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2014 Lexus CT 200h F SPORT Review

2014 Lexus CT 200h F SPORT Review

Sept. 10, 2014

This year the Lexus CT 200h has undergone a major mid-model refreshment. In short, everything except the powertrain has been changed, including my opinion of the car. Originally, I considered the CT 200h to be an upscale Prius. It shared the powertrain and hence performance traits with the Prius. Suspension components were up to the standard of a luxury car. That has changed with the addition of the F SPORT package. Anyone who is the least bit interested in practical driving fun had best put the Lexus CT 200h F SPORT on the shopping list

What is the Lexus CT 200h F SPORT

The CT 200h is the current entry-level Lexus hybrid that uses the latest generation of power controllers to make the best use of both the gasoline and electric motors. When you add the F SPORT package the car transforms into something that handles and rides much better than other trim levels.

2014 Lexus CT 200h F SPORT Price and Specs

The Lexus CT 200h F SPORT is almost a separate model unto itself. It has its own spec sheet and carries a sticker price of $38,400 without any additions. Loaded with every option and accessory, the total price is $39,359. Prices from Lexus do not include taxes, freight and/or dealer fees.

For your hard-earned cash, you can choose from eight different colours and three interior fabrics. The only interior finishing trim used on the F SPORT is an aluminium trim which does tie the interior together quite nicely.

Driving the 2014 Lexus CT 200h F SPORT

Power still comes from a 1.8L Atkinson cycle inline-4 that has DOHC, four valves per cylinder, as well as VVT-I (Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence), and an electric motor. Total horsepower is 134. Lexus does not specifically say so, but common opinion is that the gas engine puts out 98 horsepower and the electric motor produces 36 horsepower. The transmission is a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) unit that works seamlessly in gas, electric or combined modes.

Driving the CT 200h F SPORT turned out to be full of surprises. My expectations of mediocrity were quickly laid to rest. The addition of the F SPORT option is more than just a set of rims and some trim bits. Engineers recalibrated the suspension components so that straight-line comfort has not suffered and cornering ability has improved. You can tell me that there are no changes in horsepower and torque for 2104, but the F SPORT suspension is so much better that the CT 200h feels faster. When pushing hard, the suspension lets you stay on the power longer and get on the brakes later thus putting a grin on your face and altering your perceptions! This is a radical departure in what a hybrid is supposed to be like.

Add in a bit of electronic wizardry for the transmission and the paddle shifters really make the CVT feel as if you are shifting it. Technically you really do “shift” because the electronic control does move the CVT about altering the drive ratios just as a geared transmission would do.

Inside and Out of the 2014 Lexus CT 200h F SPORT

Fully refreshed, the CT 200h F SPORT has the Lexus trademark spindle-style grille with its own unique format. Headlamps and fog lamps are set in a new front fascia that enhances the fluidity of the sportback design. At the rear, Lexus provided the CT 200h F SPORT with a model-specific rear spoiler complete with cutouts to improve downforce at road speed. The wheels, with their split five-spoke design, make the side view stand out. The slightly rounded sides hold generously cut doors with a large side glass area making all around visibility quite good.

Front leather seating surfaces cover comfortable seats with thigh and side bolsters that hold you in place without being obtrusive or edgy. In the rear, a leather-faced 60/40 split seat is a bit cramped with three adults and quite comfortable with just two. Leg room is a bit on the tight side if the front seat occupants are long legged. Connectivity is not an issue with Bluetooth ™ as well as ports for USB and your personal entertainment system which feeds into the Mark Levinson Stereo system.

Comparing the 2014 Lexus CT 250h F SPORT

The Lexus CT 200h competes in several market segments including, but not limited to, hybrid cars, luxury cars and sports cars. A few of the competitors include the Audi A3 TDI, Mazda3 Sport SKYACTIV and the Prius V.

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