When you buy a new Lexus, you don’t just get a new car but rather the complete “Lexus Experience” of a luxury vehicle with dealer after sales support and service that leaves other premium brands in the shade.
The new CT200h (the initials mean Creative Touring) brings Lexus ownership to a younger audience for the brand with an entry point price tag of $51,500 for the entry-level model, while the Limited version is priced at $67,600 and the F-Sport reviewed here is $69,000.
Included in that is a four year or 140,000km warranty and a full maintenance service plan plus the Lexus Plus 24hour roadside assistance package. So from a purely financial viewpoint the range offers competitive running costs from the outset.
Factor in that the fuel consumption is quoted at 4.1L/100 km and CO2 emitted is 94g/km and the new compact Lexus easily meets the green criteria set down for many fleets.
However we never got near 4.1L/100km, regardless of which drive setting we used – the very best average consumption was 6.0L/100km for our test week.
The F Sport is distinguished from its lesser CT200h siblings on the outside by dark silver 17 inch alloy wheels (which hide brake dust brilliantly), rear privacy glass, a sports style grille, side skirts, and a larger style rear spoiler. F Sport badges feature on the front fenders.
It certainly is a different look for the brand and one that might attract a younger audience or current owners needing a smaller second car for urban use. Inside the sporty image is continued inside with comfortable leather seats; an F Sport style steering wheel, scuff plates with F Sport logo, sports pedals, and a metallic style instrument panel.
The black colour scheme is continued across the roof liner, sun visors and overhead console, which unfortunately makes the car feel somewhat claustrophobic and I would imagine in summer it will become heinously hot without the air-conditioning running.
Lexus says the F Sport shock absorbers and springs were tuned with dynamic performance in mind. Well the suspension (which was over firm and crashy on any surfaces other than smooth tarmac) might be tuned for dynamic performance but the engine is not.
The CT200h engine is based on the same Atkinson cycle 1.8 litre unit found in the Toyota Prius which is very fuel efficient but not particularly responsive because of its particular variable valve timing set up.
Although Lexus claims this car has a split personality, you cannot fundamentally change the character of an engine at the flick of a switch. Selecting the Sport mode will allow the electric motor to release its full amount of power (and the eco meter morphs into a rev counter) but the response is still anaemically hybrid-like.
Frankly, the F-Sport is a bridge too far, as we feel that the base model CT200h and Limited are possibly easier and more comfortable to live with on a daily basis.
Body type: Five-door hatch
Fuel Consumption 4.1L/100km
Through Life Cost Report
The Through Life Cost Model is used for illustrative and indicative purposes only. FleetWorks and Adrenalin Publishing Limited accept no responsibility or liability should any costs indicated in the Through Life Cost Model change from those published. All residual values are based on an average of values achieved through Turners Auctions Limited sales for the previous 3 months from issue date.
Eco, Road Report
Friday, 30 March 2012