The facelifted Lexus CT200h has gone on sale, with prices starting from £20,995.
The facelift aims to address the biggest complaint about the current car: its unyielding ride. Lexus says that improvements have also been made to the CT200h’s overall refinement.
Perhaps most impressively, Lexus engineers have managed to further lower the CT200h's official CO2 rating. Models equipped with 16in wheels see CO2 output fall from 94g/km to 88g/km. Models fitted with 15in wheels see the CO2 figures drop from 87g/km to just 82g/km.
The front bumper and grille and rear bumper have also been redesigned to fit in with the new Lexus design language, particularly the ‘spindle grille’
Prices for the facelifted model in standard trim start at £20,995, a £1000 reduction over the outgoing car, and rise to £29,495 for the top-spec Premier version.
According to Chika Kako, the chief engineer for the 2014 model CT200h, the balance between wanting ‘direct handling’ and achieving a more absorbent ride has been addressed by selective stiffening of the bodyshell.
To that end, structural adhesive as well as spot welds are used join the panels around the base of the A-pillars, around the rear wheel housings and around the lower tailgate opening. The tailgate structure is now also constructed using an increased number of spot welds.
Kako says that the ‘significantly enhanced’ body rigidity has allowed ‘direct’ handling to be retained even thought the springs and dampers have been retuned for a more compliant ride and a new rear anti-roll bar fitted.
In order to improve cabin refinement, revised sound proofing was fitted to the bulkhead and as many as 94 individual changes – such as the improved sealing of the holes in the bulkhead itself – were made to reduce sound transmission into the cockpit. The current range of six trim specifications - dubbed S, SE, Advance, Luxury, F Sport and Premier, are retained.
The car also gets a revised and quieter intake system, as well as remapping of the way the engine and CVT transmission work together.
This uses a ‘more linear build-up of engine revs which more closely matches the increase in vehicle speed to create a driving experience more akin to that of a conventional automatic transmission.’
Inside, Lexus says it has further upgraded the cabin materials and fit, as well as adding a new TFT screen, which is thinner and now fixed in position. New speakers are fitted with super-thin diaphragms made from a combination of bamboo fibre, plant opal and charcoal.
A new F-sport version also joins the range. It gets a rear spoiler, more aggressive grille design, 17in alloys and a retuned chassis. The 2014 CT200h is available to order now, with first deliveries scheduled for March.