Are you passionate about technology and want what is essentially a laptop on wheels? Do you want to be part of the upper layers of society’s cake? The Lexus CT 200h is the answer for you, an entry-level car for a premium brand.
In the article about Auris, I mentioned that if you want a car that is essentially a laptop and is somewhat practical and user-friendly for those less interested in cars, you can go buy the Auris. But if you want the full experience and want the full luxury, comfort, and technology, go for Lexus. And the Lexus CT 200h is the first checkpoint in the Lexus world. Essentially, it is a luxury Toyota Auris, so everything is top-notch: technology, comfort, luxury.
Except for dynamic performance, the major weakness of the Lexus CT 200h. You would expect performance from a car that starts at 30,000 pounds and has only one available engine, but it’s not quite like that. The chassis is taken directly from the Prius, aswell as the 1.8 Atkinson petrol engine (Atkinson engines are more fuel-efficient but less sporty than Otto engines) and a hybrid powertrain.
But maybe you don’t want dynamic performance. Maybe you want that luxurious interior, that technology worthy of a Starcraft Battlecruiser, and perhaps most importantly, maybe you want that Lexus Red Carpet Treatment.
What is the Lexus Red Carpet Treatment?
If you have a Lexus, even a entry-level Lexus CT 200h, you can benefit from priority and VIP assistance at any Toyota or Lexus dealership. What’s more, you can opt for luxury services, where you don’t go to the dealership, but the dealership comes to you. An dealership official comes to your home, takes your car, takes it to the dealership, the maintainance is done, and then returns it to your doorstep.
Lexus CT 200h Engines
1.8 2ZR-FXE Atkinson + hybrid of 136 horsepower combines – Alrighty then, on to the engines. I mean the engine. This is the only engine available on the Lexus CT 200h, providing eco-performance for an sports-premium looking car. If this car were a person, it would be a bodybuilder pumped with creatine. It looks great, but those muscles are more like all-show-and-very-little-go. I’ll talk about hybrid powertrain issues in the reliability issues section, and I won’t talk about the classic 1.8 petrol engine because it’s the hybrid village bicycle of Toyota’s world, more reliable than a corporate worker doing any possible task just to get a shot at promotion.
Lexus CT 200h Reliability Issues
- Lexus CT 200h must be driven regularly to charge the batteries, at least once every 2 weeks, otherwise the batteries will go flat like my wallet on the day after payday. Be very careful about how you charge the batteries when they go flat. Don’t, ever, for any reason, do anything, to anyone, for any reason, ever, no matter what, no matter where or who or who you were with or where you are going or where you’ve been, ever, for any reason, whatsoever. Never pull the cables to charge it from another car, you must use a trickle charger. Otherwise you risk damaging the hybrid system.
- The batteries have a 10 year warranty but there have been cases going beyond the 200,000 miles mark on the Prius. And even so, replacing/refurbishing the batteries cost less than a turbo, injectors, DPF, EGR, and flywheel which you’d normally replace on a traditional diesel and it’s even cheaper in the long run than an LPG installation + maintenance of a classic petrol. Like a highly specialized worker, the hybrid system on the Lexus CT 200h knows how to do only one thing, but it does it exceptionally well.
- Because it’s a Lexus, the car comes standard with a underwhelming CVT gearbox. Gearshifting is more vague than the answers given by a student present at an exam where he only knows his name, the CVT gearbox is notorious for the noise it makes but it’s just noise, not much in terms of delivering. Another all-show-and-very-little-go piece of kit. It’s important to do a test drive before buying.
- The parking brake is just another pedal, just like in a Mercedes. I find it mindboggling to launch a car that is essentially a laptop on wheels and give it a classic parking brake on it, much less an extra pedal. It’s like in Star Trek, where the crew had the latest futuristic technology, but Picard using a landline phone. It’s like having an iPhone XS Max and using a Cellnet sim card.
Lexus CT 200h Verdict
If you really want to be part of the exclusive Lexus community but don’t want to kick your bank account in the nads, the Lexus CT 200h is an excellent choice. It comes with most of the luxury you would expect from Toyota’s luxury division, it comes with the reliability you would expect from Toyota’s luxury division, it comes with lower running costs than you would expect, and it comes without the performance you would expect. But hey, a Lexus is a Lexus. Even if it’s a posh Prius. Personally, I like the Lexus CT 200h, but surely someone like me would use very little of the available technology on it. The Lexus CT 200h, is the official car of those who have installed Linux on their phone.
Which engine do I recommend? I wonder?