One of the very first hybrid models to reach local shores was the Lexus CT 200h back in 2011. The hatchback then received a mild update in 2014 and now in 2018, the smallest Lexus within the range has been refreshed again. I had a chance to drive this revised model briefly in Johannesburg.
I’ll be honest, the changes made to the range are rather minor, but do help the CT retain some relevance within the local market. The front grille gets an F-Sport-like honeycomb-look, there are new headlamps, a reshaped bumper and relocated LED daytime running lights, while at the rear, there is a newly designed bumper too.
Viewed from the side, the updated model retains its rather small 16-inch tyres albeit with newly designed alloy wheels, while a new two-tone option has been made available. This means that one can specify the car with a Titanium and Quartz (white/silver roof), Mercury and Morello (red/black roof) as well as Titanium and Black (black/silver roof) colour combination.
The interior has been mildly updated with a newer 10.3-inch infotainment system complete with navigation replacing the previous seven-inch item. There are also new colour options, but overall, the interior remains very similar and is starting to look dated when compared to more modern Lexus products such as the NX.
Powertrain and driving impression
At the business end of the CT 200h is the familiar 1.8-litre naturally aspirated petrol motor mated with an electric motor. The output is rated at 73kW/142Nm for the petrol motor and 60kW for the electric motor with a combined output of 100kW. The claimed fuel consumption is impressive at 4.1-litres/100km which, if driven gingerly, is likely achievable.
With the two motors working in tandem, it gets off of the line rather well, with a 0-60km/h sprint that surprised. It’s at higher speeds where the powertrain still feels a bit strained, but if driven as an urban commuter, the CT works well. Fiddling with the drive mode selector, I found ‘Sport’ mode to be the easiest to live with, while ‘EV’ and ‘Eco’ modes place more emphasis on the use of the electric motor; they also dull the throttle response and make progress more laboured.
I suppose the biggest compliment I could pay the CT in terms of its driving experience is that you're quite isolated from the process. There is a slight drone from the petrol motor coupled to the CVT gearbox when pushing on, but other than that, it’s rather silent.If you utilise the car in EV mode, it will only use the electric motor, although driving range is limited, which necessities the petrol motor being activated to charge the battery again.
Service plan and warranty
The CT 200h comes with a four-year/ 100 000km maintenance plan as well as a four-year/100 000km warranty, while the hybrid battery comes with an eight-year/195 000km warranty.
Lexus CT 200h S - R529 300