Recommended Fuel: Unleaded

Standard Fuel Mileage: 43-city/40-hwy

What’s New: The first generation CT 200h just received its first mid cycle refresh, wearing the brand’s new grille. Added to the new exterior updates, a new F-type package, enhancing the sports appeal.

Pros: The CT 200h is one of the sportiest looking hybrids on the streets today. The environmentally friendly hatchback can be outfitted with a pre collision braking system and a radar activated cruise control system.

And new for this model year, the hatchback now enhances its appeal to those seeking a sporty vehicle with its new F-Sport package. The package includes a new split five spoke design with a two-tone machine graphite finish, a leather shift knob, a leather steering wheel, aluminum sport pedals, a black roof, black leather seats with white perforated holes, a rear spoiler and a sport-tuned suspension. Even with the vehicle only pushing out 98 horses from underneath the hood, it enhances the overall driving experience.

Moreover, when the center console is equipped with the optional navigation system, the infotainment screen can be divided into three sections. This means that the infotainment screen can be displayed as a single screen (nav system only), a dual screen (nav and audio), or a triple screen (nav, audio and weather info). Yes, this just enhances the cool factor of this hatchback.

Tech geeks can also take advantage of the brand’s Lexus Enform system when used with their smartphones. With the system, users can make restaurant reservations and/or order movie tickets.

Lastly, for those who rely on such driver safety aids like the rear camera, the CT 200h gains dynamic gridlines, making it easier to maneuver in tight spaces.

Cons: With this being a Lexus, we can’t understand why the rearview camera isn’t standard, as is the case with many non premium brands like Honda. Also where are the electronic blind spot mirrors and the rear seat center armrest? This is a luxury sports car, right? Although the vehicle has the look and feel of a sports car, the theme is still green. Buyers shouldn’t expect a pocket rocket.

Verdict: Driving green doesn’t have to be boring is literally the theme of the CT 200h. With its new bold grille and optional F-sport package, drivers can combine fuel efficiency, sportiness and luxury in a functional five seater hatchback.

Competition: No hatchback premium class hybrids……

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