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#1

in 2011 Upscale Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $20,208 - $20,798
Original MSRP: $29,120 - $30,900
MPG: 43 City / 40 Hwy

2011 Lexus CT Hybrid Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

While the 2011 Lexus CT 200h is one of the sportiest hybrid choices, reviewers seem disappointed that the CT 200h isn’t sportier. Compared with the Audi A3 and the powerful BMW 1-Series, the CT 200h just can’t compete as a driver’s car.

Some reviewers cite the CT 200h’s slow acceleration for its lack of sportiness, but most understand that with a total of 134 horsepower the CT 200h isn’t designed to win drag races. In fact, the majority of reviewers complain about numb steering and brake feel, as well as the droning continuously variable transmission (CVT). On the bright side, the CT 200h has some of the highest fuel economy ratings in the class. 

  • "All of the dynamic Lexus hallmarks are present: slightly anesthetized steering, marginally mushy brakes, a bit of body roll and a general lack of enthusiasm for being pushed too hard." -- Autoblog
  • "In the real world, the CT200h offers three driving modes: Eco has a very lazy throttle map, normal is slightly less lethargic, and sport is, well, still sluggish." -- Car and Driver
  • "Despite a slightly stiff suspension (for sportiness, you see), the CT 200h rides nicely over poor-quality pavement, and vibrations are nearly non-existent." -- Motor Trend
  • "Once under way, you'll notice the steering assist varies between Eco and Sport modes, but neither provides much feedback through the wheel." -- Popular Mechanics

Acceleration and Power

Acceleration and power aren’t the 2011 Lexus CT 200h’s strong points. With the same powertrain as the Toyota Prius, the CT 200h has a total net horsepower rating of 134. While many reviewers wish for more power, they tend to understand that in order to attain frugal fuel economy they'll have to settle for less-than-stellar power and acceleration figures. Still, test drivers would like to see some form of manual control over the Lexus’ CVT.

The EPA rates the CT 200h at 43/40 mpg city/highway.

  • "No paddle shifters are available, there's no way to turn off the electronic stability control, and with 134 total system horsepower, the 3130-pound CT200h rather impassionately drones its way to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "This lowly amount of power has to haul roughly 3200 pounds, so this vehicle is slow." -- Car and Driver
  • "Power is plenty adequate in most situations, but can leave you wanting when passing or climbing hills." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

While the Lexus CT 200h is almost universally acknowledged by the automotive press as being one of the sportiest hybrids, reviewers note that compared with other compact luxury hatchbacks the CT 200h’s handling falls short. Both its steering and brakes are described as numb. 

  • "Although the weight distribution is an admirable (for a front-driver) 60:40 front-to-rear thanks to the packaging and placement of the batteries, relentless understeer is still the order du jour unless you're lifting abruptly mid-bend." -- Autoblog
  • "Like in many hybrids, the brake pedal feels OK on soft applications, but its response to big pedal inputs is abruptly nonlinear." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "We think the CT has a nicely balanced chassis, although it is difficult to tell because the stability control kills the fun before any mirth has a chance to materialize, and there’s little power with which to modulate the car’s cornering attitude." -- Car and Driver
  • "The chassis is difficult to upset and when it does lose composure, it defaults to gradual understeer, at which point the nannies step back in." -- Motor Trend
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