Lexus Ct Hatchback

Review Of The Lexus CT Hatchback

The new Lexus CT Hatchback is a mean-looking hybrid car that’s here to help you save the planet in style. Boasting a top quality interior, super low CO2 emissions and a strong reliability record, it’s a car made for the 21st-century driver who wants some fun while doing their bit for the environment.

From a marketing standpoint, Lexus are targeting customers who are looking at the likes of the Toyota Prius and the Toyota Auris Hybrid, but who might fancy an upgrade. We’ll be checking both those cars out in this review.

On The Road

One of the problems that soon becomes apparent once you fire up this rather bold electric car is that it’s not as sporty as you’d expect. From the outside, it certainly suggests you’ll be in for a savage driving experience. On the road, it’s a different story.

The steering is too slow to respond for our liking, while a 0-62 time of 10.3 seconds is disheartening. That’s despite the electric motor and 1.8-litre petrol engine producing a very reasonable 134bhp.

edited picture of a white lexus ct hatchback driving past lights

That raw sex appeal that Lexus’ usually have once you put the pedal to the metal is sadly absent. It’s just not that much fun. There is a Sport driving setting, but switching to it doesn’t really improve things. The steering still lacks feedback.

Worse still, the CVT automatic transmission is slow and noisy. So even when you do go full-pelt, you have to put up with a bit of a din.

And like lots of hybrid cars, the brakes are a bit unschooled. They’re too sharp, which means you’ll stop more harshly than you’d like.

However, there are positives. The CT Hatchback is easy enough to drive when you’re just pottering about the town, and it bursts out of junctions and traffic with haste. It takes corners well, too, and the steering is overall well-weighted. You will notice the heavy batteries, though, while body roll is an issue in tighter corners.

All in all, it drives better than last time. But if it’s aiming to compete with the likes of BMW in this sector, Lexus still has a long way to go.

Lexus CT Hatchback Interior, Design & Build

the interior of a lexus ct hatchback with leather seats

One area of the car that gets big thumbs up is the interior. It’s luxurious, quiet and boasts unmatched build quality. The materials used are upmarket, and few seats in any car are as comfortable.

You can also customise your CT from a selection of trim options. Be warned – there are loads. You might need a few days to pick the one that’s right for you.

The Premier CT Hatchback models get a brand new, narrower 4.2” screen that looks awesome. It comes with a neat sat-nav that you control with a rotary dial. The steering wheel is also brand new, as is the gear selector. Both come from the sumptuous Lexus IS model, and help this interior stand out.

The cabin is further enhanced by the mouse-like quietness of the hybrid rig. On the move, it’s all-but silent. For this reason it’s such a shame that Lexus’ trademark comfort is missing. The suspension is firmer than we’ve become accustomed to. Riding along rougher roads will cause a few jolts to reverberate into the cabin.

Worse still, the unpleasant grating noise of the CVT automatic becomes noticeable once you work the engine hard.

The practicality of the cabin is affected by the hybrid batteries. They’re located beneath the rear seats, which means backseat passengers sit higher up than they’d like. This means headroom is average. Legroom is not excellent, either.

The boot measures just 375-litres, its size also affected by the batteries. However, this is a competitive size in this class, as all hybrid models struggle with the same issue. If you fold the rear seat, you can increase the boot space to 985-litres. It’s not such a deep boot, though.

Equipment & Safety Of The Lexus CT Hatchback

Standard kit is, as expected, good. The entry level model gets the likes of LED daytime running lights, 15” alloys, and a 7” infotainment system. It also gets twin-zone climate control, Bluetooth and a DAB radio.

The Executive trim is new for 2017. It comes with 17” alloys, a reversing camera, Lexus Navigation, and cruise control. The Advance model, meanwhile, adds heated front seats, keyless entry and sat nav.

The Luxury line throws in more leather upholstery, the F Sport adds sports suspension and darkened alloys, while the Premier model rounds things off with LED front fog lights, a premium sat-nav, a 4.2” screen, a reversing camera, and LED headlights.

In terms of safety, the CT was awarded all five stars when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP. Its standard safety kit includes electronic stability control and eight airbags.

Costs Of The Lexus CT Hatchback

Prices for the new car start out from £22,585 and rise to £30,000. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.

In terms of its running costs, the CT Hatchback does well. There is nothing to pay in tax, and the base-level S model can return 78.5mpg. All the other models hover around the 68mpg mark. This is reasonable, but the hybrid tech used by the CT is now dated, and there are cheaper diesel alternatives in the market.

All models occupy insurance group 15, except the group 17 Premier model.

Pros and Cons Of The Lexus CT Hatchback

Pros:

Low Emissions

Entry level models emit less than 75g/km of CO2, making it a perfect premium car for green-minded buyers.

Reliable

Its reliability record is strong (it came fourth in Driver Powers’ 2015 customer satisfaction survey). Lexus’ own reputation for reliability is already well-renowned.

Desirable

For the price, this is a premium-badged car that looks like a steal.

Cons:

Dated Hybrid Tech

The CT’s hybrid tech is old, heavy and not as economical as modern rivals.

Firm Ride

The firm ride, moreover, isn’t helped by sharp brakes. Not always a comfortable experience.

Can you see yourself driving in style in the Lexus CT Hatchback? First, let's explore their prestige history

Lexus CT Hatchback vs Toyota Auris Hybrid vs Toyota Prius

Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2017 Lexus CT Hatchback review.

Lexus CT Hatchback vs Toyota Auris Hybrid

The new Toyota Auris Hybrid might not have the outright sex appeal of a Lexus. But the good economy, a strong warranty and excellent reliability make it appealing to families.

The Auris doesn’t have any direct rivals as such, with hybrid tech still largely underused in its sector. But can it compete for your cash with the Lexus? It’s easy enough to drive around the town, where it feels right at home. But if you’re an enthusiast, it’s probably not going to satisfy you.

a blue Toyota Auris outside a city in beached area

A lot of this is down to the extra weight of the batteries and pair of motors. It’s a bit sloppy in corners, while it’s steering ultimately lacks feel.

It shares its power train with the Prius, and offers just the one engine. It’s an electric motor that combines with a 1.8-litre petrol to develop 168bhp. That’s decent, but it’s a shame that you can only pair it up with a CVT automatic gearbox. It’s a bit fussy. However, it does cut fuel economy and lets you rev freely.

On the flipside, it also makes the engine sound like you’re working it to death.

The engine itself does 0-62 in 10.9 seconds, which is a few tenths of a second slower than the Lexus CT Hatchback.

The Auris’ economy was always going to be good. After all, it was Toyota’s original idea with the Auris Hybrid to create a cheap-to-run car that’s good for the environment. As such, it can return 81mpg if you opt for the Active or Icon trim. That’s impressive, but all models return over 72mpg.

And although the car emits just 79g/km of CO2, that’s not enough to see it escape the London Congestion Charge.

Inside, the cabin is inoffensive and family friendly – but uninspiring. You’ll spot scratchier plastics here and there, and the overall quality falls short of the Lexus. However, it’s well-put-together and looks and feels solid enough.

We’re not sure why Toyota decided to place the digital clock so far away from all the other buttons and dials, though.

In terms of practicality, this hybrid version is just as practical as the standard Auris. There are plenty of cubbies to tuck your things away neat and tidily, and access is easy. There are no three-door models, and once you’re inside, leg and headroom is decent for all.

The boot is the same size as the standard Auris, measuring 360-litres. That’s a tad smaller than the Lexus, but it can be boosted to 1,200 by folding down the rear seats.

Price:

Lexus – £21,190 – £32,235 
Auris – £21,000 – £25,800

Lexus CT Hatchback vs Toyota Prius

dark red Toyota Prius parked on road

One of the first ever hybrid cars, the Toyota Prius is the most experienced in this review. But can it still compete with the slick new upstart, the Lexus CT?

It looks distinctive enough, although it’s very much a “love it or hate it” aesthetic. In terms of how it drives, there’s not a lot to argue with. Sure, it’s not much fun. But it’s more than capable, and it feels sprightly in the city.

It’s enjoyable, too. Its steering is now more precise, and there is less body lean. We’d like a bit more grip from its low-resistance tyres, but it’s a small criticism.

There is very little noise, which will be a bit unsettling if you’ve never driven a hybrid before. The brakes also feel a bit unnerving, thanks to the fact that the car uses energy from the brakes to recharge the batteries. Toyota say they’ve worked on reducing this effect, but you can still notice it.

The engine combines an electric motor with a 1.8-litre petrol engine to produce 168bhp. That’s enough to do 0-62 in 10.6 seconds, and it feels nippy enough. Go for the plug-in variant, and its 0-62 time is cut back to 11.1 seconds.

The cost of running a Prius is lower than ever, with Toyota claiming their plug-in variant returns 282mpg. This is down to the fact that the electric motor can run alone for 30 miles. To get anywhere near that number, you’d need to start your day with a fully charged battery.

Toyota say the standard Prius, meanwhile, is good for 94.1mpg. That’s still very good, but it’s more likely that you’ll return around 72 mpg. Which is also still good.

Step inside and you’ll be greeted by a smart, comfortable and top-quality interior. It’s quiet, too, with the engine barely making a peep as you go about your journey. The plug-in is a bit harsher, and can only sit two people in the rear.

Both look mostly the same inside, however, although the hybrid has more controls. It also gets a bigger 8” screen, whereas the standard Prius settles for a 7” screen.

In terms of practicality, the Prius is more usable than ever. Toyota has shrunk its batteries. and can now place them beneath the rear seats as opposed to the boot. This means the boot is able to measure a respectable 502-litres. However, to make the most of that space you’d need to load stuff to the rear windscreen. If you load only to the parcel shelf height, you get just 363-litres of space.

Other than that, interior space is good and the Prius feels airy and light.

Price:

Prius – £24,100 – £33,900

Verdict Of Our 2017 Lexus CT Hatchback Review

There aren’t too many premium-badged cars knocking around that can return 78.5mpg and which cost nothing to tax. And these low running costs and low emissions are chief among the CT’s selling points.

It’s also reliable, looks great, and boasts a very welcoming interior. The Lexus CT Hatchback is the hybrid of choice for green-minded buyers who make saving the planet look good.

Lexus CT hatchback in blue

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Related LEXUS CT HATCHBACK Articles

Review of the Model

Lexus CT Review

8th June 2016

The Lexus CT hatchback was first unveiled back in 2011, when it shook the automotive world simply because it was the first fully-hybrid luxury hatch. It was relatively inexpensive, and appealed to a new demographic of buyers. BMW and Mercedes quickly pricked up their ears and set about developing (pricier) contenders. Which then meant Lexus…

Presented by Will Titterington


 

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