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.

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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.

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