The Lexus CT 200h is built at the Toyota factory in Kyushu, Japan. For the Malaysian market, UMW Toyota Motor has introduced two variants – the Lexus CT 200h and Lexus CT 200h Luxury. Customers have a choice of 7 exterior colours, of which two – Fire Agate Mica Metallic and Flare Yellow Mica Metallic are available only with the Lexus CT 200h Luxury version.
Like the rest of the Lexus models, the CT 200h implements the latest adaptation of the L-finesse design philosophy. The front grille extends beyond the headlamps for greater visual integration with the bumper mid-section below. It incorporates a deeper, more sculpted interpretation of the L-finesse arrowhead motif. The CT 200h Luxury’s headlamps come with twin LED (light-emitting diodes) low beam lamps. In fact, the Lexus CT 200h has the largest number of external LEDs yet fitted to a Lexus model – 89 in total.
Incidentally, Lexus was the first car company to introduce LED headlamps for low beam usage, starting with the hybrid Lexus LS 600h L in 2007. LED headlamps consume almost 45% less power than conventional halogen units, thus they offer a small improvement in fuel economy. LEDs are also more lasting and illuminate more quickly.
For the CT 200h Luxury, the pull-type front door handles have touch sensors to lock and unlock the doors. Lexus says the cut-out behind the handle is 3mm deeper than other Lexus models, a design improvement which is supposed to make for a more comfortable grip as people with big hands or long fingernails will be less likely to brush against the bodywork.
Diffuser fins under the centre of the car manage airflow as it moves towards the rear end. According to Lexus, departing airflow at the rear of the car is managed by the deep roof spoiler, aerodynamic fins at the corners of the rear windows and the sharp, near-vertical junction of rear wing and bumper. The underside has also been designed ensure the smoothest possible airflow.
Having a full hybrid powertrain means that the Lexus CT 200h can run in either petrol or electric modes exclusively, or a combination of both, unlike motor assist hybrids which have to depend on the combustion engine for drive all the time and can only use the motor for power assist whenever more power is needed.
The interior is nicely thought out as well with a charging point right next to the storage bin in which you’re bound to put your phone, and lots of storage bins for homework and Haribos. And my God it’s quiet. It’s so quiet in fact that you can hear the leather creaking and wind rushing in through a badly fitting door seal. Lexus quality? Not on this car there wasn’t.
Other drawbacks? Well there’s so much power that you get a bit of torque steer when pulling smartly away from a junction and, as I said when I tested the normal version, it doesn’t have a chunky feel, which is something I look for in a 4×4. There’s no sense that it would survive the battering of a hurricane, or that children won’t break all the interior fixtures and fittings within a day. It feels like a normal car. And it’s only as spacious as a normal car, too.
Happily, it’s also priced like a normal car. Even though it has three engines and all those rechargeable batteries and a huge amount of kit as standard, Lexus is selling it for just a few hundred pounds more than the normal RX. And, of course, you’ll easily earn that back with the hybrid’s low fuel consumption.
Or will you? I drove carefully, enjoying the electric silence in town and only rarely putting my foot down hard. And yet it managed only 29mpg. I’ve had more out of that from our diesel Volvo XC90. And on top of this you must factor in the cost of running a hybrid. Think carefully about how much it costs to service a car with one engine, and then wonder how much it will cost to service one that has three.
It’s worth it, of course, if you want your car to make a political statement. “I’m mad and I want you all to know it.” And it’s worth it, too, for sending Ken’s Barmy Army into a tizzy. “It’s a 4×4 and that’s bad. But it’s also a hybrid and that’s good. Aaargh.”
At present I really do think this hybrid idea is just a case of Toyota and Lexus cashing in on the lunacy of the environmental movement. Forcing the Cornish and those right-on American Hollywood types to buy something that is about as green as Charles Kennedy’s hair