By on August 8, 2014

2014 Lexus CT200To ignore the fact that auto reviewers head into a review with preconceived notions is to forget that we’re humans, not robots. A car review isn’t a specifications chart, it’s language, however artfully (or not artfully, in this case) penned.

I don’t decide in advance to dislike a car. Indeed, as often as not, the cars I feel certain I will like instead leave me feeling somewhat underwhelmed. But if the information which I possess aforetime causes me to start the week with the assumption that I might not favour a car, I don’t robotically cast that notion aside. I am not capable of doing so, just as I am not capable of saying, “I will be completely open-minded about this meal of battered catfish served on a bed of refried beans with a side of grits and an extra-large helping of black pudding.”

The restyled 2014 Lexus CT200h didn’t completely change my mind. I assumed it would be terribly slow, and it was. I assumed it wouldn’t be completely worthy of a premium badge, and it wasn’t. I figured its cargo area would be too small, and I was correct.

Yet in a large number of ways, the CT200h was decidedly better than expected, so much so that I could, if I squinted, see the car’s appeal, something I wouldn’t have said the day the car arrived. So maybe I’m more open-minded than I thought, even if I won’t eat catfish or black pudding.

The CT’s front seats are among the best I’ve sat in, good enough for me to see the overall appeal of the small Lexus, even without an up-down function for the power lumbar support.

The CT’s infotainment unit is easy to use, with quick access buttons for audio, home, and back surrounding a centre console-mounted circular control knob. There’s no slow-to-respond touch screen here, and long before week’s end I stopped looking away from the road to operate vital functions.
2014 Lexus CT200Outside, the CT provides onlookers with lots to see. It’s not conventionally pretty, nor is this specific car (a $39,745 Premium Package CT200h in Canadian parlance, similar to a $37,704 CT200h in the U.S.) as aggressive as the F Sport models. You may not think it’s a cohesive effort, as the new spindle grille is not as effectively integrated as it is on the IS. But from the tailgate’s bizarre shelf to the conspicuous hybrid badging to the wrap-around rear glass and the shapely hood, there’s something to look at. The CT is not boring, which from a company that formerly used car styling as anesthesia, is a good thing.

For the moment, the CT200h is also unique among premium brands in that it’s an entry-level hatchback. No, there’s not a lot of space behind the rear seats – we’ll get to that later – but it’s a flexible layout, and space for four or five occupants is better than decent.

Perhaps the greatest surprise to me was the CT200h’s handling. Yes, the car rides rather stiffly, so we expect a compensating degree of handling prowess. The electric assist steering, which doesn’t feel as artificial as so many modern systems, and the comfort with which the CT adopts and maintains a position when hustling down my favourite local roads, combine to make for a car that’s at ease with fast driving. (Once you eventually get up to speed.) The Lexus lacks the enthusiasm of Mercedes-Benz’s CLA whether the CT’s prominently-mounted knob is turned to Eco, left in Normal, or moved to Sport, which definitely upgrades the car’s personality and takes away some of the most drastic slow sensations.
2014 Lexus CT200Then again, isn’t there always (often? sometimes? every now and then?) something a little bit charming about a slow car being driven quickly? And me oh my, is it ever slow. Instrumented tests say 60 mph arrives in under ten seconds, but I’m not sure what kinds of seconds those are. The CVT just eats up so many of the 134 Prius-donated horsepower. Because you must work the CT hard when trying to keep a gently-driven Pontiac G3 in sight, half the slowness-related problem originates with the accompanying racket of a hybrid powerplant whose revs periodically head in a different direction than you expected. Perhaps with a conventional V6 the CT would be quiet like a Lexus is supposed to be. With this mode of propulsion, with some disappointing tire hum and a speck too much wind noise, it’s not.

The lack of refinement, the lack of adequate motivation, and the overarching feeling that traffic is going that way and I’m not joining them, is enough to leave me feeling like the CT shouldn’t be called a Lexus. It’s a bit like the family reunion of mostly successful siblings, most of whom run half marathons and attend PTA meetings and eat goat cheese and grow high bush blueberries along their white picket fences, where that one younger brother who’s kind of chubby showed up wearing a WWE t-shirt, actually sprayed his hamburger with Cheez Whiz, and started singing, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” after the grandchildren sang, “The Wheels On The Bus,” at the evening campfire. Maybe it’s not exactly like that. But it’s a little like that. There’s an awful lot of obviously shared DNA: the hybrid addiction and the spindle grille and the love of cheese and the affinity for music. But there are notable differences.
TTAC_2014_Lexus-CT200h-interior-2Our press car had fewer than 4500 miles on the odometer, but the driver’s seat side bolster that gets chafed with every entry was quickly wearing away. The brakes have that prototypical hybrid regen grab, but then lack further bite. Why do I have to move a shift lever up and over and down and back but then use a separate pushbutton to put the car in Park? I’m pretty sure I just used a foot-operated parking brake. And with 14.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the rear seats, the CT is way down from the Mazda 3 hatchback’s 20.2 cubic feet and even farther away from the new Volkswagen Golf’s 22.8 cubic feet. These are huge gaps in load-lugging ability, gaps we weren’t very willing to disregard when the CT was maxed out by one large load of groceries.

And then, like the guy who drives ten miles to save a penny per gallon on fuel, I temporarily lost all perspective when I filled up the CT200h before the car went back to Toyota Canada. It had burned less fuel (46 mpg) than even its EPA ratings (40 highway, 43 city) forecasted. This was pre-confirmed by the car’s own onboard computer, which I had assumed couldn’t possibly be accurate given the EPA ratings and the manner in which I drove the car.

I couldn’t overlook the CT200h’s lack of urge, its handful of non-premium missteps, or its ineffective cargo hold. I’d be happier in a fully-equipped Mazda 3 or a diesel-powered Golf, and I suspect most Lexus CT buyers would prefer to drive an Audi A3.
2014 Lexus CT200hMaybe I’m missing the point; maybe I don’t grasp the importance of the CT’s uniqueness. The buyer who wants a mid-$30s upmarket car but can’t stand spending money on fuel – who presumably figures her Lexus will feel like a Lexus, and who used to own a Prius – likely doesn’t find those other cars all that appealing. Personally, I can see the CT’s appeal, I just can’t link it to my own tastes. Or the tastes of the vast majority of the auto-buying public: this car has not proven very popular.

Even though it does boast an unexpectedly tiny fuel bill, a Lexus badge, a long standard equipment list, a sense of style, and surprisingly decent handling.

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70 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2014 Lexus CT200h...”


  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Here is my review, which is considerably shorter than the one above:

    An ugly, overpriced, cheaply manufactured, lacking in a level of refinement of cars costing half as much, slow as sin, total & unmitigated POS, with the driving dynamics of something at least deemed to be awful.

    Avoid at all costs unless it’s free (and only accept it then if you derive no joy from a quality vehicle, since you won’t care that you’re driving one of the worst cars manufactured).

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      What review isn’t shorter than the one above?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Your review was of appropriate length given your responsibility to the reader (and I thought you struck the balance well, FWIW).

        Me? I am full of piss & vinegar, call them like I see them, and don’t have the same level of requirement to spell out why a soft piece of stool as this vehicle is textured the way it is in as great as detail.

        • 0 avatar
          Syke

          Actually, you’ve always seemed to take a great deal of pleasure in slagging any car that you can justify. And have always left me with the feeling that the term ‘living hell’ in your case would be a world where all the cars are well designed, perform nicely, and are not overpriced.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Here are some recent vehicles TTAC reviewed that I like somewhat, very much, or a great deal:

            Chrysler 300
            Mazda 6
            Dodge Durango
            Honda Accord
            Buick Regal
            Volkswagen GTI
            Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen
            Chevy Cruze
            Jeep Grand Cherokee
            Ford Mustang GT
            Dodge RAM
            Dodge Charger
            Toyota Avalon

            There are others I can’t think of at present.

            I can’t help it if POS, overpriced, cynical vehicles like this Lexus are made, and I can’t help but being honest regarding my expression of my unvarnished opinion of their overall lack of any redeeming merit.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            DW, I can’t really disagree with you on this car, it is badly wanting on a number of levels. But don’t make the mistake of thinking the most boorish voice in the room is the one telling the God’s honest truth. Jerermy Clarkson makes it work because he mixes in enough personality and humor to buffer some of the piss and vinegar. Subtract those virtues and all you get is self-impressed noise.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            DW, I can’t really disagree with you on this car, it is badly wanting on a number of levels. But don’t make the mistake of thinking the most boorish voice in the room is the one telling the God’s honest truth. Jeremy Clarkson makes it work because he mixes in enough personality and humor to buffer some of the caustic rhetoric. Subtract those virtues and all that remains is self-impressed noise.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I am not funny like a clown, attempting to amuse anyone.

            I am admittedly full of pi$$ & vinegar.

            Woefully cynical, overpriced products like the Mercedes CLA, this Lexus…or the Aston Martin Cygnet (aka Toyota Aygo @ 4x the price of the Aygo), in deference to Clarkson…

            …pi$$ me off.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Obviously.

            Hey, apparently you’ve noticed that typing out the word pi$$ gets your comment shunted to the moderator. My comment above originally quoted your pi$$ and vinegar statement, and is still sitting in moderator limbo.

            Is this new? Are we going to have to pass all of our comments through the G-rated filter in order for them to be posted now?

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            It’s not new; the spam filter has been in operation for at least a year.

            The only word I do an end run around the filter is pi$$ because it’s part & parcel of “pi$$ & vinegar,” and my alter-ego is “Mr. Pi$$ & Vinegar.”

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      That seems to sum it up. You need to start a section to post cliff notes on these reviews.

      Why why why would anyone buy one of these other than to have the stylized L on the nose?

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        @PonchoIndian

        “Why why why would anyone buy one of these other than to have the stylized L on the nose?”

        I’ll tell you why. Because someone wants a Prius, but without the weirdo digital dash and hair shirt interior.

        Think of this car as the topmost trim level on a Prius.

        • 0 avatar
          jbltg

          This thing is definitely the “Lexus Prius”. Much nicer interior, better looking overall, but suffers greatly on interior space for people and cargo by comparison to Prius.

          Seems like an awfully high price tag when you may as well just buy the Prius, visually unappealing as it may be. And use the Sport mode. Frequently.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      +1 on the condensed review.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Excellent article.

    + excellent post by Deadweight above.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Pondering the stature and cervical vertebrae of the people flooding in to replace us Anglos, I suddenly realize how all these uselessly (to us) squashed-down rooflines make a sort of predictive sense.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Sure they’d fit, but do those people have the white guilt and self loathing to drive a car like this?

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Good point, no they wouldn’t. And those that could afford it would be the first couple of generations; hard workers with memories of the sh1thole they escaped fresh in their minds. They’d demand real value for their money, not membership in some Delusional Do-Gooders club.

        Kind of like my German ancestors who would’ve said eff-that to fighting the Civil War if they hadn’t been drafted. They just wanted to work their farms and build awesome barns.

    • 0 avatar
      hgrunt

      Seems like the quality of the B&B’s comments are about as good as the CT200’s performance these days.

      Guessing your brain transplant isn’t taking all that well.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    I’m not in the market for a hybrid – but if I were, I think this one might be a nice upgrade over a regular Prius for the nicer interior and better seats. I don’t mind the exterior styling overall, but I think it would look better without the spindle grille and with smaller Lexus badges.

    As the article states, this may not be worthy of a premium badge, but these days most Lexus volume seems to come from models that are upgraded versions of volume Toyota models – I see a lot more RX-350s than I do LS-460s – so Lexus is more of a “Baby Boomer Buick” than a maker of top tier luxury cars…

    • 0 avatar
      TurboX

      Exactly. If the CT is not a real Lexus then the ES and the RX don’t belong. But if you look at where the sales volume is, Lexus is low tier luxury, the GS and LS are the exception.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Anyone who isn’t brain dead that’s even remotely considering this $40,000 pile of crap should buy a $16,000 Corolla, assuming their loyalty to ToyoMotoCo runs deep, save $24,000, and get a much better looking and driving, more refined, and nearly as efficient vehicle in the process.

        • 0 avatar
          TurboX

          Let’s see who is brain dead: the Lexus can be leased for $3K/year. I avoid paying an average of $10/day in tolls by driving an hybrid (it can be up to $22/day if traffic is bad). That’s at least $2.4K per year in toll savings, so the net cost is close to $600/year+gas+insurance. Not bad at all in my book. Try to beat that with a Corolla, and I am not even comparing comfort levels.

          Not saying that the proposition works for most people, but for a few like me it works wonderfully.

          Granted, the toll freebies will eventually end as enough people buy hybrids to take advantage of them, but until that day I will be driving a hybrid or electric to work and keeping my money.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            It makes much more sense for you, from a purely economic vantage, than most.

            Then again, a Prius, Leaf, etc., could get you the same benefits at a much lower cost.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Does a Chevy Volt trump this in every category? Maybe except engine only driving?

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      +1 re: oversized badges. This is an industry-wide problem, but I think Lexus, Mercedes, and GMC are the worst offenders. Sadly, catering to buyers with taste currently is out of style.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      @PenguinBoy

      Exactly. This is the Prius for people who don’t like the way the Prius is styled and equipped.

      btw re your statement: “so Lexus is more of a “Baby Boomer Buick” than a maker of top tier luxury cars…”… Exactly… which explains my avatar (I have a 98 LS400).

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      Doesn’t sound like much of an upgrade over Prius, considering both share the same drivetrain. A real upgrade over Prius would be an Accord Hybrid, a bigger, better, much faster car.

  • avatar
    319583076

    I think these are good looking small cars. There is a black model in my neighborhood which I’ve given a good look each morning this week. It’s a sharp car, save for the weird glass on the sides of the hatch, I think that’s a terrible detail.

    But, it doesn’t have the go to match the show and for my money there are so many better values. It seems like Lexus just sort of phoned this one in.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    This car exists for Lexus’ European aspirations, in the same way the ES is quintessentially American.

    It doesn’t make sense here, but then, it doesn’t have to. Lexus just sells it here to soak up volume.

    Think about other semi-premiums cars with a distinct regional bias (Europe; the Audi A1 and A2, the Merecedes A & B-Class: China; the A6L, 5-Series LWB, ATS-L). We might see them here, but only if it makes sense to ship the production overflow overseas.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    Wow, reading between the lines, this thing really sounds like a tarted up Prius.

    I’m a Prius owner, and a big fan of the machine and its siblings.

    But I don’t like the Lexus spindle grill (it’s just not my personal taste), so I don’t see why someone wouldn’t just go for a top-trim Prius instead, to save themselves a few grand and spare themselves a daily reminder of the Predator movies.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      Because the dash, IP, and interior design of the Prius is an abomination. That’s not just spoken out of ignorant Prius hate… my wife drives a Prius and I’ve driven it enough to know. A Lexus Prius with a conventional dash and a better designed interior is an attractive prospect to me.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        These areas are all rumored to be addressed with the next generation Prius when it arrives, supposedly sometime early next year. Personally, I would rather Toyota stayed with the digital speedometer but I’m evidently in the minority.

  • avatar
    TurboX

    I currently drive a CT-200 and even though I was not expecting much from it I was pleasantly surprised of how well it works for me. I needed an appliance to commute to work and I found out it is simply the best tool currently available. I can use the express tool lanes free for it being a hybrid. I am averaging 40 MPG which is almost double of what the predecessor BMW 3 series would get.
    Sure, the car is slow to accelerate but it has no trouble keeping 75-80 once it gets there.
    The car is very cheap to lease with Lexus strong residuals and incentives. I would venture to say when it is all said and done it is probably cheaper than a top trim Prius.

    • 0 avatar
      swester

      Exactly. Most people see the sticker price and laugh. What they don’t realize is that Lexus has incentives out the wazoo on these and aggressively leases them.

      It’s also funny how often people will mock a 10-second 0-60 time when in reality you’re by far most frequently dealing with 0-30 mph – and I doubt the CT is more than a second or two off of the fastest sedans on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        Jacob

        Typical throttle response is a lot better than 10 second 0-60 time suggests. That’s due to a responsive CVT and extra torque from the electric motor. I drive a current generation Prius sometimes, and I don’t see any issues with power. Perfectly adequate for a commuter car, specially without passengers. The car feels fairly zippy. The turn circle is amazing.

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          “The turn circle is amazing.”

          That’s very attractive to me as I’ve been disappointed for decades as to how barge-like FWD has made cars.

          But how is the Prius steering mechanism different from any other transverse I-4 FWD?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    2 quick and easy fixes for the CT200h

    1, give it a Kammback like the Prius. Makes no sense for the Prius this is based on to be a better looking car by a landslide. This thing’s shape is horrendous.

    2, give it the 200HP hybrid powertrain. The higher performance & refinement would be more fitting of a car of this price/brand.

    As is, this thing is a waste, and makes itself in no way a better buy than a Prius “Sport”. However, a swoopy little hatchback that could get to 60 in the 6s and haul 5 real adults while getting well over 35 MPG combined would do pretty freaking well.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Re: the Kammback, this may be a headroom issue. I haven’t sat in the back of a CT200h, but I’m just tall enough to scrape my scalp on the rear-seat headliner of a Prius. I suspect I wouldn’t have this issue in the Lexus. (And I’m in the fat part of the bell curve for adult male height.)

      Pre-spindle, I actually preferred the looks of the Lexus (while admitting that a Kammback would be more in keeping with a mileage/aerodynamics design brief).

      Really disappointed to see that seat wear on a 4,500-mile car.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I found the rear seat of a 2nd gen Prius to be OK, as did my wife. I’m 5′ 9″ with a standard length torso and she is 5′ 11″ with 33″ legs.

        I think there are ways to manage it. In any case, whatever they have going now is not working. The car looks horrible, and about 1/2 its asking price.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Agreed on the Camry Hybrid powertrain. I’ve always thought that if only the CT200 had that powertrain it would be a sort of Integra for the digital age. It would probably do 0-60 in the mid sixes. As is, it’s too slow to be an enthusiast’s car and too harsh and expensive to be a premium appliance.

  • avatar
    Redshift

    Good review. I’ve always been a bit puzzled by this car when I see it.

    Looking at the photographs (and one of the boats, I think saying Yarmouth, NS on the back) were you in my homeland of Nova Scotia to take these?

  • avatar
    SELECTIVE_KNOWLEDGE_MAN

    The CT is the true Lexus of its segment in the old fashioned way of looking at Lexus. It is made to pamper the driver and provide a trouble free and extremely comfortable ride from A to B. Just see how much effort went into the front seats, suspension, sound dampening and and ease of operation.

    As a result you will see pretty much everyone from B&B hating it. It makes perfect sense: Why get the CT when Prius gets superior fuel economy and practicality? Why get the Lexus when all competitors offer better practicality or value? The only answer must be that you are a very, very selfish person who can afford to throw out $32k for a convenience. And if you want the B&B to rage even more, the simply point out the 100000km test by Auto Bild!

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The trouble with your thesis is that it’s sprung far too firmly to be a driver-pampering isolation cocoon. It’s engineered like a premium hot hatch except that the powertrain isn’t even a little bit warm.

      • 0 avatar
        SELECTIVE_KNOWLEDGE_MAN

        You must refer to the unnecessary F-sport version. The normal version feels pretty much like an A-class and 1-series when it comes to ride comfort. I rode an A-class with the AMG sport package and it felt just like a normal A-class. I suppose this is the way to go.

      • 0 avatar
        swester

        For the urban types to whom this car will appeal the most, why would a 0-60 time matter in the slightest?

        It has that low-speed hybrid oomph, which is more useful in a stop-and-go environment anyway. It’s a car made for scurrying up city blocks and cross-town highways, wrapped in a comfortable and stylish package. It’s no wonder these seem to be pretty popular.

  • avatar
    Steinweg

    For the money, I think I’d trade my Prius for a Volt before I took the CT200h. It’s not THAT much nicer than a Prius; and if it’s half as loud inside, the Volt will be the more cosseting place to spend time.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Is gold tone trim making a comeback? Or is that more of a pewter with an applied camera filter?

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Mr. Cain, please coach your peers at TTAC to enable better photos.
    DeadWeight is correctly responding to shitty cars, shitty dealerships/service and shitty prices.
    I found spirit of your review to be effective and look forward to seeing more of them here.

  • avatar
    Fred

    My brother works at a Lexus dealer and I got a chance to drive one a few years ago. The salesman said it was better than my A3, but I didn’t feel it. Slower, more compact and more expensive. It did get better milage. Doesn’t sound like much has changed except the grill.

  • avatar
    YotaCarFan

    I’m curious to know how the 2014 differs from earlier model years in terms of how nice the interior is. I’ve driven several circa 2012 CT loaners, and while not enthralled with the lethargic engine and cramped back storage area, I was mainly disappointed in the low-budget interior appointments and de-contenting. Lack of extendable sun visors to block sunlight from the rear of the side window was a deal-breaker for me – it’s inexcusable for a Lexus (or Camry XLE for that matter) to lack such a basic feature. Other luxury basics like Mark Levinson audio, fan ventilated seats, and wood trim are also unavailable for this model. Looking at edmunds, I see radar cruise, PCS, and LED headlights are newly available for 2014, which is a good start. Finally, Lexus really needs to update the performance and functionality of their ancient navigation system offering. If they did that, plus add some sound proofing, this model would have some appeal to me…

  • avatar
    Jon Fage

    Kind of an unrelated comment.

    Why do so many of the promo pictures that I see on this site show cars with Canadian plates on them? This article once again features a car with Ontario plates. I seem to see them pictured in a variety of Canadian locations.

    A few weeks back, there were even promo pictures of a Ram truck that had New Brunswick plates on it. New Brunswick plates!!! Who the heck goes to New Brunswick to photograph a truck? For those of you that are unaware, New Brunswick is that tiny little province between Quebec and Nova Scotia, population about 750,000, known as “Canada’s drive through province” because nobody ever goes there, but rather just drives through it on their way to Prince Edward Island.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/capsule-review-2014-ram-1500-ecodiesel/

    Is there a cottage industry of car photography in Canada of which I am unaware?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The first picture reminds me of the movie A League of Their Own.

    In the faux newsreel story they are highlighting the girls of the baseball team and when it comes to show Marla Hooch she is at least 50 feet back from the camera on a very wide angle shot. She reaches a hand up and gives a half-hearted wave.

    And how about that Marla Hooch!

  • avatar
    swester

    This car is arguably the perfect choice for a young, relatively affluent urban dweller. IGNORE the $40k price tag…Lexus is aggressively leasing these things for well under $300/mo, all included, no money down, etc. That’s a hell of a lot of car for around $3k/year.

    It’s cheaper than a Prius lease in many cases (and just about any other car I’d compare it with), and you’re getting a more refined experience in nearly every aspect. 42+ MPG on regular gas, small enough to fit into most city spaces yet with hatchback storage flexibility, materials/ride far and above its Toyota counterparts…so why is this a “total and unmitigated POS” again?

    It’s no wonder I see a fair amount of them in my city.

  • avatar
    W.Minter

    The “P”ark button: The Toyota hybrids have no steering wheel lock. The “P” does the job, it locks the transmission, afaik physically with a bolt. And you don’t have to push it. Just stay in D, switch off the car and it automatically goes into P, unlike traditional auto boxes.

    The foot-operated parking brake, well, some say it’s a safety feature, because when your regular brakes fail, you have some kind of backup foot brake. Others say, a traditional hand brake between the front seats is a safety feature, because the passenger can apply some brake when the driver has a heart attack (and on icy roundabouts it’s seriously more fun). Most modern cars have a push button hand brake, which saves on interior space and gives the OEM the chance to implement a hill holder. The Toyota hybrids mimic the hill holder with the electric drive train.

    Do I like the CT? No. Too small. But as a commuter car, why not.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    All the detractors of this car seem to brush aside the fact it returned 46mpg. That’s 46mpg.

    I agree, $39k is way too much.

    But I love my Prius and this is actually the perfect car for owners like me who wouldn’t mind upgrading to something with more style and luxury. Unfortunately, I think the loss of spaciousness compared to the Prius is a deal breaker.

    Lastly, I think car reviewers always miss the point when it comes to the HSD system in its Prius/CT applications.
    Yes, I love quad cam V8 thrust coupled with crisp shifts.
    But, you have to re-orient your thinking when operating an HSD car. It DOESNT want to rev. Think of it as a super low redline diesel motor that wants to spin as close to 1,500rpm as possible. Yes, it will rev up (and make a racket) if you want quicker acceleration but that’s outside it’s intended operating mode. HSD is an extremely rewarding drive once you come to terms with how it delivers mind blowing fuel economy all the while remaining essentially bullet proof reliable.

    If you need your speed kicks, it’s probably best to have a 2nd seasonal car at your disposal. Preferably one powered by a Honda J series V6/6 speed manual or an LSx motor.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      Kudos, you can embrace different paradigms in vehicular philosophies.

      In my mini-fleet of modest cars, I have a 1990 Eclipse turbo, and a Prius C. I love them both equally. The Eclipse satisfies my passions and emotions. The C satisfies my rational thinking side. After studying up on how the HSD works, I am just as mentally involved in what the power train is doing as I have been all my life driving sticks. It amazes me how each car makes me a different driver. The Eclipse makes me nervous and aggressive, impatient and exuberant. The Prius makes me relaxed, patient, and relatively speaking, more contemplative.
      All this talk about lack of power? Well, I can remember when any vehicle that got to 60 in less than ten seconds was considered fast. Just how much does one use 0-60 in 6 or seven seconds in city driving?
      The only time I wish for more power in my C is passing on the highway at highway speeds.
      The attitudes reflected in much of this commentary thread are very closed minded as to their expectations of what a vehicle should be.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I still insist this should have been a new Celica.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Ford likes to compare the C-Max to the Toyota Prius V, but really the closer comparison is the Lexus CT200H. The C-Max trounces the CT200H. The high end SEL version of the C-Max is equipped similarly to the CT-200H and is well under 30k with incentives. The C-Max is 2 seconds quicker 0-60, has more people and cargo room and roughly equal MPG. (46 MPG is possible in the C-Max but is the exception rather than the rule.) The C-Max has active noise reduction that is very effective. It is a very quiet car. The drivetrain and most of the accessories in the C-Max are the same as the Lincoln MKZ hybrid, which lists for 10,000 more.


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