From £21,7146

Dashboard, infotainment, sat-nav and passenger space

If there’s one thing Lexus can do well, it’s design and equip a cabin. Considering the price tag, the Lexus CT200h is hugely impressive. The leathers are tactile and beautifully finished, the plastics soft and substantial.

Lexus claims a price advantage over a BMW 1 Series and Audi A3 Sportback once you adjust for equipment – that’s not including the ambience of richness and quality that comes as standard.

Despite the space-sapping battery, boot space is pretty good by class standards

Lexus generosity isn’t unbounded, though. Sat-nav and a DAB radio on mid-spec cars are extra and, because it comes bundled with a pre-crash safety system, adaptive cruise control is an expensive option even on a top-spec model.

On the equipment front there are six levels to choose from. Entry-level SE models get 16in alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control and Lexus's infotainment system complete with a 7.0in display, DAB radio, and Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Upgrade to SE with Plus Pack and get 17in alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, sat nav and a wealth of Lexus safety systems.

Mid-range Luxury trimmed CTs get keyless entry, a part-leather upholstery, heated front seats, tinted rear windows and front parking sensors all thrown into the package, while F-Sport gives you a CT with a sporty bodykit and gunmetal grey alloy wheels.

Spend a little more and invest in the F-Sport with Premier Pack and the CT is given a dose more luxury, including leather upholstery, premium sat nav system, LED headlights and a Mark Levinson sound system. Topping the range is the Premier trim, which adds the electrically heated and folding wing mirrors for a rather comprehensive package.

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If you have a model with the sat-nav fitted, you’ll be unlucky enough to encounter Lexus’s Remote Touch multi-function controller. It’s supposed to operate like a computer mouse, but is fiddly to use and requires far too many commands to perform even the simplest of functions. BMW’s iDrive is a million times easier to use.

The driving position is low and comfortable, with plenty of adjustment and room for your extremities. The rear seats aren’t quite as impressive, however. While about as roomy as rivals' rear seats, it’ll be tight for adults or kids, while fitting a child seat will be extremely tricky.

However, the CT200h’s nickel-metal-hydride battery pack is cleverly packaged between the rear wheels, so it doesn’t take up much boot space. A full 375 litres of load bay with the seats raised is more than in a 1 Series, but that’s including the underfloor storage box.