LEXUS CT200h PRESTIGE
price $39,990 NEIL DOWLING puts two trendsetters chasing the same upmarket crowd through their paces
Value This is a first for Lexus in that it combines FWD, four cylinders and, at $39,990, is the cheapest on the block. Cynics say it’s a Prius with an uglier body but in fact it only shares the base drivetrain and some chassis parts. It certainly doesn’t drive like a Prius. The price is a showroom lure and you’ll see this and want more.
Bamboo and charcoal (audio speakers) and plantderived material (luggage floor) all play a role in making this car reflect the promise of sustainability. The hybrid system is adjustable in power output to suit your mood, while there are suspension tower struts that act as
vibration and NVH cancellation devices.
Not great. The guy who did the front and threequarter flanks went to lunch and someone finished off the rear, which consists of an awkward hip line, flicked-up side glass and an angular wrap-around piece of glass. That aside, it’s a neat and tidy car.
Inside it’s much better --beautifully made and laid out.
This gets full marks for its five-star crash rating, eight airbags, stability control, brake assist and all the other necessities. More than that, it has advanced control systems thanks to its hybrid drivetrain, which minimises wheelspin and maximises traction.
The hybrid works well, with four distinct driving modes that change it from a highly efficient, lowenergy slug into a hatch that will really turn it on. The combination of the 1.8-litre petrol and electric motor produces 133kW/349Nm and will run to 100km/h in 10.3 seconds, averaging 4.1L/100km.