Lexus CT200h – An Owners Experience with a Hybrid Sport Car

Lexus CT200h – An Owners Experience with a Hybrid Sport Car

Lexus CT200h SportBy John Addison (updated 9/12/11; original 6/1/11)

Car Review of a Premium Hybrid that is Fun and Impressive

Del Coates loves driving his new Lexus CT200h through the windy roads near his Northern California home. He is enjoying sports handling, premium interior, and impressive design without paying a fortune for the gasoline. With the Prius hybrid system inside, the Lexus CT200h is rated at 42 mpg combined highway and city. After 2,500 miles including a long-trip to Lake Tahoe and time driving in Sport Mode, Del is getting 44.8 mpg actual!

Del is a car expert. Early in his carrier he designed advanced concept vehicles at Dearborn for Ford Motor. He has written for Motor Trend, Road and Track, and Sports Car International. He traded-in his 2007 BMW 335i convertible for his new Lexus CT200h and is glad that he moved up. As a lover of good design, he was tempted by the “Teutonic elegance” of the Audi A3 TDI and A5 Coupe, but the Lexus won after he took it on a long Monterey test drive and then took it around the Laguna Seca Raceway, impressed with the tight handling and responsiveness. Design Matters by Del Coates.

Lots of people like Del want a car that makes a statement and is a pleasure to drive; yet they also tired of seeing our nation desperate for oil. They want fuel economy without sacrifice. The Lexus CT200h delivers. Yes, it has the best of the Prius underneath including a powerful 80hp electric motor that works in parallel with a 98hp engine with intelligent variable value timing. Unlike the Prius, the Lexus CT200h as an exclusively designed MacPherson strut suspension system that matches its wheelbase that is 4 inches shorter than the Prius. The Lexus has a luxury look, yet comes close to the aerodynamics of the Prius.

Lexus CT200h Starts at $29,120

Lexus CT200h seatsBoth the 2011 and 2012 Lexus CT200h have starting prices of $29,120 MSRP. That base price includes a beautiful interior, power everything, a 6 speaker sound system, a number of safety features, and a Lexus quality interior. You can pay in the mid-thirties when you add a navigation system, tilt-and-slide moonroof, premium leather and premium audio.

With a touch of the button, you can drive the Lexus hybrid in one of four modes: Normal, Sport, ECO, and EV. To get better than 40mpg, I test drove the Lexus in ECO for all needs, except the track where I kept it in Sport by the enthusiasts with their 400hp engines. Modes are selected with a touch of the button. Normal provides faster acceleration on a freeway. Sport is handy when you want to zoom around a slow truck on a two-lane road, or when you want to show-off.  EV mode only works when the NiMH battery is charged above a threshold and you are crawling in stop-go traffic.

The Lexus CT200h is versatile. When there is no point in burning-up excess gas, ECO mutes your stepping on the accelerator. The electric motor is limited to 500 volts. The air conditioner demands less. Acceleration is more gradual. In Sport Mode, when you step on it, the engine revs higher and the electric motor can take 650 volts. The Lexus CT200h is EPA rated 43 city, 40 highway, and 42 combined mpg.

The Lexus CT200h is a compact. One 6’3” driver complained that it felt a bit cramped. For premium features and a more classic sedan design, the Lincoln MKZ is a more roomy and worthy competitor to the Lexus hybrid and delivers 39 mpg. The MKZ is not a sports hybrid, rather it is a comfortable premium hybrid. The Lincoln, however lacks the cargo versatility of the Lexus CT200h, which is a hatchback with 60/40 fold-down rear seats. After touring mountain roads in Sports mode, you can open the Lexus liftback and remove your mountain bike, sports bags, and camping gear.

The Lexus CT200h is so successful that it is likely to be the successor of the Lexus HS 250h. The customer reception for this new compact Lexus CT200h will encourage Toyota to bring to market a more sporty, more compact, and more fuel efficient Prius c in 2012. To meet customers wide ranging needs, and continue to dominate the hybrid car market, Toyota and Lexus will expand to offering over 20 different hybrid models in the month ahead. The Lexus CT200h is one of the most appealing.

Whether you are on a fun escape, loading up at the big box stores, or taking a business client to lunch, the versatile Lexus CT200h will impress.

Lexus CT 200h Specifications

Pricing & Fees CT 200h
Base MSRP $29,120
Delivery, Processing
& Handling Fee
$875
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Engine CT 200h
Type In-line 4, Atkinson cycle, aluminum block and head
Displacement 1.8 liters (110 cubic inches)
Valvetrain Dual cam, four valves per cylinder, with continuously Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i)
Compression Ratio 13.0:1
Electric-Drive Motor High-output, permanent-magnet, electric-drive motor with EV mode
Total System Horsepower 134 hp
Fuel Requirement Regular unleaded, 87 octane
Emission Rating Certified Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV II)
Performance CT 200h
0-60 MPH Acceleration 9.8 seconds
Top Track Speed (electronically limited) 113 mph
EPA Fuel Economy Estimates (city/highway/combined) 43/40/42 mpg
Aerodynamic Drag Coefficient 0.29
Turning Circle 34.2 ft
Drivetrain CT 200h
Transmission Electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT)
Drive Wheels Front-wheel drive
Chassis CT 200h
Suspension (front) Independent, MacPherson struts with coil springs, low-friction shock absorbers and stabilizer bar
Suspension (rear) Independent, double-wishbone with coil springs, low-friction shock absorbers and stabilizer bar
Steering Electronic Power Steering (EPS) system
Brakes Four-wheel power-assisted discs with Electronic Controlled Braking (ECB), four-sensor, four-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
Brake Size 10.0-in ventilated front, 10.9-in solid rear discs with regenerative braking function
Wheels and Tires 17 x 7.0-in 10-spoke alloy wheels with 215/45R17 all-season tires. Compact spare tire/wheel
Wheels and Tires (available) Available: F Sport™ 17 x 7.0 trident-5-spoke alloy wheels with 215/45R17 all-season tires. Compact spare tire/wheel
Body / Dimensions CT 200h
Type 5-passenger hybrid 5-door luxury sedan
Construction Welded-steel unibody
Curb Weight 3,130 lb (1,420 kg)
Overall Length 170.1 in (4,320 mm)
Width 69.5 in (1,765 mm)
Height 56.7 in (1,440 mm)
Wheelbase 102.4 in (2,600 mm)
Ground Clearance 5.7 in (145 mm)
Fuel-Tank Capacity 11.9 gal (45 L)
Cargo Capacity 14.3 cu ft (405 L) (behind rear seats)
Headroom 38.9/37.0 in (989/940 mm) (front/rear w/out moonroof)
Leg Room 42.1/32.9 in (1,069/835 mm) (front/rear)
Shoulder Room 54.0/52.6 in (1,372/1,335 mm) (front/rear)
Hip Room 53.1/51.8 in (1,348/1,315 mm) (front/rear)
Toyota Sells One-Millionth Prius in U.S. – Best Hybrid Car

Toyota Sells One-Millionth Prius in U.S. – Best Hybrid Car

Toyota PriusBy John Addison (4/6/11)

One Million Toyota Prius hybrid cars have now been sold in U.S. Over 2 million Prii (yes, the plural of Prius) have been delivered globally. Over 3 million Toyota hybrids have been sold globally.

Since the Prius was introduced to the U.S. in 2000, more than 97 percent of all Toyota Prii sold are still on the road. At a time when our energy security is threatened and oil is over $100 per barrel, the Prius uses less than half the gasoline of typical cars. While other automakers worry about 2016 CAFÉ standards of 35.5 miles per gallon (mpg), the Prius delivers 50 mpg – that’s not just on freeways, that’s 50 mpg overall.

As California implements its Climate Solutions law, my region struggles with a plan to reduce transportation CO2 emissions by 15 percent by 2035. The average car in the region produces 430 grams CO2/mile. The Prius is only 178 grams CO2/mile. How tough can 15 percent be over 25 years?

Toyota and Lexus hybrid family

By the end of 2012, Toyota Motors will offer at least eleven Toyota and Lexus hybrid and electric cars. If you don’t like the looks of the Prius, you can order a Camry hybrid. If you need to seat seven, the Highlander is a versatile and roomy SUV. If you need an SUV with the best AWD mileage, the Lexus RX450h is the champion with 30 mpg in the snow and ice.

Lexus offers five premium cars for those who do not want to sacrifice leather, wood, and luxury inside. The Lexus CT200h is exciting to drive and delivers 42 mpg combined. Performance enthusiasts can get their own custom kit GS450h or LS600h hybrids.

Over 60 percent of all U.S. hybrid sales continue to be the Prius. Toyota’s Synergy hybrid drive system is so good that it is licensed by other automakers. The Ford Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ deliver around 40 mpg thanks to Toyota hybrid technology.

Prii Family from Compact to Crossover SUV

The best selling Prius has expanded into a family of four Prii models. Prius V, which goes on sale in third quarter of 2011.  If you’ve been looking for great mileage from an SUV, crossover, or wagon, take a look at the new Prius v. It will share the current generation Prius’ platform and Hybrid Synergy Drive technology.  Featuring a compact exterior yet spacious interior, the Prius v will feature over 50-percent more interior cargo space than the current Prius, while being almost as aerodynamic. The Prius v will compete with new crossover hybrids like the Ford C-MAX Hybrid. The Prius v will use NiMH batteries, just as the 2011 Prius.

The Prius V seats five with sliding second row seats allow for easier ingress and egress and rear-storage flexibility.  The 60/40 split, folding rear seats present four different seat arrangements that provide excellent usability for passengers and luggage, while a fold-flat front-passenger seat allows for extremely long cargo.

Despite the spaciousness of a family friendly midsize vehicle, the Prius v will deliver estimated EPA fuel economy ratings of 42 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 40 mpg combined, the best fuel economy ratings of any SUV, crossover, or wagon on the yet EPA rated.

The Prius C will go on sale next year with the best mileage ever delivered, even outdoing today’s Prius. The “c” is a compact city car that will allow Prius drivers to secure precious parking spaces now secured by MiniCoopers, Fits, and the Yaris.

Plug-in Prius and New Toyota Pure Electric Cars

600 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrids are now being driven daily in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Commercial, government, and university fleets and individual drivers are putting this advanced Prius through its paces. Toyota is targeting 50,000 unit commercial sales in 2012 of this PHEV with a 14-mile electric range.

In the new Prius Plug-in with 5kWh of lithium batteries, you can drive 14 miles before the engine engages without special driving effort. When it leaves electric mode and engages the gasoline engine, it drives hundreds of miles with better mileage than a standard Prius.

The Prius Plug-in can be charged in 3 hours with a normal 110v outlet, which may be appealing to those who live in multi-tenant buildings with difficulties in installing 220 volt Level 2 chargers.

The Plug-in will be initially offered in 14 states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Virginia and New Hampshire) where nearly 60 percent of all Prius models are currently sold. Availability in all 50 states will be in 2013.

The RAV4 EV Powered by Tesla was Toyota’s center stage announcement here at the Los Angeles Auto Show. In 1997, 1,484 RAV4 EVs were sold. Remarkably half of these early EVs are still in use and their owners love them. Toyota, which owns 2 percent of Tesla, is bringing back this popular SUV in a stylish new body. It will have an electric range of 80 to 110 miles using 30 to 40 kWh of Panasonic battery cells integrated into a Tesla pack – impressive for an SUV. The body will be built by Toyota in Canada, the drive system by Tesla in California, and the final assembly site has yet to be determined.

In 2012, a stylish city car iQ-based EV will also be introduced in the U.S., Japan and Europe. Launch preparations call for road trials in Japan, U.S., and Europe starting in 2011. Launch in China is also being considered, with road trials planned for 2011.

An interviewer once asked me, “Why someone would buy a Prius when they could not cost justify the premium.” I explained that I did pay about $5,000 more for my 2002 Prius than a comparable sedan. My wife and I drove the Prius for 7 years, saving about $5,000 in gasoline. We then sold the car for about $4,000 more than a comparable sedan.

Since it was introduced in the U.S. in 2000, Prius, when compared to the average car, has saved American consumers more than an estimated 881 million gallons of gas, $2.19 billion in fuel costs, and 12.4 million tons of CO2 emissions.

10 Hybrid Cars with Best Miles per Gallon

10 Hybrid Cars with Best Miles per Gallon

Prius c 2012Toyota Prius c now starts for less than $19,000 and saves with fewer trips to the gas station. The “c” is the compact sport member of the Prius family – officially known as Prii. This new compact Prius 5-door hatchback uses the same fuel-efficient hybrid Synergy drive as its classic midsized cousin and is at least $4,000 less expensive to buy.This fuel economy champion leads with 53 miles per gallon (mpg) city, 46 highway, and 50 combined. If you want better mileage drive in Eco mode. Toyota Prius c Review and Features

 

Toyota PriusToyota Prius Liftback continues its 12-year hybrid car leadership with the best fuel economy, lowest carbon emissions, and in hybrid sales. Customers keep voting for the Prius with their pocketbooks. This fuel economy champion leads with 51 miles per gallon (mpg) city, 48 highway, and 50 combined. If you want better mileage drive in Eco mode. The 5-door Prius Liftback seats 5 in its midsized interior. The 60/40 split backseat can be lowered to make room for lots of work gear, home improvement projects, 2 bicycles, and other stuff. Manufacturer suggested price starts at about $23,520 MSRP (all prices in this article are starting points for negotiation, are subject to change, and can be higher due to destination, handling, and options).  Toyota Prius Review

 

Ford C-Max HybridFord C-MAX Hybrid 2013 is a new crossover with more room for cargo and 5 passengers than some small SUVs. Drivers will make fewer trips to the gas station. This crossover delivers 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway, 47 mpg combines. It prices a bit lower than the new Prius v crossover and gets better mileage. Drop the back seat and you have major cargo space for work, home projects, and sports. Ford will go the Prius v one better and also offer the C-MAX Energi, a plug-in hybrid where your first 20 miles can be from a garage charge. Ford C-MAX Hybrid and Ford’s Electric Strategy

 

2013 Ford FusionFord Fusion Hybrid 2013 is the most fuel-efficient sedan you can get without buying its plug-in hybrid cousin the Ford Fusion Energi. The Fusion Hybrid midsized sedan achieves 47 city, 47 highway, and 47mpg combined. Accelerate carefully and you can even stay in pure electric mode for a while. The Fusion Hybrid provides a smooth, quiet, and comfortable ride with the a third-generation drive system that includes 2 electric motors and new lithium battery pack. The trunk only holds 12 cubic feet and the backseats do not lower. Ford has included a number of telematics and infotainment electronics. $27,200 MSRP. Fusion Hybrid Test Drive

 

Honda Accord Plug-in HybridHonda Accord. I was impressed with my test drive of the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid that will go on sale in early 2013 in California and New York for about  $39,800. I also expect Honda to announce a 2014 Accord Hybrid that should get an impressive 47-mpg. This new 4-door, 4-seat sedan, will price for less than the plug-in alternative.

 

VW Jetta HybridVolkswagen Jetta Hybrid was fun for me to drive. For 2013, you get the Jetta with good mpg, better if you mainly drive on highways with the Jetta TDI diesel, and best if you do mainly city driving with the Jetta Hybrid, which delivers 42-mpg city, 48 highway, and 45-mpg combo. Starting at about $25,000, this 4-door, 5-seat hybrid sedan, with more trunk space than many is giving the Camry and Fusion Hybrids something to worry about.

 

Lincoln MKZ HybridLincoln MKZ Hybrid is an entry-level luxury sedan with a plush interior and the smoothest test drive that I have experienced. Now you can have luxury appointments and roomy midsized interior without sacrificing fuel economy. Using the same drive system as the Fusion Hybrid, The 2013 Lincoln MKZ offers 45 city, 45 highway, and 45-mpg combined. The trunk only holds 11 cubic feet and the backseats do not lower. The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid starts at about $36,000 for this luxury hybrid – the same price as the Lincoln MKZ non-hybrid! Lincoln MKZ Test Drive

 

Honda Civic HybridHonda Civic Hybrid is new for 2013 with improved styling, handling, and electronics. With a lithium-ion battery the new Civic Hybrid delivers 44-mpg city, highway, and combined mpg while starting for about $22,000..  Honda Civic Review

 

Toyota Prius v Crossover – My test drive of the new Prius v convinces me that you can get 42 MPG with comfort for 5 people and the flexibility toPrius v Windy Road hold the cargo carried in most SUVs. The Prius v is shaking-up the crossover SUV and wagon market, selling for only $26,400. At 44/40/42 MPG combined, the Prius v delivers double the mileage of many SUVs with more cargo flexibility than most. Toyota Prius v Test Drive and Specifications

 

Lexus CT200h delivers great mileage in a premium sport 5-door hatchback with 42 mpg by using the Prius Synergy drive system. I was delighted with my test drive of this in Sport mode on the track and Eco mode on the streets and Lexus CT200hhighways. Now you can enjoy the premium features of a Lexus and still get 43 city, 40 highway, and 42 combined mpg. Legroom in this compact is fine for most, but a 6-foot, 3-inch driver complained about wanting more in the front and back seats. Lexus CT200h Owner’s Driving Experience and Review

 

Honda Insight

Honda Insight is a 5-door hatchback and a hybrid price leader under $19,000, competing with the more full-efficient Prius c. The Insight delivers 41 city, 44 highway, and 42 mpg combined. The Insight is sportier in looks and handling than the Civic. Unlike the Civic Hybrid, the backseats can be lowered for more cargo in the Insight. An alternative to the Insight is the Honda CR-Z, a fun sports coupe with good handling and performance. Sport car lovers are likely to get the 6-speed stick, although the CVT automatic transmission includes paddle shifters. Insight Test Drive

 

Toyota Camry Hybrid LE 2013 delivers 43 mpg city, 39 highway, combined 41 mpg. Touch the EV button and drive over a mile in electric mode. The Camry is so popular that 15 million have been sold. It has been America’s best selling car for 9 years. Starting at $25,900, The Camry Hybrid LE  with excellent fuel economy will not take long to pay for the roughly $3,000 premium over the non-hybrid Camry. Toyota Camry Hybrid 2012

 

Lexus ES 300hLexus ES 300h puts you in an entry-level luxury sedan that requires fewer expensive stops at the gas station. Your friends will be impressed with the quiet elegance of the exterior, Takumi hand-stitched leather, and beautiful bamboo steering wheel. This luxury sedan delivers 40 city, 39 highway, and 40-combined mpg. The Lexus ES 300h starts at less than $38,900. Pay extra for a panoramic sunroof and safety features such as adaptive cruise control and lane keep.

 

Avalon HybridToyota Avalon Hybrid gives you the same hybrid drive system as the Lexus ES 300h but costs almost $3,500 less due to a premium rather than luxury cache. It has more room and premium appointments than the popular Camry Hybrid. The new Avalon Hybrid offers a big-boost in mileage with 40 city, 39 highway, and 40 mpg combined. Sorry, you can’t lower the back seat for more cargo.

 

 

With high oil prices, hybrids are more popular than ever.  People have their favorite hybrid. Perhaps your favorite does not have quite the mileage of the above. Car owners that really want to reduce their gasoline use and carbon footprint are lining up to buy new plug-in hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt and pure battery-electrics such as the Nissan LEAF. Best Plug-in Hybrids and Battery Electric Cars

You can get good mileage without having to spend over $20,000 for a hybrid. Good mileage is available with the Fiat 500, Smart Fortwo, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Chevy Cruze, and MiniCooper. If you spend most of your time on freeways, turbo diesels are appealing alternative to hybrids.

This top 10 hybrid comparison includes the hybrid cars available for sale in the United States this year. Therefore it does not include the Honda Fit Hybrid and Toyota Yaris Hybrid, which we hope to see in the U.S. in the future. The list is commercially available cars and not specialty and conversions that might show-up in a few fleets and garages.

Cash Savings and Carbon Footprints

As I was being video taped, an interviewer asked me why anyone would buy a hybrid when they could not cost justify the added cost. I answered that when I bought my 2002 Prius, I paid about $5,000 more than a comparable non-hybrid, saved $1,000 per year for 7 years, then sold it for $4,000 more than a non-hybrid. For me it was a money maker. For those that don’t drive much, a hybrid may not save. Some hybrids are about performance and not saving money. In cities like San Francisco and New York, where taxis cover 90,000 miles per year, most buy hybrids and pay for the hybrid in months with major fuel savings.

Hybrids with the best mileage save at the pump year after year. They make the United States more energy secure. The U.S. is presently quite vulnerable to oil supply disruption, since 95 percent of U.S. transportation now depends on oil. Hybrids help clear the air with lower emissions.

The best hybrids emit less than half the greenhouse gases of average cars, which produce 400 grams CO2-equivalent per mile, and a third of most SUVs. For example, the Toyota Prius c only emits 179 grams per mile; add another 43 grams per mile to include the lifetime emissions required to mine the materials and manufacture the car. This 222 g CO2e/mile (US EPA GREET 2) gets us close to the 2025 U.S. CAFÉ standards, twelve years early.

From practical hatchbacks, to crossovers with the room of SUVs, to luxury sedans, you now have unprecedented choice in hybrid cars. Enjoy the drive.

Best Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars