Lexus CT (2011-present)

The Lexus CT was the first premium hybrid hatchback but it's a little long in the tooth now

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Efficient petrol hybrid system
Excellent reliability record
Well-equipped

Weaknesses 

Firm ride on poor surfaces
Sluggish performance
Clunky interior software
Best New Discount

Lexus CT Hatchback 200h 1.8 f-sport 5dr cvt [premier pack/sunroof]

Total RRP £32,015

Your quote £28,015

You Save £4,000

The Lexus CT can make a genuine claim to be a groundbreaking car. When it was first launched in 2011, it was the first premium hatchback to go on sale with a hybrid powertrain, taking on diesel versions of the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series (and, the following year, the Mercedes A-Class).

When it was launched, the CT looked stylish and, as a hybrid, piqued the interest of many buyers, to the extent that it became the best-seller in the Lexus model range.

However, after six years on the market, the CT is now looking a little long in the tooth, with a series of revisions in late 2017 being the second facelift (the first was in 2014). The latest changes – at a point where we’d usually be expecting to hear of a second-generation car (seven years is the normal lifetime for a model) – have been the mildest of nips and tucks, sharpening up the CT’s nose and rear.

Up front, the CT has the Lexus spindle grille (which is matter of taste) and a redesigned front bumper, LED headlights and L-shaped daytime running lights. At the rear, there are also new lights and bumper, with new alloy wheel designs also replacing former versions.

The interior – which has also had a few nips and tucks in 2014 and again in 2017 – is a comfortable place to be. All bar the base SE grade have leather upholstery and the cabin looks every inch that of the premium hatchback. The space is decent all round, with enough room in the rear for adults.

The assumption would be that 375-litre boot would be compromised by the need to store batteries under its (raised) floor, but it's still superior to all of its rivals, except the Audi A3 (not including the plug-in hybrid e-tron variant) and it’s large enough for a few weekend bags or the weekly shop.

The one drawback in the cabin is the infotainment system, which has a seven-inch screen as standard in most versions, or a 10.3-inch screen for the Premium cars (and as an option on Luxury and F Sport trims) after the late 2017 revisions. Lexus has opted for a centre-console-located mouse-like controller for the system, but it feels slow, clunky, inaccurate and – worst of all – distracting. It also now feels terribly outdated, in the modern era of touchscreens and voice control.

The petrol-electric hybrid was a breakthrough when the CT was launched, but there was always the suspicion that some of the diesels in the the 1 Series and A3 line-ups were a match for it in the efficiency stakes. The subsequent arrival of the Volkswagen Golf GTE and Audi A3 e-tron – which are plug-in hybrids (the CT’s relies on regeneration and energy management systems to top up the battery) – has challenged Lexus’s primacy, with both having lower official CO2 emissions and higher (albeit laboratory-tested) fuel consumption figures.

The two Volkswagen Group cars also have a very flexible and highly usable 1.4 TFSI petrol engine and dual-clutch gearbox, which beats the CT’s continuously variable transmission (CVT) hands-down.

Lexus also made a great deal of the CT’s apparent sporty handling (especially in F Sport guise), but it’s certainly not a match for its rivals in that department. It doesn’t feel particularly well balanced (possibly because of the batteries at the rear), seems to lack grip in fast corners and the steering is little too heavy for the car. The ride is also too firm, especially on British urban roads with its humps and ruts, which undermines the relaxation felt when in hybrid mode around town.

The good news is that post 2017 revision models come with Lexus Safety System+, which offers buyers a suite of the latest safety technology, plus the CT has a superb reputation for reliability, so there should be very few problems with ownership.

The Lexus CT is certainly an interesting car with, on the face of it, all the elements to challenge in the premium hatchback market – especially now that there’s so much uncertainty about diesel variants. It rather blots its copybook with its on-road characteristics and a user-unfriendly infotainment system, but low running costs and exemplary reliability will be appealing to many consumers.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 14:30

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years / 60,000 miles
Boot size: 
375 litres
Width: 
1765mm
Length: 
4355mm
Height: 
1455mm
Tax: 
£100 in first year, £140 thereafter

Lexus CT Prices

Lexus CT F-Sport

200h 1.8 f-sport 5dr cvt

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £23,515

You could save up to: £3500

200h 1.8 f-sport 5dr cvt [leather/premium nav]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £26,210

You could save up to: £3800

200h 1.8 f-sport 5dr cvt [leather]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £25,535

You could save up to: £3725

200h 1.8 f-sport 5dr cvt [premier pack/sunroof]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £28,015

You could save up to: £4000

200h 1.8 f-sport 5dr cvt [premier pack]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £27,340

You could save up to: £3925

200h 1.8 f-sport 5dr cvt [premium nav]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £24,725

You could save up to: £3635

Lexus CT Luxury

200h 1.8 luxury 5dr cvt

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £22,615

You could save up to: £3400

200h 1.8 luxury 5dr cvt [leather/prem nav/sunroof]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £24,860

You could save up to: £3650

200h 1.8 luxury 5dr cvt [leather/premium nav]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £24,185

You could save up to: £3575

200h 1.8 luxury 5dr cvt [leather/sunroof]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £24,185

You could save up to: £3575

200h 1.8 luxury 5dr cvt [leather]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £23,510

You could save up to: £3500

Lexus CT Premier

200h 1.8 premier 5dr cvt

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £26,665

You could save up to: £3850

200h 1.8 premier 5dr cvt [sunroof]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £27,340

You could save up to: £3925

Lexus CT SE

200h 1.8 se 5dr cvt

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 74.3mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £20,363

You could save up to: £3152

200h 1.8 se 5dr cvt [plus pack]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £21,715

You could save up to: £3300