Lexus CT200h vs Ford Focus

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Due to the travel policy we have at work we can't use our own cars for journeys over 100 miles. This ends up meaning I have to hire a car and this week it was a 16 plate Ford Focus which leads onto this post. You see when I was considering changing my car earlier this year I had the option of going the brand new route with the likes of the Focus or picking up a "premium" model that was a year or two old. Given the fact I became a member here last month you can probably tell which route I went in the end :smile:

Before this week I hadn't actually driven the latest generation of Focus although I had put quite a few miles on the previous gen with an old employers pool cars. I was quite pleased actually when the Enterprise guy pulled up in the Focus as we usually end up with previous gen Astras from Europcar which are fine but nothing special. I'm not 100% sure if it was Zetec or Titanium as it wasn't just the straight model spec (had satnav and 17" alloys) and the Ecoboost 1 litre 125PS engine.

The engine was of particular interest as the CT200h takes a different approach to fuel efficiency. Now for comparison sake it also helps I did an Edinburgh to Stafford run in my CT200h just a fortnight ago and this week I did Edinburgh to Sheffield in the Focus so similar mileage (530-560) over the same kind of roads (A class trunk and motorway). Well purely on the trip computer readout, which are often up to 5mpg too optimistic, the Focus did 47 MPG whereas the CT200h did 56 MPG. With the help of the electric motor the CT200h feels similar to the Focus in terms of pulling power although with the CVT the CT200h is more relaxing in stop-start traffic queues. The 3 cylinder thrum in the Focus was well insulated so at higher engine speeds it was quieter than the CT200h. Overall the CT200h probably wins but there isn't much in it, in my opinion and if you were doing that kind of mileage regularly then the IS300h or a diesel of some kind would probably be more suited than either of these.

Driving dynamic wise the Focus wins. Well I could elaborate and say the CT200h feels slightly more planted, probably due to the additional weight and lower seating position, but the Focus wins on the fun factor with better steering weight that varies with the speed and suspension which soaks up bumps better although it did have slightly higher profile tyres too. Keeping in mind this was a back to back on motorway miles the CT200h is definitely going to beat the Focus in town with a quieter cabin and CVT saving your left arm and foot (or right).

Equipment and cabin wise is where I find it harder to decide. The Focus had lumbar support which should be standard in the CT200h IMO and the armrest was in a better position. Probably due to being a newer model the entertainment system in the Focus was a touch screen affair with decent SatNav that also showed the next turn in the colour display of the trip computer, which I found particularly handy. The responsiveness of the Sync2 system was just as frustrating as the CT200h however with obvious lag between selecting something and the screen refreshing. On the other hand the plastics and seats in the Focus, while not horrible, definitely felt lower rent in line with the price tag. Overall I think I prefer the cabin in my CT200h and the rotary dial system while, perhaps some might say old fashioned, is fine as saves annoying fingerprints which showed up on the Ford's screen.

All in all I'm satisfied I made the right choice with the CT200h but it was an interesting experience to compare it with another manufacturers C segment effort. 

Has anyone else had a similar experience or perhaps switched to Lexus having owned a one of the high volume mid size hatchbacks previously?

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You have to remember that the CT is pretty old now by car standard - it first came out in 2011 and therefore 5 years old. A new model is coming out next year - should be a very interesting car.

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My other half has the CT I have a 15 plate titanium X focus, the 1.5 ecoboost auto. 

I love my focus, but I prefer the drive in the CT, the new CT will be out soon so that will be interesting. 

My next car will be either a CT or the IS300h. 

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