Having given the Toyota Prius a glowing review, you may be wondering why the better-appointed Lexus CT200h - with its broadly similar price - receives less praise. Well, buyers of premium cars have loftier expectations and Lexus has fundamentally misjudged what they really want from a car like the CT200h.

This compact luxury hatchback has many of the refinements of an appealing executive option, and its credentials as a business car are undeniable. Put simply it will save the user and their company a great deal of money compared to a similarly expensive executive hatch.

Lexus has produced a car attempting to be sporty and luxurious, but has achieved neither

You’ll also enjoy a handsomely appointed cabin and plenty of kit, although even the more upmarket models suffer with Lexus’s infuriating Remote Touch multi-function controller.

Ultimately, however, its drivetrain will be too one-dimensional for many used to the flexibility of modern premium diesel technology.

Our main criticism, though, is the over-firm, unsettled ride that’s at odds with the general nature of the car. As a refreshing alternative to the BMW 1 SeriesAudi A3 and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the CT200h should take advantage of its sumptuous cabin and refined drivetrain to offer something away from the norm.

Instead, in its desire to make the CT200h sporty, it has created something of a mishmash – a car that handles well, but without the power to make the most of it.

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If Lexus’s objective was to make the CT200h drive differently from a Prius, it has succeeded, but it has failed to produce a car with a coherent or harmonious driving experience.