This section is all about compromise, and the Lexus CT200h is at sixes and sevens in the balance between chassis comfort and composure. The attention to detail the firm has employed in developing an all-new chassis for this car is laudable, but much of that effort is undone by a chassis tune that allows for scant compliance and makes for a fidgety ride on typically uneven UK roads.
You would hope a car configured for efficiency and class-leading mechanical refinement would be tuned to deliver a supple, absorptive ride. Not this one. Higher than typical spring and damper rates and stiff anti-roll bars combine to make the car’s primary ride choppy and restless on the motorway, and borderline uncomfortable on a B-road. The F Sport model exacerbates this, with firmer suspension.
Our review car’s secondary ride was better: on optional 16in wheels, it deals with smaller lumps and bumps reasonably quietly, and without harshness. That’s little consolation, though, when its body is diverted so frequently by bigger disturbances.
There is a trade-off. All that chassis stiffness gives the CT200h body control that’s beyond the grip of its tyres and the performance potential of its powertrain. In smooth, flowing corners it turns in quickly. It’s affected by almost no roll-steer and has steering precision to match, with well judged weight and even a little feel.
A particularly stiff rear suspension tune makes for a chassis balance that’s quite neutral and responsive to line adjustments mid-corner. All of which would make the Lexus quite a compelling car to drive if it weren’t for its lack of outright performance and often frustrating power delivery.