Once upon a time the Lexus IS was seen as the “affordable” or “entry level” Lexus. Things have changed in the last couple of years when the manufacturer introduced a new entry level Lexus. The Lexus CT is their answer to the BMW 1 Series, the Mazda3, the Audi A3 and the Mercedes-Benz A Class. This is a brand new field for Lexus and by the looks of things they have a lot of work to do to get into line with the already well-established marks.
There is only one option available to the Irish market when it comes to what powers the Lexus CT and that’s the 200h engine. Hybrid technology is one of Toyota’s many strong points and they have brought it to many of the vehicles in their range (not including the RC-F). The 200h engine is a mixture between an electric motor and a 1.8 litre petrol engine. The maximum torque of the vehicle is 347Nm and that comes between 2,800 and 4,400rpm. Between the petrol engine and the electric motor you are looking at a return of 181 bhp and a 0-100 km/h in 10.3 seconds. The maximum speed of the vehicle is 180 km/h.
The CT grips the road brilliantly and on account of this it can deal with bends in the road without throwing up an abundance of body roll. The steering is a bit vague and lacks the feedback that you would expect from a Lexus. The ride on the motorway is comfortable, but there is a certain amount of bounce from the suspension while cruising. The vehicle doesn’t react brilliantly to road imperfections either.
Unfortunately it seems that the Lexus CT still needs a bit of fine tuning in this department too. Any other Lexus would top the charts under this category. It seems that they still have some things to learn about the compact car segment. The CT’s petrol engine can be loud and the car is not as padded in terms of sound insulation as the rest of its family because road noise seeps through too.
The steering wheel and seat are adjustable to various heights which means that the vehicle can be made comfortable for drivers. Thankfully the interior is made up of typically high quality materials that you find in most vehicles from Lexus. The infotainment system is more difficult to use than it should be though. Depending on the trim that you go for there is a 7 inch screen which can be operated by a rotary dial – this is not available with the entry level CT.
The CT 200h scored a full five stars in the Euro NCAP during 2011. For adult occupancy they scored an excellent 94%. Their score for child occupancy was a very good 84%. To the front of the vehicle are seatbelt pre-tensioners and the car is surrounded by eight airbags. Adaptive cruise control is an available feature with the Lexus CT and systems like Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, and Electronic Brake-Force Distribution all come as standard.
The Lexus CT offers ample room to the front. The rear doesn’t offer the same amount of space as many of its rivals, but with that said there is enough room for two adults comfortable. The boot is smaller than most rivals on account of where the battery sits.