What is it?
The world’s first luxury compact hatchback hybrid - and it has finally landed in Britain. As of March 1st, Lexus began delivering examples of the CT200h here, mostly to fleet drivers keen to reap the benefits of low company car tax, and to drive a Lexus for little more than a well-equipped volume family hatchback.
Running the same powertrain as the latest Toyota Prius, a 1.8-litre, 98bhp Atkinson cycle petrol engine mated to an 81bhp, 153lb ft electric motor, the CT200h produces a maximum 134bhp at 5200rpm via the front wheels. It’s slow by premium compact class standards: 62mph takes 10.3sec to come up, and maximum speed is 112mph. The trade-off, aside from those tax-saving low emissions, is claimed economy of almost 70mpg.
What’s it like?
This new upmarket five-door has more going for it than fleet-targetted value for money. The quality and richness of its cabin materials are top-notch. Although one or two switches and stalks seem identical to those that you’d find on a Toyota Prius, you can’t fail to be impressed by the upmarket ambiance and attention-to-detail of this interior, both of which are remarkable at this price point.
The general feeling of plush luxury continues when you move off in the CT200h: noise and vibration insulation is excellent. Move off gently, under electric power alone, and refinement is limo-like, and even when the petrol engine starts at 28mph, there’s little added disturbance of the peace.