Written by Tim Marsh
Lexus is back for the 2013 model year with an updated version of its popular CT200h hatchback. We looked this vehicle up and down and are happy to report our findings for your reading pleasure. For posterity, we’ll also compare it to similar models like the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A200.
Setting the Scene
Like its competitor vehicles, the 2013 Lexus CT200h has an aggressive, swept-back look and a low profile. Its hybrid engine has a surprising amount of power and control, but its premium powertrain commands a premium cost: The Lexus CT200h price comes in at around $40,000 to start and can quickly ascend to $50,000 for higher trims with luxury add-ons. By comparison, its competitors start in the $35,000 to $40,000 range.
Grades: Prestige, Luxury, F Sport, Sports Luxury
Engine configuration: Hybrid In-line 4
Steering type: Rack & Pinion
Engine capacity:1798 cc
Fuel consumption – ADR 81/02 (combined):1 4.1 L/100km
Maximum power: 100 kW
Warranty duration: 48 Months or 100,000kms
Exterior Design and Dimensions
With an end-to-end measurement of just over 4,300 mm and a height of 1,440 mm, the CT200h is comfortably compact. The A200 has almost identical specifications, and the Audi A3 is just slightly larger. The downward-slanting back end and roof-mounted spoiler reduce the size of the CT200h’s boot somewhat, but a fully functional fifth door ensures that drivers and passengers can access it at will. Depending on the trim, this model’s wheels range from 16 to 18 inches and come in attractive alloys. However, it’s easier to obtain 18-inch wheels for the Mercedes-benz, BMW and Audi.
The Lexus CT200h has a strong lineup of interior features, including a six-speaker stereo with CD and MP3 compatibility as well as a two-zone climate control system with a push-start switch. Vanity mirrors and a trip computer add to the convenience and functionality of the interior. Meanwhile, the A200 has a six-CD stacker with optional satellite navigation. Some higher-end 1 Series trims add leather seating to the equation. In the A3, rear-seat air vents increase passenger comfort.
Under the Bonnet
The Lexus CT200h uses a continuously variable hybrid transmission to control a 4-cylinder, 1.8-litre petrol engine that sips 4.1 litres of fuel per 100 km. This compares to a four-cylinder, 1.6-litre turbo diesel that burns just 3.9 litres per 100 km in the A3 Attraction. The A200’s 1.6-litre conventional engine uses 6.1 litres per 100 km, and the 1 Series’s identically sized engine goes through 5.8 litres per 100 km.
Power and Performance
The efficiency of the 2013 Lexus CT200h naturally reduces its power. Additionally, many drivers have complained that the CVT produces an unnatural whine that’s hard to ignore. By comparison, the A3’s diesel powertrain provides strong acceleration. The 1-Series’s conventional engine is also suitably robust. The A200 doesn’t accelerate as quickly as you might expect, but its tight handling compares favorably with that of its Lexus counterpart. To be clear, the CT200h is quite light on its feet and takes turns with a precision that’s normally reserved for elite German hatchbacks.
Safety and Security
Although Lexus clearly made a big investment in the CT200h’s powertrain and transmission, it didn’t neglect safety and security. The vehicle comes with full-spectrum driver and passenger airbags as well as rear head airbags and remote keyless entry. Antilock brakes, EBD and an engine immobiliser round out the package. The BMW1 Series offers many of the same features and comes with a four-star crash safety rating. The A3’s safety rating isn’t quite so sterling, but its remote-start option and low center of gravity ensure that it meets a minimum standard of safe driving.
The Verdict on the Lexus CT200h Review
While the Lexus CT200h price is a bit dear, this vehicle remains Australia’s only luxury hatchback hybrid for the 2013 model year. If efficiency and high green ratings are important factors in your car-buying decision, you’ll naturally gravitate to this vehicle. However, the more affordable BMW and Audi entrants offer plenty of power, sporty rides, forward-looking styling and decent features. Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz A200 boasts a prestigious badge but falls flat on ride quality. You’ll have to try each of these vehicles for yourself.
About Tim Marsh:
Tim Marsh, author of New Cars Plus’s Car Reviews and Blog, has been covering the car beat for the last 8 years. Tim specialises in finding the best deals on wheels and offering advice on making your car last.
For any more information on the Lexus CT200h, or for that matter any other new car, contact one of our friendly consultants on 1300 020 311. If you’d like some fleet discount pricing (yes even for private buyers!), we can submit vehicle quote requests out to our national network of Lexus dealers and come back with pricing within 24 hours.