Lexus CT200h hybrid
Too posh to rush?
It’s an easier way to navigate menus than the system controllers you'll find in modern BMWs and Mercedes - you just point and click as you would a PC. It so easy to use you can even do it on the move without diverting too much attention from the job of driving.
Standard kit is reasonably plentiful and includes a USB audio socket, tyre pressure warning system and leather steering wheel, but cruise control really should be standard across the range - it’s not even an option on the SE-I model.
It's not actually a large car - this antipodean songstress (not included) is really very small
After 22 years, Lexus seems as far away as ever from a design philosophy that gives its cars an immediate visual identity. Of course, anonymity is not necessarily a bad thing - all BMWs look very BMW-ish, but that means I don’t much like the look of any of the current range.
Externally, the CT200h is apparently the latest expression of Lexus’ L-finesse design ideology and to be fair it’s not an unattractive car, but it just looks a little too much like a big Mazda 3 in my eyes.
Room for the odd dead body or two in the back
The CT200h range starts at £23,485 on the road, £2500 more than the Prius. Add the fold-away satnav system and metallic paint and that figure rises to £25,845. For the same sort of money you could get a five-door BMW 118d which is dynamically superior - not just to the CT200h but to everything else in the class - and maybe even as economical in the real world, but it’s less spacious, less well-equipped, as ugly as sin and it lacks that magic EV button.
By moving its hybrid offering into the - ahem - premium compact segment, Toyota Lexus has dodged the inevitable value-for-money questions that bedevil its other hybrids. The CT200h is not cheap but it is pleasant to drive, quiet, comfortable, spacious, versatile and very well bolted together. If you're looking for a car in this class and don’t have any boy-racer pretensions, it should do you very nicely. ®
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