2011 Lexus CT200h Premium

As my colleagues have stated, the CT200h is an interesting attempt to give the Lexus brand some character. Cars like the IS-F and LFA were supposed to move the needle in terms of performance, but I don't think they've done much to change the rather soft image of the Lexus brand. Let's face it, anyone considering a Lexus is more likely to be interested in fuel economy and residual values than 0-60 times or lateral grip. So Lexus is looking for a way to add a bit of curb appeal to a high-mpg package that revolves around a hybrid powertrain.

I can see the appeal of the CT200h if you're a young-ish professional living in an urban or suburban environment with lots of traffic. The hybrid drive means impressive fuel economy while you're crawling along and the interior is a very comfortable place to pass the time. I still don't care for the Enform system's mouse-like controller, but I haven't spent a lot of time driving Lexus products with this system. I found it to be more unnatural and distracting than an iDrive/MMI/COMAND controller, but far easier to use than a MyFord Touch system. So it's neither the best or worst solution to infotainment, but maybe it's just what Lexus owners want. If you own a CT200h and happen to get out of traffic-clogged roadways, there's even more to like about the car. For once, there's a Lexus that becomes enjoyable to drive on the sort of roads enthusiasts appreciate. There are a lot of better performing premium cars, but I can't think of anything else on the market that can match the combination of Lexus's fuel economy figures and performance. Yes, there's an Audi A3 TDI, but the diesel engine is not nearly as efficient in urban driving, so the CT200h makes a lot more sense unless the majority of your driving is on the highway.

Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor

Have owned this car for nearly two years.  I drive over 100 miles a day and it fits the bill and sure beats the Prius looks.  I average between 42 and 47 mpg and am not a slow driver.  The car handles well and easily drives in the 70's and 80's mph.  Can't say enough good things about the car.  I have the versiion withot the mouse and prefer it over the upgrade.  It is easier to access all the controls without having to play with a mouse.  Highly recommend.
Actually, never mind that. Only looks fantastic in the title photo.
Looks fantastic. Pity the powertrain.

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