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#10

in Upscale Small Cars

MSRP: $32,050 - $32,050
Invoice: $30,417 - $30,417
MPG: 43 City / 40 Hwy
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Lexus CT Hybrid Performance

Test drivers say the 2014 Lexus CT Hybrid’s acceleration is slow for an upscale small car. They add that it has reasonably nimble handling for a hybrid, but has a vague brake pedal feel.

  • "The 2014 Lexus CT 200h is a distinctive choice for a premium-brand hybrid car thanks to its high fuel economy and moderately sporty handling. But it's also one of the slowest cars in its class." -- Edmunds
  • "The CT 200h looks a lot faster than it is; I wouldn't call acceleration the car's strong suit. Other editors pointed to sluggish off-the-line speed, an uncivilized continuously variable automatic transmission and unresponsive throttle." -- Cars.com (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 CT Hybrid has a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that make a total of 134 horsepower. They are mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The CT Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 43/40 mpg city/highway, which is better than that of most upscale small cars, including hybrids like the Acura ILX Hybrid.

Automotive journalists write that the Lexus CT Hybrid has disappointing acceleration, and feels underpowered when overtaking other cars on the highway or climbing hills. They add that the CVT is not especially responsive to throttle inputs.

  • "Driving the 2014 Lexus CT 200h requires you to manage your expectations. The hatchback's hybrid powertrain is tuned to eke out every last mpg, and the result is very sluggish performance for a car in this price range." -- Edmunds
  • "Under the hood, the CT 200h doesn't have the oomph that many luxury shoppers expect. Unless you find the Prius to be a thrill ride, you'll likely be underwhelmed by the 134-hp CT's ponderous acceleration. The CVT isn't particularly responsive, either." -- AutoTrader
  • "If you're into rapid acceleration and quick bursts of power, the CT 200h isn't going to impress you." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Power is plenty adequate in most situations, but can leave you wanting when passing or climbing hills." -- Motor Trend (2011)

Handling and Braking

The 2014 CT 200h has four selectable driving modes: Normal, Eco, EV and Sport. Reviewers like Sport mode, saying it makes the steering feel more responsive. They think the CT Hybrid is reasonably agile for a hybrid car, though they note that it has a vague brake pedal feel. Most test drivers think the CT Hybrid’s ride is comfortable, though they add that choosing the F Sport package can make the ride too rigid.

  • "… the Lexus CT 200h handles respectably for a hybrid car, and its steering is impressively precise (with a weightier effort level in Sport mode). The ride quality is decent enough with the standard suspension, but the firmer suspension tuning that comes with the F Sport option package can make the ride too harsh, depending on your local road conditions." -- Edmunds
  • "Get the CT 200h on a twisty back road, and it will surprise you with its agility and quick response, especially with the Sport drive mode engaged." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "No matter how much Lexus attempts to ‘tart up’ a Prius, this car is still a Prius at heart. Steering feel is touch and go, resulting in a somewhat darty feel in straight roads. The Sport setting adds more weight to the steering, particularly at low speeds. We believe it overcompensates, making the feel a bit too heavy. Brake feel is inconsistent, too, which we would attribute to the attempt at making a hybrid's regenerative anchors act more like a sports car." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Like in many hybrids, the brake pedal feels OK on soft applications, but its response to big pedal inputs is abruptly nonlinear." -- Automobile Magazine (2011)
Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

Next Steps: Lexus CT Hybrid