Lexus CT

The Essentials

  • Price from £23,786
  • What Car? says: 2 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 44.1mpg
  • What is it? A small hybrid hatchback with uber-green credentials, low running costs and all the image and quality that comes with a Lexus. So what's the catch?

Great

  • Hybrid engine sips fuel, emits very little and is cheap in tax
  • Lexus brand has a premium image and great quality
  • Lots of equipment for the money

Gripes

  • About as refined and agile as a combine harvester
  • Lousy steering and an uncomfortable ride
  • Gearbox is all mouth and no trousers
  • Drive

    Noisy, slow and uncomfortable - we'd rather travel by bus

  • Inside

    Avoid the complex Remote Touch system and it's all simple and easy to use

  • Safety

    Eight airbags as standard and an impressive crash-test score

  • Reliability

    Lexus has a reputation other manufacturers can only dream about

  • Space

    Puts the 'small' into small family hatchback; battery steals boot space

  • Standard and extras

    Luxury comes as standard, upgrade for the full works

  • What's it like to drive?

    First the good news: at low speeds or in traffic the CT200h can run solely on battery power, making it super-efficient and perfect for sneaking up behind unwary pedestrians. Mostly the electric motor is there as back-up for the 1.8-litre engine, but with friends like this, who needs enemies? From the noise it makes at anything over walking pace you'd think it was being tortured, and it still doesn't deliver any useful performance. And while the car handles ok, the ride will rattle your fillings and the steering seems to be enjoying a very casual relationship with the wheels.

  • What's it like inside?

    Avoid the optional sat-nav and the dash is classy and simple to use. Add sat-nav and things get much more complicated thanks to Lexus' Remote Touch system which turns changing radio stations into a seriously complex operation.
    Style comes before comfort in the CT and rear passengers won't enjoy a great view out or much space. The boot holds the battery pack but still offers a little more space than a VW Golf or BMW 1 Series with the seats in place. Fold them down, however, and the CT is way behind those rivals for load space.
    With Bluetooth, climate control and alloy wheels as standard there's no scrimping on equipment with the CT. Upgrade for leather seats, sportier suspension and an awesome stereo system.

  • How reliable is it?

    It shouldn't - Lexus has an enviable reputation for reliability and regularly tops customer satisfaction surveys.
    Safety kit is exemplary too. Of the eight airbags, two protect the knees of those in the front, while stability control is standard. In crash tests the CT200h scored an impressive 94% for adult protection and 84% for child protection, which is better than a BMW 1 Series or Toyota Prius.

  • Should I buy one?

    If your priorities are being green and keeping running costs low, without sacrificing quality or class, the CT might make an appealing prospect. It makes a lot of sense as a company car because most versions emit just 94g/km of CO2; entry-level S cars do even better with 87g/k and improve official fuel economy from 68.9mpg to 74.3mpg.The CT200h also performed well in What Car?'s True MPG economy tests, averaging almost 60mpg.
    However, if your commute is more than half a mile, you may want to consider something more comfortable, quieter and better to drive.