DRIVEN: 2014 Lexus CT200h F Sport: Around the Block

July 25, 2014
2014 Lexus CT200h F Sport Front Top View
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Plastic glasses. Unbiased opinion. Living dead. Government organization. To the long list of oxymorons, Lexus adds one more: CT200h F Sport.

F Sport everything

We get that Lexus wants popularize its newfound F Sport sub-brand, but that sub-brand will soon be meaningless if the automaker keeps slapping an F Sport badge onto vehicles that are not remotely sporty. An F Sport version of the RX350 makes no sense, and an F Sport version of an aged hybrid hatch that crawls from 0 to 60 mph in ten seconds makes even less sense.
2014 Lexus CT200h F Sport Front Three Quarters

Vague performance

There's never been anything sporty about the Lexus CT200h since it debuted in 2010. Neither a refresh for 2014, which updates the car's aesthetics but not much else, nor an F Sport badge has changed that. The $1180 F Sport package must improve the performance of the Lexus CT200h, right? Only by adding an F Sport-tuned suspension -- to translate, that means higher spring rates. Lexus says the suspension changes "help realize superb handling stability, particularly during low- to mid-speed driving." One, there is no noticeable change in handling at any speed, and what we experienced with this Lexus CT200h was far from "superb." And two, something with F Sport-tuned suspension should cater to driving enthusiasts who care more about high-speed driving anyway.

Gussied up

If not a performance-boosting package, what is the pricey F Sport option? It's mostly an appearance package for the Lexus CT200h, which includes two-tone, 17-inch aluminum wheels, a mesh front grille, fog lights with even more mesh, a shift knob scantly trimmed in leather, and seats trimmed in black NuLuxe (faux leather). We admit that we like the package's black roof, but the Lexus CT200h already looks like Predator wearing Paul Wall's grill -- why dress it up even more? If one were compelled to do so, they should go ahead, but the option box they tick shouldn't say "F Sport."

Bad move

Lexus isn't the only automaker diluting its sporty sub-brand. The M Sport package for a BMW X3 doesn't improve the crossover's performance whatsoever. Squandering the potential of sporty sub-brands will hurt champion brands, the F's and M's of the world, in the long run. The Lexus CT200h F Sport is simply an oxymoron that shouldn't exist.

2014 Lexus CT200h F Sport Specifications

Base price $34,140
Price as tested $39,030
Engine 1.8-liter DOHC I-4
Power 98 hp @ 5200 rpm
Torque 105 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Motor 80-hp AC permanent-magnet synchronous
Battery pack 201.6-volt nickel metal hydride
Total power 134 hp
Transmission Continuously variable
Drive Front-wheel
Fuel economy 43/40 mpg (city/highway)
0-60 mph 9.8 sec
Top speed 113 mph
Cargo capacity 14.3 cu ft
2014 Lexus CT200h F Sport Front Top View

Comments

Photo Gallery

  • The CT200h just isn’t attractive.
  • A very “boy racer” back end.
  • The CT200h F Sport sort of looks like a Mazda3 with a body kit.
  • A mix of Paul Wall and Predator.
  • Not digging this car’s rear end.
  • The black roof is a nice touch.
  • The CT200h’s black roof contrasts well with this red paint
  • My, that’s a large grille.
  • Not much to see under the hood.
  • Because wings and aero and speed, you know?
  • Blue means hybrid in Lexus language.
  • This badge shouldn’t be on a hybrid.
  • A simple wheel design for an overdesigned car—who would’ve guessed?
  • A lot of hard-touch materials in this uninviting interior.
  • Even the steering wheels has an F Sport badge.
  • The back seat is spacious enough to fit two comfortably.
  • Average speed: 31 mph. That’s pretty high for the CT200h.
  • The CT200h’s interesting electronic shifter.
  • A knob you’ll probably never touch.
  • Images shown are not to scale.
  • This touch pad doesn’t beat a touchscreen.

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