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Car Review: 2013 Lexus CT 200h

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As Lexus continues to evolve and grow with vehicles like the CT 200h, it’s clear that the size, packaging, full hybrid technology and ultra-low emissions perfectly meet the requirements of a young, environmentally conscientious customer. Yet the Lexus CT 200h Premium offers no compromise on the refinement and driving pleasure that hallmarks the progressive luxury inherent in every Lexus. We spent a week driving this offering from Lexus in all kinds of weather and we were impressed!

EXTERIOR

There is no mistaking this car as a Lexus, as the grille is flanked by headlamp clusters positioned on a higher plane than the grille itself and the headlamps themselves focus on piercing, single halogen or optional twin LED low beam lamps. This gives the Lexus CT 200h Premium a new look that is more aggressive and modern. Believe it or not, the mirrors were something to behold in both function and style, as they were compact and aerodynamic door mirrors with an integral, LED side turn signal lamp. Careful aerodynamic detailing of the lower bumper and finned rear undercover smooths airflow from beneath the car, further improving both vehicle stability and fuel consumption. For just the right look, the 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels fit nicely under the fenders for that performance appearance certain buyers crave.

INTERIOR

The first thing that stood out to us was how much room there is in the cabin of the CT 200h. Design and function were at high levels with the dashboard being divided into two distinct zones with an upper Display Zone with an 8-inch LCD multi-display screen located at an ideal distance for at-a-glance viewing, and a lower Operation Zone which allows access to the uniquely designed shift lever and system controls.

Our test model was loaded with power tilt and slide moonrooof with sliding sun shade; NoLuxe trim interior; 10-speaker Lexus premium audio system; auto-dimming rearview mirror; Lexus homelink universal transceiver; black perforated leather-trimmed seats with driver’s memory; heated front seats and 4-way power passenger seat rain sensing intermittent wipers with mist cycle; HDD navigation system backup monitor; Lexus Enform with destination assist; HD radio; illuminated door sills; Bluetooth technology and SmartAccess with push button start. The extensive use of metallic finishes and dark, soft touch materials reinforces the premium quality of the cockpit. Customers will appreciate the Ecological Plastics with 30 percent plant-based Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) materials that are used for the floor mats, deck side and deck board trim. The CT is more than 80 percent recyclable and is designed to be easily dismantled. Recycle marks have been placed on the front, rear and tailgate trim to facilitate optimum recycling.

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PERFORMANCE

As we wrote above, there were some tough Ohio driving conditions facing the Lexus CT 200h Premium during our testing. When the big snow came down, the CT 200h was up to the task and plowed through the less than optimal conditions with the traction control performing well. The CT 200h boasts remarkably low fuel consumption and has an impressive combined EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 42 mpg, 43 mpg city and 40 mpg on the highway using regular 87-octane gasoline. Moreover, the CT 200h can be operated under certain conditions in a driver selectable EV mode which generates zero emissions. The CT employs an exhaust heat recovery system that captures the heat of spent exhaust gases to speed engine coolant warm-up and allows the hybrid system to stop the engine earlier and more often in the driving cycle when it’s not needed, like during low power demand conditions in city driving.

The CT 200h pairs an electric drive motor to generate a total system output of 134 horsepower. A second motor in the hybrid system serves as both engine starter and generator to charge the hybrid battery pack. For a fun-to-drive experience, the CT 200h also incorporates a drive-mode selector that allows the driver to toggle between four distinct modes: Normal, Sport, Eco or EV. Normal mode has an essentially linear throttle response that gives naturally progressive power. Sport mode can be selected when the driver wants a more dynamic experience. In Eco mode, air conditioning settings are adjusted and the throttle response is reduced relative to the pedal angle to emphasize fuel economy. Under certain circumstances, the EV mode can allow the vehicle to be driven short distances using only the electric motors. Responsive passing acceleration is enabled by the instant torque of the electric motor and the E-CVT’s ability to quickly find the optimal gear ratio to enhance the driving experience.

OVERVIEW

The 2013 Lexus CT 200h Premium has a unique look that stands out on the road and proves that great things can come in small and meaningful packages. For a price as tested of $39,079, there is so much here for those looking for that unparalleled quality, sophistication and technology in a fun-to-drive package. This is also a year round vehicle that comes through in winter months while also sipping on that gas and cruising in electric mode.

  

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