2 months with the Lexus CT200h

Posted by under Hybrid & EV Vehicles, on 7 September 2016 @ 10:49pm.

I’ve had my CT200h for just over 2 months now so I thought I’d write a quick update on how I was finding it.


To put it in short, I love it. For all the wrong reasons to some people mind you, but I love it.

Now I’m not a car guy at all, but I appreciate cars of all types, be it big petrol drinking V8’s, diesels, hybrids or electric. That is why I say I enjoy my car for the wrong reasons. It doesn’t make a pleasant noise when you put your foot down, or give hundreds of horse power worth of smiles, but I enjoy driving and cars in general.

Let me explain why I like the CT200h so much…


First of all, it’s so incredibly easy to drive. This is my first automatic car, and not having to change gear anymore takes some of the unpleasantness out of daily driving. Since 99% of my driving is commuting, going to see friends, going shopping, etc, I have no interest in changing gear all the time. Going for a play however is a different ballpark. I’d love to have a manual. Unfortunately there is no semi-auto mode in this car because of how the gearbox works either. This said, I haven’t actually taken it on a ‘joy ride’ around some nice twisty roads or anything yet because I’ve not had the time. Despite this, the gearbox is silky smooth because it’s not physically changing gears since it’s an electronic CVT gearbox.

Ride and Handling

Next up is the ride. It’s by all means not a massively comfy ride. It’s pretty firm, but I actually find that I don’t mind that. I’ve driven on various road types in the last 2 months and I really don’t mind the firmness at all. It’s a common complaint with the CT200h but I honestly don’t see why. Because of the firm ride it feels like its sticking to the road very well (the huge tyres probably help too) and that’s a nice comfort some how. Steering input is also very sharp but the electronic power steering assist does take a little bit of feel away so it feels lighter than it should sometimes.


Now the one that no car guy would ever care about (remember, I’m not a car guy!). Economy. For a 1.8L petrol, it’s incredibly economical. On a recent 150mi run on the motorway I stuck to 70mph for the majority of the time and managed an astonishing 61.1mpg. I didn’t just use the car readout, I actually did it from a full tank and then filled up again to work it out. I won’t lie, I expected low 50’s from a motorway run so to get 61.1mpg was quite frankly amazing. The atkinson cycle engine coupled to the hybrid system clearly works far more efficiently than people realise. A lot of people I speak to are all “Oh it won’t be good on a motorway, it’ll only get good MPG around town!”. Clearly they’re wrong! Even shorter journeys to work which for me is 15 miles each way, I still manage a sensible 56-58mpg (at least during the summer months, it’s reported to be lower in winter).

One thing I have found is that if you do short journeys with a cold engine it still sucks for economy just like any other car would. Until the engine is up to temperature it has to run more often even when it’s not needed, wasting fuel. So for short runs to the shops all the time with no longer journeys don’t expect much in the way of economy. A trip to the local ASDA at around 1 mile each way with a cold engine I saw a horrible 36mpg or so on the display. You can’t use EV mode the whole way there and back either because it won’t last that long (it’s rated at about 1 mile from a full charge and that power has to come from somewhere when it runs out – your cold and inefficient engine!).


Next up is power. Sure, there isn’t a lot of it, but 136HP combined engine and hybrid is plenty for overtaking when you put your foot down. On my motorway drive I never once found it lacking. It makes plenty of noise as you put your foot down and the RPM rises to 5000rpm and stays there as your speed increases (and yes it sounds really weird thanks to the e-CVT gearbox…), but the power delivery is very good. What you do have to watch out for though is if you’re doing lots of hard accelerations in a short time the hybrid battery can run down to the point where it can’t supply that extra power. It’s never going to happen under normal driving with the occasional overtake, but just be aware. Your 136HP can quickly fall off to 98HP! I’ll test that around some country roads some time and see if it really affects it, but I imagine only on a track would you see it happen often.


What about space? It’s definitely much smaller than the VW Passat that’s for sure. But for my every day use it’s more than big enough. I’ll be attending an event in the near future which will require significant luggage being put into the car so I’ll see if it can handle that without a problem then. For going to camping for example I imagine it’ll be just fine with my own stuff, perhaps a 2nd persons supplementing, but definitely no more than that.


So overall, I love the car. Its really well built with no rattles (I should hope so too for a 3 year old car), it drives amazingly, it’s super quiet especially at lower speeds, and it’s fun to drive. Yes, hybrids can be fun to drive! Yes, yes, I’m not a car guy, I’ll shush. But seriously, don’t knock it till you try it for yourself. You might be pleasantly surprised…