|Still an attractive car, the CT 200h looks best in F Sport trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Updated just a few years ago, the CT remains fairly fresh looking thanks to Lexus’ new spindle grille and aggressive frontal body cladding, while its profile and sporty five-door body style has always been good looking.
|The CT 200h’s rear design has always looked good. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
|Even the F Sport’s larger 17-inch rims seem a bit small, but they provide a comfortable ride. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Last year saw the introduction of a new cheaper F Sport Series 1 package, which provided all the visual upgrades that arguably make the car look better, including the more aggressive grille with integrated LED headlights and LED fog lamps, larger 17-inch F Sport rims on 215/45 rubber, a sport suspension, and bigger rear rooftop spoiler, while also adding metal treadplates, a unique F Sport steering wheel, metal-look inlays, aluminum sport pedals, a conventionally sized power moonroof
|The CT 200h interior is reasonably up to date when the "display audio" system is included. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Seriously, you can still get a CT 200h with a narrow one-inch-tall black-on-green monochromatic dot matrix-style display, so if you’re vehemently opposed to all things modern this car in base trim is your retro ride. Of note, Lexus offers an Executive package that adds display audio and much more to the non-F Sport model, with features like a bigger backup camera no longer housed within the rearview mirror (the latter is now standard, however), navigation, voice activation, 10-speaker audio, auto-dimming rearview and side mirrors, a garage door opener, rain-sensing wipers, LED headlights, leather upholstery, driver’s seat and side mirror memory, bigger 17-inch wheels and tires (the base model gets rather puny looking 16s), and more.
The F Sport Series 1 package includes some of these items, such as the rain-sensing wipers, the upgraded backup camera, and
|Nice colourful gauge cluster only has a tiny monochromatic trip computer. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
If all of this sounds too rich for your tastes, you can simply get the CT 200h with a just-over-base Touring package that adds the LED headlights, LED fog lamps, 17-inch alloys, aluminum treadplates, and powered moonroof from the Executive package for a new total of $36,100 before freight and fees. On that note, the F Sport Series 1 package ups the CT 200h price to $38,500, the Executive package bumps it up further to $40,600, and the F Sport Series 2 package pushes it to $41,350.
|The infotainment display is large enough, but the graphics are a bit dated. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
|The centre stack is nicely laid out and easy to use. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
|Like most Lexus models, the seats are excellent. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
It has always been a pleasant car to drive, with sporty handling and a very nice ride. Of course, I think this can be said of most entry-level premium cars, but few offer the aforementioned fuel economy or this model’s penchant for diehard dependability. Its five-door hatchback body style is practical too, albeit rear cargo space is limited to just 405 litres (14.3 cubic feet) when rear passengers are aboard and 965 litres (34.1 cubic feet)
|Rear seat roominess is fairly good for the class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
I suppose its upcoming cancellation should come as no surprise, with both Lexus’ Canadian and U.S. operations announcing there won’t be a 2018 model. A refreshed version will soldier on in other markets, probably including Europe where hatchback love reigns supreme and the CT 200h has enjoyed slightly better sales per capita, but it’s seen its best days here. So consider this a warning if you’ve always wanted one yet hesitated, or currently own an older version and would like to trade up. I would totally understand your reasoning if you did, but in the same breath I’d recommend testing one of its rivals, such as the previously noted
|Cargo space is sparse, and there’s only a 60/40-split seatback. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Right about now I feel as if this should be some sort of a swansong article, paying tribute to a premium car that’s finally on its way “out to pasture” as the much overused saying goes, but despite enjoying plenty of weeklong tests with the CT 200h over the years, it never imprinted on my heart like, say, Toyota’s FJ Cruiser, or even the automaker’s wonderfully practical and quite stylish Venza, or for that matter ultimately oddball Scion iQ (what can I say, I have a thing for pugs). Want to make me cry? Kill the Toyota 86. As for the Lexus CT 200h, even in F Sport trim, its final departure merely seems like the inevitable end of a so-so movie that’s honestly taken too long to wrap up. I, for one, just want to skip ahead to the part where Lexus introduces its next entry-level model. They really need to get it right this time. Fingers crossed…
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