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2012 Lexus CT 200h: Environmentally Sensitive Luxury Compact

By Arv Voss, January 14th, 2012

The 2012 CT 200h represents premium compact luxury motoring with a unique full-hybrid driving character, elegant styling, and Lexus' quality and attention to detail.

The CT 200h was designed and developed with the discerning, city-oriented driver in mind, with its size, packaging and hybrid technology perfectly meeting the requirements of environmentally conscientious customers. But in so doing, Lexus didn't compromise on its hallmarks of refinement and driving pleasure.

The grille of the CT 200h is pushed forward of the headlamps for greater visual integration with the bumper mid-section below. The profile displays a blacked out B-pillar with a chrome cabin glass surround that emphasizes a sail panel in the C-pillar that suggests forward motion.

In a powerful simplicity of form that harmonizes with the handcrafted quality feel of the smallest details, the interior shows an efficient, elegant and spacious cabin. The driving experience is enhanced by a highly focused driver's environment.

The dashboard is divided into two separate zones: an upper, Display Zone, with an 8-inch, LCD multi-display screen located for at-a-glance viewing; and a lower, Operation Zone, which allows access to the shift lever and system controls that resembles a computer mouse pad.

Propelling the CT 200h is Lexus' proven Hybrid Drive powertrain, a unique energy management system which consists of: an Atkinson cycle 1.8-liter 98 horsepower Atkinson Cycle gas engine and 80-hp (60 kW) electric motor for total system power of 134 horsepower. The system delivers low fuel consumption, low emissions with almost no NOx or particulate emissions.

It features EV, ECO and SPORT drive modes for Dynamic or Relaxing driving moods, with additional Energy Saving and Environmental Performance Measures. The transmission is the Continuously Variable Transmission. The CT 200h is a full hybrid, capable of operating in gas and electric modes individually, as well as in a combination of both.

My test 2012 Lexus CT 200h Premium wore a Starfire Pearl metallic (White) finished exterior with a Black leather interior and a base price of $31,250. The CT 200h is an extremely appealing and attractive 5-door hatch or mini-wagon. It is also very comfortable and stable. Acceleration was indeed adequate for a full hybrid vehicle. It won't win drag races, but then, that's not its intended purpose.

The various drive modes performed as expected, delivering the anticipated response levels of performance. Both Normal and Eco modes display an Eco gauge, while selecting the Sport mode switches the gauge display to a Tachometer. The new Enform connectivity system is highly intuitive and simple to operate, utilizing a computer mouse-like controller.

The handling attributes were more sport-sedan-like beyond what you'd expect from a five-door hatch or mini-wagon. It stays flat even through exaggerated, higher-speed turns.

The CT 200h makes for an ideal entry level Lexus, delivering not only increased operational economy, but fun-to-drive performance and versatile functionality as well -- with room for passengers and their gear. The interior ambience is luxurious, with a high degree of attention given to detailed craftsmanship, fit and finish.

Given the automaker's vast experience producing hybrid Toyota and Lexus hybrid vehicles, the CT 200h is an intelligent choice for consumers looking for an affordable, entry-level compact luxury vehicle with high reliability and dependability ratings.


Base price $31,250 (as tested: $37,009)
Displacement 1.8-liter
Epa mileage rating 42 mpg city, 41 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 11.9 gal.
Horsepower (net) 98 at 5200 rpm (net 134)
Motor type 4-cylinder and Lexus Hybrid Drive
Overall length 170.1 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 105 at 4000 rpm
Transmission CVT
Vehicle type 5-passenger FWD compact sedan
Wheelbase 102.4 in.
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