New Lexus, a tempting premium hybrid hatchback

NEW car launches usually result in the prices of the latest model being higher than the outgoing car but luxury Japanese car maker Lexus has just done the opposite by actually reducing the prices of their new CT200h range of hybrid cars which makes a welcome change for potential buyers writes Bryan Longworth.

The model that has not changed is the CT 200h Advance that was my test car and which sits in the middle of the range at £23,995 with an excellent fuel consumption and CO2 emissions so low that no road tax is necessary and there are also favourable benefit in kind allowances and insurance premiums.

Lexus describe the CT200h as the market’s only full hybrid luxury hatchback and it has also been referred to as the Lexus equivalent of the Toyota Prius - Lexus is the luxury brand of Toyota and is now well established in the UK after a slow start to their UK operation.

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The most dramatic exterior change to this Lexus is the large signature grille which is now wider and lower to emphasise a ground hugging look that has really improved the appearance of the car.

Inside the cabin there is also a new look including a slimline seven inch monitor on the centre console for facilities such as audio and sat nav with a circular control replacing the computer style mouse that was not very user friendly.

There have also been changes under the skin to deliver better ride quality stability and handling and I must say that the steering and handling qualities of the test car provided really enjoyable motoring which will impress owners of this model.

Power comes from a 1.8-litre petrol engine with an electric motor that working in conjunction with each other provide a top speed of 112mph with a zero to 62mph time of 10.3 seconds and a combined fuel consumption of 74.3mpg (the on board computer showed this to be well over 50mpg) and CO2 emissions of 94g/km.

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Transmission is by electric CVT which provided smooth changes but there were no steering wheel paddles for manual changes although there is a facility on the gear shift lever for improving engine braking for situations such as travelling down steep hills.

There is a reasonably sized rear load area with space for valuables and there is also a space saver spare tyre underneath with a special bag for the punctured tyre to prevent it soiling luggage or shopping which is a nice touch and the first time I have come across such a facility.

The only feature I was not keen on was the foot operated parking brake which are now rather dated and an electronic brake would have been more suitable for the Lexus because I know quite a few drivers particularly the disabled who do not like such parking brakes.

Improvements to the CT200h have made it a much better car starting from just under £21,000 making it an ideal premium hybrid hatchback especially for motorists aspiring to upgrade and get a quality car at a tempting price with all the financial advantages involving hybrid motoring.

Fact file:

Model: New Lexus CT200h Advance.

Power: 1.8-litre petrol engine and electric motor.

Transmission: CVT automatic.

Top speed: 112mph.

Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 10.3 seconds.

Fuel consumption: 74.3mpg combined.

CO2 emissions: 94g/km.

Price: £23,995 on the road.