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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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET

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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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET

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

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET

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generally have the kind of premium quality you would expect from Lexus, but the radio face plate on the console looks outdated.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The radio display has an outdated look, but audio sources include digital options, such as satellite radio.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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