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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Take back that Boffin icon forthwith!
Toyota's HSD is a full series / parallel hybrid system and allows the electric drive and engine to operate independantly of each other or in tandem. AFAIK, the only manufacturer kicking out a parallel only hybrid right now is Honda.
So HSD vehicles are exactly like an Ampera with a smaller battery in fact. One of the main reasons the Ampera was delayed was they originally specced the Volt as a pure serial, but found its performance and especially its hill-climbing capabilities stunk like a pile of rotting badgers. The European Ampera launch was delayed while a certain amount of rethinking took place. Allowing it to also drive the front wheels directly from the engine via its epicylic transmission, in effect replicating the series/parallel setup of HSD, involved licensing patents off, er, Toyota.
In certain areas HSD is rather better than the GM tech as it can actually recharge the battery using the engine, something the Volt/Ampera does not do if reports are to be believed (if so, WHY?). This means that the engine can run at its most efficient speed and excess power produced gets squirreled away in the battery until needed. You have to suspect a Vampera's economy in "extended range" (aka flat battery) mode sucks by comparison to the Toyota product and I await "real world" figures with interest.
Given that the fleet market is where most cars go and given the choice of "fill it using the fuel card or plug it in at my expense", I fully expect the majority of Vamperas to run around in permanent extended range mode. This is likely to have two effects. Firstly, the BIK reductions for its headline CO2 figures will make a mockery of the system. Secondly, secondhand ex-fleet cars will invariably come with a shagged battery due to its lack of charge/discharge cycling and residual values will plummet.
All Vampera speculation is IMHO of course, I don't actually have a crystal ball and I haven't had a go with one yet.
I suppose I should come clean (hah!) at this point and own up to having a fleet Prius. No axe-grinding or leaf-munching involved though, it's purely a tax dodge.
 Although PHEV versions now exist with a bigger battery.
I've an idea
"But cars? If I want to read about cars I go to Jeremy Clarkson. Before long you will be reviewing washing machines."
Drop the editor a line with a full list of all the other things this site covers that you don't like or have no interest in so they can tailor it perfectly to your requirements.
I have no interest in games so I don't read games reviews - it's not hard, nobody is making you read the Reg's very occasional - and not half bad - car reviews are they?
Did your parents never tell you that the world doesn't revolve around your likes and dislikes? They should have.
not if the engine points the right way....
saab made a great engine (B2x4) and after gm bought them they matched bolt patterns, so the saab fits to an omega gearbox which will ultimately drive a jaguar axle! recycling at its best!