2014 Lexus CT 200h Road Test

This luxury hybrid hatchback earns its keep in this growing segment.

What It Is
An entry-level luxury hybrid hatchback.
Best Thing
Great fuel economy and hatchback versatility.
Worst Thing
Road and engine noise leak into the cabin.
Snap Judgment
The 2014 Lexus CT 200h is a strong contender in both the entry-level luxury and hybrid segments.


Toyota has been at the forefront of the hybrid game since the inception of the technology, and now, Lexus is continuing in that grain by offering hybridized versions of many of its models. However, the CT 200h is one of the first hybrid-only models that Lexus currently offers. This entry-level luxury hatch is ideal for those with small families or individuals looking to get a little more bang for their buck. While the CT has been out for quite some time and even has an F Sport variant, it's been quite some time since we've been behind the wheel. We took it out for a week to get a feel for everything it has to offer, from hybrid performance to utility and usability. Read on to hear what we thought of the 2014 Lexus CT 200h.

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What We Drove

With a base price of $32,050, the 2014 Lexus CT 200h is a solid entry-level luxury vehicle, especially when you factor in fuel savings due to the hybrid powertrain. Although our model didn't feature too many additions, we tacked on the Leather package for Navigation ($2,145), a navigation system ($3,490), and intuitive park assist ($500), bringing that price to $39,095, including the $910 destination charge.

Powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder Electric Drive Motor with the Lexus Hybrid Drive ECVT, our test model offered plenty of power. Standard features included power-adjustable seats, a NuLuxe interior trim, power sunroof, selectable drive modes, keyless entry and ignition, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and much more. Safety features included ABS brakes, Safety Connect with automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, emergency assist button, enhanced roadside assistance, LED daytime Running lights, and a standard array of airbags.

The Commute

Hybrids have become today's commuter car because of their great fuel savings. But when driving down the 405 in the middle of rush hour traffic, many want a car that will offer them more than just good fuel economy. And the 2014 Lexus CT 200h delivers.

With comfortable and supportive leather-trimmed seats, drivers don't have to worry about sitting for extended periods of time. And while we aren't a huge fan of the infotainment controls, the system is easy and intuitive, if not a little distracting while driving. It's easy to connect your phone and stream music or make calls, and thanks to the steering wheel-mounted controls, possible distraction is lessened.

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The Grocery Run

Hatchbacks are notorious for offering a decent amount of cargo room when compared to their sedan counterparts, and the Lexus CT 200h is no exception. While the floor line may be higher than what we would have expected, there's still an abundance of room, especially with the seats folded down. Loading it up with groceries, weekend necessities, or even luggage provides little difficulty.

Thanks to the backup camera and great visibility, as well as tight handling, it's easy to get the CT in and out of any parking space. However, getting in and out of the car itself may prove a little tedious for taller passengers. The roofline is rather low, and since the car is low to the ground, passengers have to adjust. The back seat is roomy and comfortable, but we don’t recommend anyone over 6'2 to sit back there for extended periods of time.

The Weekend Fun

While this may not be the ideal car to cruise down Pacific Coast Highway in, the 2014 Lexus CT 200h still retains a sporty quality thanks to its hatchback design and peppy engine. Although acceleration was slow from a complete stop, it got up to speed fairly quickly for a hybrid of its size without too much overworking of the engine. The handling on the CT lets you throw it around corners slightly faster than you may normally take them, making this hatch just that much more enjoyable.

However, not everything about this car had us smiling. The brakes were pretty aggravating. Not that they didn't work, but how they felt and sounded. Many hybrids have this squishy quality to their brakes that's hard to understand unless you've driven them. It makes for a squeaky sound when they're pressed, and a hum as the re-gen kicks in. Although this may be something we could get used to given enough time, it's one of the main things that had us thinking of other options.

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Summary

Hybrids and electric vehicles are becoming more mainstream as we get closer to the time when our vehicles will have to hit a certain mpg number. Because of that, more and more automakers are pushing to broaden their lineups. Lexus now offers a hybrid variant for the majority of its lineup, and the 2014 CT 200h provides a good deal. Rated average among its competition in terms of fuel economy and price, while offering plenty of amenities and luxury features, we feel the CT should be at the top of your shopping list. But also check out Audi's newest entry coming later this year in the form of the A3 e-tron.

Spec Box

Price-as-tested: $39,095
Fuel Economy
EPA City: 43
EPA Highway: 40
EPA Combined: 42
Cargo Space: 14.3 cubic feet
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Excellent
Estimated Combined Range: 500 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Excellent

Notebook Quotes

"This car is definitely not for everyone, especially those looking for Lexus' signature power and smoothness. But I did enjoy its nimble nature and fantastic fuel economy." -Kelly Pleskot, Online Editor

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