Lexus CT200h review - A premium hatchback alternative - Ride and handling

A frugal choice, but lags well behind German rivals for driving entertainment

Evo rating
Price
from £21,000
  • Peerless Lexus service, reliability and tax-dodging emissions status
  • Eco focus makes for a dreary drive, yet the suspension is overly firm

Read the specification of the CT 200h and the compact, front-drive Lexus suggests it might offer an engaging driving experience. There’s much talk of a low centre of gravity, while the 2014 changes promised increased body rigidity thanks to new spot welds on the rear cross member and around the rear hatchback opening. There’s also a high rigidity front brace, while the steering wheel mounts, the column assembly itself and suspension members have all been reinforced for greater stiffness and improved response.

In a class where you’re competing against the German premium brands the Lexus needs to be outstanding to succeed, and it just doesn’t manage that. The changes have improved the CT 200h, but it still trails its competition on driver appeal. The steering is direct enough, but there’s no feel; pressing the Sport button does little to change that - the heft required at the wheel increasing, but there's no notable improvement in immediacy or information. Grip levels are relatively modest, the tyres more economy-biased than performance orientated, which, given its powertrain, is hardly surprising.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

The BMW 1 Series offers so much more rewarding handling and balance, while even Audi’s rather stodgy A3 is a more entertaining steer. A Mercedes-Benz A-Class, too, even if it shares one of the CT 200h’s defining characteristics of an overly busy ride. 

Choose the F Sport model and you get front and rear lateral performance dampers, which Lexus says are designed to absorb and minimise body vibrations and improve steering feel. Whether it’s successful is difficult to really ascertain, as the CT 200h just doesn’t have the powertrain or chassis that’ll encourage you to tip it into a bend with any sort of enthusiasm.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/toyota/yaris/201932/toyota-yaris-gr-4-teased-in-new-video-true-wrc-homologation-special-on-the
Toyota Yaris

Toyota Yaris GR-4 teased in new video

Gazoo Racing to follow up its 2019 WRC championship with an all-new car based on the GR-4 hot hatch
4 Dec 2019
Visit/nissan/gtr/21433/limited-run-nissan-gt-r50-to-enter-production-in-2020
Nissan GT-R coupe

Limited-run Nissan GT-R50 to enter production in 2020

First customer GT-R50s set to hit the road next year, with prices starting beyond the €1million mark
5 Dec 2019
Visit/jaguar/f-type/22839/2020-jaguar-f-type-revealed
Jaguar F-Type

2020 Jaguar F-type revealed 

An updated Jaguar F-type has been revealed with a consolidated engine range and new front end
2 Dec 2019
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019