One of our quite honestly favored small sport luxury hybrids rolls into 2015 with a number of new features to keep it fresh. The Lexus CT 200h with its 42 combined mpg gets more connected with new infotainment options that are must haves.
iPhone users will be happy now that a newly standard Siri Eyes Free Mode lets you call contacts, get turn-by-turn navigation, as well as select and play music from iTunes and much more. Additionally, the Lexus Enform App Suite gets upgrades including iHeartRadio 4.0 and Slacker, expanding the available music sources.
If you opt for the Navigation system, you will find it how has more voice commands. An updated HomeLink system is easier to program. A new two-way communication feature lets you know the door is closed so you don’t need to wait or revisit your home to verify.
Rated at 43 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, and 42 mpg combined, the CT 200h is loosely based on the mechanical genius of the perennial Toyota Prius. Given this, it features the same 1.8-liter in-line four-cylinder gas engine teamed to an electric motor/generator for a combined output of 134 horsepower.
A second motor in the hybrid system serves as both engine starter and generator to charge the hybrid battery pack. The power all flows seamlessly through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) which makes the best use of the instant torque of the electric motor and quickly finds the optimal gear ratios for the CT 200 more performance oriented character.
You of course get a drive mode selection which offers four distinct settings of Normal, Sport, Eco or EV. Normal mode has an essentially linear throttle response that gives naturally progressive power. Sport mode yields a more responsive and dynamic driving experience.
2014_Lexus_CT_200h_042In Eco mode, air conditioning settings are adjusted and the throttle response is reduced relative to the pedal angle to emphasize fuel economy. Under certain circumstances, the EV mode can allow the CT 200h to be driven short distances using only the electric motors.
The popular F-Sport trim grade added in 2014 comes across for 2015 as well. It gets all the handsome visuals of a mesh style Lexus spindle grille, black contrast roof, rear spoiler and 17” alloy wheels. It also gets a sportier suspension with stiffer dampers and springs.
While we compare the CT 200h often to the Toyota Prius, the Lexus shares nothing in terms of exterior sheetmetal or interior trims with the more utilitarian Toyota. The driving experience is engineered more to performance and the cabin every bit a Lexus when it comes to style and quality trappings.
We will bring you an updated drive review soon on the new 2015 CT 200h when we get behind the wheel of one later this year.