2014 Lexus CT200h F Sport: Around the Block

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.

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
What kind of lights has the model you tested??thanks
James Ephlin
I just purchased the F-Sport not only because of the fuel economy 44-41mpg but also the trade in value when done.  I just traded my previous car a 2008 SC-430, which I purchased used for 36K and had this car 4 years, which makes this a 6 year old car.  I received a trade in value of $23,000 for this car, which I applied to the new car. Let me know if you can get that much for a Ford, Chevy or even a Cadilac.    But, I enjoy this vehicle because it doesn't look like a usual Hybrid and has more space for people, luggage and baggage.  The styling is what I like, even though it doesn't have 500hp it still has sufficient power to get me back and forth to work.    Enjoy Lexus
This article is stupid and as a journalist Mr. Nelson needs to check his facts before bashing a car. First of all, "F-Sport" has always only been an appearance and handling package. You want power? Well that's why Lexus sells the full-on "F". For example, IS F-Sport and ISF. GS F-Sport and upcoming GSF. RC F-Sport and upcoming RCF. Get the picture? Same with BMW.  BMW offers full on M cars as well as M package cars which has all the looks for those who want it without the "go" for a cheaper price. Who the heck tests a Hybrid based of the Prius and expects speed and then bashes the car because of that. Hey newsflash, next time test the MILEAGE! Oh and about the snarky comment on the shift knob.... umm, it's a shift knob! What you want it to be? Covered in acres upon acres of soft leather in a 30k car? I can't even think of a 100k car with a fabulous shift knob with more than one layer of leather. This article was stupid and made to attract haters to make himself feel good. As it did.
Lexus/Toyota is killing their F badge brand. Just give consumers a different package that offers a gussied look. Name the true enhanced performers with F. Other than that, the CT has a great looking dash and mid console. It's one of the finest I've seen thus far.
Third CTS
F-Sport and M-sport on every model in Lexus' and BMW's line-up - with nothing but trim packages to support the sub-brand - looks like what GM did twenty years ago with Chevy's SuperSport (SS) sub-brand.  They will learn - as did GM - that this is short-term gain for long-term bastardization of the marque.  Bad move, indeed.
Nitesh Vasani
Very good design....Looks awesome with good performance as well...http://www.worldofautomobile.com/difference-between-hybrid-plug-in-hybrid-and-all-electric-cars/
Hell, an optioned out Ford C-Max with attractive after market wheels would make more sense than this. It would be quicker and cost less. The CT200 would be tolerable at a Prius price point...ok maybe a Corolla price point but not at this cost with it's pathetic performance despite it's sporty pretentions.  I'm sure though there are some Lexus buyers who have or will drink the kool-aid!Unimpressed in Seattle,Stephen
F sport on this car is as good as the 'S' badge on a toyoya collora.... lol...so sad.a 10sec F sport.it might be sporty back in the 60s.
I agree with Mr. Nelson 100%.  This article reminds me of driving around in Los Angeles and looking at all of the rebadged Acuras and Hondas that people have lowered, put a coffee can muffler out the back, big rims, a Blue Whale sized rear fin, and then slapped an "R" on trunk.  Gussy it up all you want...doesn't change the skeleton or what it is.  Oh...and Lexus...while you're at it...ditch the spindle grill.  It's hideous. 

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