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2011 Lexus CT 200h (photos)

The CT 200h looks cooler and handles better than a Prius, but using the same power train, it delivers the same unexciting performance. Fuel economy is excellent, however.

Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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With the CT 200h, Lexus explores the premium compact market, currently dominated by Mini. But Lexus' hybrid hatchback starts at about $30K, substantially more than the Mini.

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The front end adds some aggressive elements to Lexus' L-Finesse design language. The side lines and roof follow a traditional hatchback design.

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Under the hood sits the same power train used in the Toyota Prius, with a 1.8-liter gasoline engine and an electric motor and battery pack robust enough to drive the car.

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The CT 200h provides a comfortable amount of passenger room, with easy access to the front and rear seats.

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Lexus gave the CT 200h a sport-tuned suspension, making it handle well, but reducing ride comfort.

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As a hatchback, the CT 200h offers some practicality, although the hatchback space is not large.

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The cabin materials generally have the kind of premium quality you would expect from Lexus, but the radio face plate on the console looks outdated.

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Lacking the navigation system, Lexus puts a backup camera display into the rearview mirror.

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Electric power steering is tuned well, giving the car decent road feel.

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A Bluetooth phone system comes standard with the CT 200h, but without the navigation option present, the features are limited.

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Lexus puts a small power flow animation in the right-hand gauge, which can be set to show other trip information. The gauge on the left turns into a tachometer when Sport mode is engaged.

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This dial on the console sets the car between Normal, Eco, and Sport modes.

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The drive selector is this odd little chrome handle.

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The radio display has an outdated look, but audio sources include digital options, such as satellite radio.

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Browsing a music library from a connected iPod on the single-line radio display is tedious.

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The CT 200h includes Bluetooth streaming audio.

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The USB port is set into the console, but its cover cannot be closed when a device or cable is plugged in.

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The radio display shows phone numbers entered with voice command from the Bluetooth phone system.

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