The 2013 Lexus CT 200h may be in its third model year now, but it remainder the only occupant of its meticulous niche: the luxury compacted hybrid hatchback. It's the only compressed car from the luxury brand, now that it has silently killed the unsatisfactory HS 250h hybrid sedan after three years on the market and very few sales.
While the CT is lesser within and out than the Toyota Prius liftback model, it may require to some of the same buyers. It's a surprisingly likable, fun-to-drive, and feature-packed little tailgate, and if those car shoppers want the high mileage of a fusion but also aspiration a small more luxe than the top-level Prius, the CT 200h may be immediately the car for them.
The only ingredient of the Lexus CT it shares with the Prius is the power train: It has the similar 98-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and Hybrid Synergy Drive system. That scheme uses a couple of electric motor-generators powered by, a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack, located under the rear deck (which gives the CT an insufficiently superficial load yelp).
The battery stores the electrical energy formed on engine infested and during regenerative braking, and uses it to power the grip motor to propel the car on energy only (at low speeds and under light loads) and otherwise addition the engine torque.
But the CT's covert sauce turns out to be the alteration: It's far sportier following the wheel, though scarcely a hot hatch in the pattern of the Volkswagen GTI or Mazda Mazda3. By far the most fun is the bright Sport mode, which remaps the control responses of the accelerator and fusion system.
The Sport mode also cunningly renovate the power gauge in the gadget cluster into a red-rimmed tachometer, although the hybrid system still controls engine speed discretely from accelerator position produce a tach a little redundant. But it's a neat handle.