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

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

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/jaguar/202210/jaguar-f-type-r-2020-review-supercharged-v8-coupe-takes-the-fight-to-porsches-992
Jaguar

Jaguar F-type R 2020 review

Entry-level P300 still has the sweetest F-type chassis, but the 567bhp R’s appeal is as enduring as ever
10 Feb 2020
Visit/advice/15370/five-of-the-best-used-v12-cars-you-can-buy-right-now
Features

Five of the best used V12 cars you can buy right now

For less than the price of a new Porsche 911, you could have a dozen cylinders at your disposal
4 Feb 2020
Visit/porsche/202213/porsche-macan-gts-2020-review
Porsche

Porsche Macan GTS 2020 review

Porsche's mid-sized Macan GTS remains the most impressive SUV to drive with a tad more polish and tech
10 Feb 2020
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019