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1000 Mile Review


Goggy
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I’ve just completed 1000 miles in my new CT200h so here are my thoughts. I am not a regular reviewer, so please don't expect expert details, these are just my thoughts.

Firstly, why did I buy one?

I was due to replace my nine year old Citroen next year but due to several faults I decided to buy now before the repair costs got silly. I was looking for the following:

1). A medium sized five door hatchback, but with a sporty feel.

2). Reliability

3). Economic with a high MPG, at least 40mpg anyway.

4). Auto box.

5). Good dealership support.

6). Comfort. I wanted a ‘feel good’ factor.

7). Build quality.

8). Smooth ride.

Having read various reports about the ride, the last one was a concern, but we’ll see.

I looked at several cars but quite early on it was soon down to a German or Japanese car due to reliability and quality of build. The Toyota Prius was a possibility, but I have always felt it is a bit ugly and the one I test drove rattled! The Audi A3 is nice, but after contacting a dealer and being promised a test drive in an auto within two days, but then not hearing from them again, I was not impressed. A VW Golf was also in the frame, but amazingly I had three test drives cancelled by two dealerships so I gave up on them too. In fact I have been passenger in many Golf’s, so I know they drive well. If I was to wear my sensible hat I maybe should have bought one, but they are so boring. Sorry, Golf owners, but they do nothing to me, I wanted something that gave me a bit of a ‘feel good factor’, and Golf’s just don’t do that for me.

In the end I test drove a CT200h and was sold. It ticked all the boxes except one and that was the ride. There is no doubt It is unsettled at low speed, but not enough to stop me buying one, I’m just disappointed that Lexus decided to give a luxury car such a firm ride.

Anyway, 1000 miles on here is what I think.

I went for the base ‘SE-I’ model, with fabric seats as my wife is not keen on leather and I am not bothered either way. We did get the front and rear parking sensors though.

Comfort/Space.

The seats are very comfortable, and it’s easy to find an acceptable driving position. The interior is nicely laid out and looks good quality with a mixture of plastic and leather. It’s a nice place to be, it feels like a luxury car, which is what I wanted. There are plenty of trays and places to store bits and pieces. The dash is nicely laid out and the leather steering wheel looks good and feels nice. The legroom in the front seats is ample. Legroom in the back is reasonable, but not as much as some hatches. Most adults and children will be comfortable but tall adults may feel cramped. As it is just the two of us the rear legroom is not an issue as 95% of the time it will just us in the car. But it’s handy to have four seats and five doors for when you do have extra people to ferry around. The boot is not huge but it is comparable to other hatches, some being a little bigger and some smaller. The back seats fold down easily and the bar across the back can also be removed with ease. There is also an additional area of space under the main boot floor for any extras you may want to carry on a permanent basis.

Driving.

The car is a very simple to drive, with the little gear stick for the CVT gearbox easy to use. There are three drive modes, normal, eco and sport. That’s the round knob (drive mode selector) on the middle of the consol. Turn to the left for Eco, turn right for Sport and push to go back to normal mode, easy. There is also a little button for EV mode (electric mode for heavy traffic) but as this is not for driving at speed I’ve not really used that much. The default ‘normal mode’ is fine for most of the driving anyone would do, but if you want to have more fun the ‘sport mode’ is easily selected. It gives you a more responsive feel and really makes the car quite quick, well, quickly enough for me anyway. Even if you don’t want to use it that much, it’s nice to feel you can just turn the knob and get the extra power for overtaking or climbing a steep hill. The ‘eco mode’ stops you being over keen on the accelerator pedal, it won’t let you, it controls your use of acceleration. It’s quite clever to be honest and as long as you are happy to proceed in a relaxed manor it is fine. Just don’t expect lightening acceleration, it just won’t happen. For that you go to sport mode. As I said at the start, this is a very easy car to drive; in fact it’s a joy.

Performance.

This is a hybrid car, not a sports car. If I wanted lightening speed I would have bought a 2.0 litre petrol car or a 2.2 turbo diesel. The acceleration is acceptable in normal mode, whilst in sport mode it is as much as I want.

Economy

Lexus say this car can do up to 68mpg. I do wish car manufacturers would give more realistic figures. I’m not sure how anyone could get anywhere near that figure. So far I have averaged 50mpg, which is still reasonable but well short of the 68mpg advertised. It’s fair to say on longer journeys the mpg average is more like 55-58mpg, but most of my journeys are less than 5 miles so the average is lower than most people will be able to achieve. If I stay in eco mode for longer drives I get up to 55-60mpg. In sport mode 45-47 is achievable for me, but on longer journeys 50mpg should be about right. Overall I think 55mpg for normal driving would be about right for most drivers.

Ride

This is the only area that is disappointing for me. This is a luxury car, so why on earth have Lexus made the ride so firm? I know they probably wanted it to appeal to younger drivers, and therefore wanted it to have a sporty feel, but it is quite firm for a luxury car. At high speed the ride is acceptable, it’s just at lower speeds it feels unsettled, even shaky. I have 17” alloys on mine, the 16” option would have been a slightly better choice but the difference is hardly noticeable. I think maybe Lexus added the 16” option in response to the negative feedback from early road test reports. But it makes little difference; they need to address this if they want this car to become the best hatch on the market.

Handling

This car handles really well. There is no body roll going round corners. Steering is precise; it goes where you point it.

Overall

The Lexus CT200h is a joy to drive despite the firm ride which is surprising to find in a luxury car. I am very happy with mine and would gladly recommend one to anyone looking for a quality hatch which is economical, reliable, fun to drive and looks the business. If the rear seats had a little more leg room and the ride was softer this would be a Golf beater.

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Just thought I would add my own observations having done just over 1000 miles. SE L without the nav package

I agree with all of the points made by Goggy especially the "joy to drive" comment although it has taken me this long to come around. I downsized from an RX300 which I really loved but could no longer afford the running costs, still miss the power, driving position and huge load space though. whilst some of my comments are negatives they are more than balanced by the positives. In the real world this is a great car despite the bad mainly reviews.

Economy

Trip computer is currently showing 57.8 mpg but calculated is closer to 54 mpg without any real change in driving style. I am unfortunately becoming obsessed with improving the figure, very sad I know. It does make the RX 21 mpg look a bit sick

Performance

Normal is pretty good for most driving situations I think and is reasonably brisk to 40 mph after which the engine note becomes unpleasant. Sport mode gets you from a standing start much more smartly but the 40 mph thing is still an issue. It will still go beyond 40 but the engine is revving at 4500 or so and squealing rather nastily for more gradual speed increase and makes me want to back off rather than keep going so this is where I have had to modify the way I drive. Steady acceleration as opposed to a quick dash is best. Steep hills also cause the same sort of thing and this is where IMHO the transmission and engine combination really do struggle. I forgive these negatives as they, for me, are outweighed by the economy and overall very pleasant driving experience, oh and it is very quiet, nearly caused a Sainsburys car park attendant to have a toilet incident as I approached the exit barrier. He recovered manfully and asked If I has stalled it LOL

Comfort/Space

Minor niggle that actually annoys me quite a lot. The sun visors dont slide so are bloody useless in the side position. the 6 speaker audio system is nowhere near as good as the RX but as time is passing I am becoming less aware of the difference and it isnt actually that bad

Ride

I too have the 17" rims and yes it is exactly as Goggy describes but I do think that things are softening a bit since brand new. Potholes are still to be avoided at all costs, as are manhole covers and grates

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I had one as a courtesy car yesterday and liked it more than I thought I would.

I would describe the ride as firm but comfortable. It had 17" wheels but I didn't think the ride was too hard, just right on the right side of firm for tidy handling.

Sometimes I don't get motoring journos. I really think they spout rubbish sometimes and half the time we end up believing what they say. I honestly thought I was going to drive something that drove as if it was on blocks of granite yesterday, but was very pleasantly surprised.

Perhaps I am used to firm riding cars, but I found it fine over our pot hole ridden excuses for roads.

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That's a fair point to be honest. I do think it is firm, but so are many other cars. My son-in-law said he thought it was fine and it's like his BMW Z3. Another friend said it was no firmer than is Skoda Octavia RS. So it may well be what some people like anyway. It's just I was expecting it to be softer than it was, as a luxury car should be. Had it been advertised as a sporty hatch, them maybe I would have been prepared for the firmer ride. Lastly, my old car was a Citroen C5, so one of the softest rides you can buy. So I hope I do not come across as being not happy. This car is a delight to drive and brings a smile to my face whenever I get in it. Buy one and you will be very happy, like me. :)

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I am very happy like you and it still surprises me that I look forward to driving it every day and as much as I loved my RX300 (probably for all the wrong reasons) it never gave me a buzz to be in it in the same way this CT200 does.......why is that?

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I've now had my CT200h for two months and have driven over 2000 miles. I like the car very much although it's not perfect. I went for the SE L-Premier with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). I didn't actually want this but it was the only Premier model in the showroom and I didn't want to wait until August for a new car to be delivered. Quite honestly, the ACC is a very expensive gimic which won't be used very often.

Although I am delighted with the car, it is far too expensive in my opinion. Only the tax concessions made it a worthwhile deal for me. Without that I would not have bought it.

The seats are very comfortable although I can't understand why the passenger seat doesn't have electric adjustment. I went for 16 inch wheels. I certainly don't agree that there is little difference between the ride on 16 inch or 17 inch wheels - it's like comparing chalk & cheese!! I don't find the ride firm at all.

I drive 90% of the time in Normal Mode and I'm averaging 58 miles per gallon. The Sport Mode is plenty fast enough for me, but this is not a car for racing away at the lights!

The Mark Levinson system is good but probably not worth the premium price - and I consider myself to be an 'audio buff!!". The CD to Hard Drive ripping can be infuriating as the Gracenote system only recognises certain CDs.

The Servicing Plan I was offered was outrageous bearing in mind that servicing should be cheap, as stated on the Lexus website. They reckon that break pads will last for up to 70,000 miles! Pull the other one!! I will be shopping around for servicing as I feel that Lexus Woodford are too expensive. Any suggestions?

Bearing in mind the £5000 Government concession, £33,800 list price including ACC is far too high. Expect the prices to drop when sales stay below targets! OK, I didn't pay list price, and the tax concessions make it a fair deal for a business purchase, but as a private purchase I don't think it's viable. The great thing is that I only need to fill up every two weeks, and even then, the tank only takes about £43 of petrol at the current high prices!

Be careful when you open the front doors onto a pavement if it is uneven, as you'll catch the door underneath.

The boot is fine for a couple of suitcases as we just discovered having been on holiday, but you will have to remove the bar as the load area is not high enough which in turn means you must put the rear seats down. So no good for a family holiday!

Oh, and although Arctic Pearl looks great when it's clean, it's impossible to keep clean, especially at the back!

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