2012 Lexus CT 200h Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Lexus CT 200h Hatchback

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Lexus CT 200h Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 134 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 43/40 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Lexus CT 200h

  • The 2012 Lexus CT 200h stands out in the small but impressive premium-compact segment thanks to its high fuel economy, sporty handing and attractive price.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Best fuel economy in its segment; attractive price; engaging handling for a hybrid; driver-friendly cabin with superb ergonomics.

  • Cons

    Pokey acceleration; not a lot of in-cabin storage space; some controls look dated and less than premium.

  • What's New for 2012

    For 2012, the Lexus CT 200h gets a few new features. One is an audible warning system to alert pedestrians and cyclists to this quietly approaching hybrid. Another is the optional F Sport Special Edition package that adds a sport-tuned suspension and a number of visual tweaks.

Full 2012 Lexus CT 200h Review

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Lexus CT 200h gets a few new features. One is an audible warning system to alert pedestrians and cyclists to this quietly approaching hybrid. Another is the optional F Sport Special Edition package that adds a sport-tuned suspension and a number of visual tweaks.


Sporty hybrid. Jumbo shrimp. Freezer burn. All are oxymorons, right? Well, the 2012 Lexus CT 200h challenges your perceptions, as Lexus' least expensive hybrid takes a different tack than what's normally seen in the hybrid segment, one that sends the car in a sporty direction.

The 2012 Lexus CT 200h shares components with both its Lexus HS 250h brother and Toyota Prius cousin, but its lower stance and special suspension components allow it to deliver more athletic handling. It also features adjustable drive modes, including a Sport setting that noticeably sharpens throttle and steering responses. As a result, the CT 200h delivers a more enjoyable drive than you'll get in most other hybrids. However, despite its respectable handling chops, more serious driving enthusiasts will bemoan a lack of feedback from the chassis and steering.

Of course, since it shares its powertrain with the Prius, the CT is an infrequent visitor to the gas station. Weighing a few hundred pounds more than a Prius and sporting larger tires, the CT 200h doesn't get quite the miserly fuel economy of the Toyota, but its combined mileage of 42 mpg is plenty impressive. The downside is leisurely acceleration, and during Edmunds testing, the CT posted a 0-60 time of 10.4 seconds, which is 0.3 second slower than the Prius.

This combination of high fuel economy but slower acceleration puts the CT is an unusual position in the premium compact segment. The only model that comes close to matching the CT's fuel economy and four-door hatchback practicality is the diesel-powered Audi A3. Beyond this, you'll likely be looking at regular gas-powered, two-door cars like the better-handling BMW 1 Series or the stylish Volvo C30. These are all pretty desirable cars, but the 2012 Lexus CT 200h remains a respectable choice. It's affordably priced, practical, nicely furnished and, of course, the greenest of the bunch.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Lexus CT 200h is a premium compact four-door hatchback that comes in base and Premium trim levels.

Standard equipment on base models includes 17-inch wheels, heated side mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat, dual-zone climate control, premium vinyl upholstery, Bluetooth (with audio streaming) and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and auxiliary audio/USB jacks. The Premium model adds heated front seats and a sunroof.

A number of option packages are available for the Premium trim. The Premium Audio package adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an upgraded 10-speaker sound system with a six-disc CD changer. The Leather package adds rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, auto-dimming side mirrors and driver-seat memory settings. The Navigation package adds a hard-drive-based navigation system (with real-time traffic and voice control), the Lexus Remote Touch interface, a back-up camera, increased Bluetooth functionality and Lexus Enform telematics.

Also available for the Premium trim is the F Sport Special Edition package that includes unique wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a larger rear spoiler, a mesh grille and unique upholstery. Stand-alone options include LED headlamps and adaptive cruise control with a pre-collision system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Lexus CT 200h is motivated by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and a pair of electric motor/generators. Combined output is 134 horsepower and power is sent to the front wheels through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT).

In Edmunds testing, the CT 200h accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a leisurely 10.4 seconds. The upside, though, is stellar fuel economy, since the EPA estimates fuel economy at 43 mpg city/40 mpg highway and 42 mpg in combined driving.


Standard safety equipment on the 2012 Lexus CT 200h includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and dual front knee airbags. Also standard are the Vehicle Proximity Notification System (which emits a low tone to warn pedestrians and cyclists of the approaching Lexus) and Safety Connect (a telematics service with automatic collision notification, a stolen vehicle locator and emergency assistance).

Buyers can choose an optional pre-collision system that comes packaged with adaptive cruise control that can determine when an accident is imminent and responds by tightening the front seatbelts and initializing brake assist. In Edmunds brake testing, the CT's performance was acceptable, with the car stopping from 60 mph in 120 feet.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the CT 200h its highest rating of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

If you're expecting standard Lexus opulence and lots of wood trim, you won't find it here. However, the CT 200h's cabin is still upscale, with soft-touch surfaces on the most heavily contacted points. The optional leather upholstery feels rich, yet the standard "NuLuxe" upholstery (a synthetic imitation that's 50 percent lighter than leather) is convincing and won't disappoint. The cabin looks modern in a premium sort of way, with the exception being the radio's dated-looking panel layout and display screen.

Driver-focused touches abound within the cockpit. The shifter sits high on the angled center stack, within easy reach of the driver, and Lexus's stellar Remote Touch controller governs the navigation system. This ergonomic controller is essentially a mouse that sits on the driver side of the center console and it's remarkably easy to use. Cargo capacity of the glovebox, door bins and center bin is unimpressive, which means there's not much in-cabin storage. Luggage capacity is 14.3 cubic feet, and the rear seats fold down to give you more room for storage.

Driving Impressions

In Eco mode -- which, as the name suggests, offers the best fuel economy -- the 2012 Lexus CT 200h shows its Prius roots, with numb throttle response and overly light steering. Things improve in "Normal" mode, though even this setting can leave the car feeling a bit lazy in fast-moving highway traffic.

The most performance-oriented setting is Sport, which sharpens steering and throttle response, making this car seem more willing than most other hybrids. Despite its unremarkable 10.4-second acceleration time to 60 mph, the CT feels reasonably powerful and responsive with Sport mode engaged. We've yet to drive a CT 200h with the new F Sport package, but we're pretty certain that enthusiast-minded shoppers in this segment will still be better served by the nimbler BMW 1 Series or quicker Volvo C30.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

I am in love with

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Vehicle: 2012 Lexus CT 200h Premium 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I was lucky and found a 2012 fully loaded with only 6k miles on it for $26k. I love this car, while I have a lead foot, I am only getting 37 to 40mpg...if I am driving like an old lady on a straight road, I might get 40 but I live in san diego, hills everywhere and going up hill, the mileage goes down. I love the handling. this is the perfect combination of sporty, economical, practical, fun. Definitely beats the competition of the other hybrids in $28-35k range!!

Good but

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Lexus CT 200h Premium 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I love my Lexus. Have had it for almost 2 years and I'm still getting good mileage. I also think it's fun to drive and very easy on freeways with all the start and stop of urban driving. What I didn't think about when I purchased it (and should have) was how low to the ground it is. Easy for the driver to get in and out but almost always have to pull away from the curb to let a passenger in and out. Have been losing air pressure in my tires and now find out that it's corrosion of the chrome wheels. So far two wheels have had to be resealed. Anybody else have this problem? Let me know...

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

F-sport not comfortable

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Vehicle: 2012 Lexus CT 200h Premium 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I want to begin my review by saying the ct200h f sport is a good car, but it is not comfortable, especially if you drive long distances. Stay away from the F-sport. The bucket seat design offers no support, despite the built in lumbar support. And once I highlighted the problem I have had very poor support from Lexus themselves, giving me contradicting information. I have had a physio and an occupational health advisor state the seat is causing my back problems, and had no prior problems with Audi, bmw, Ford or Peugeot. All cars I drove long distance. I had no problems with the seat of the regular ct200h, I'm curious to know if anyone else has had problems with the f-sport??

9 of 16 people found this review helpful

Stylish fuel sipper

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Vehicle: 2012 Lexus CT 200h Premium 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I have the 2012 premium fire agate (brown) for 13 months and 14,200 miles. Most people give 5 stars and rave about this car. I'm not so easy. Fuel economy has been 37 to 44 depending on time of year. The handling is fantastic. But ride is hard due to low profile tires. The brakes are extremely powerful. The seats? Good for 100 miles after that my legs go numb because the cushion is too soft in the middle, causing circulation to get cut off to my legs. Better for short trips. Back bolsters are too aggressive. Rear passengers cannot place feet under seats because of HVAC. Nav system is way too complicated and frustrating. You end up giving up and using your iPhone many times.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

2012 200ct

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Vehicle: 2012 Lexus CT 200h Premium 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Thumbs up! I also own a Prius so I knew what I am getting into with CT. Great build and finish. Overall very tasteful interior layout and exterior. Very stable/controlled in turns. I am averaging about 42-43mpg so far in mixed driving, but have to keep in mind that I only driven it since mid-February to Mid-April in Connecticut. To all hybrid newbies: fuel consumption falls down more significantly in hybrids in winter season compared to standard cars. So I am expecting better mpg as we head into warmer season. One more thing, if you drive any car 3 miles and it's parked there all day, and then drive back home the same distance, you will never achieve advertised mpg on any car except EV.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great upscale hybrid

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Vehicle: 2012 Lexus CT 200h Premium 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

My wife and I were looking to get a more efficient vehicle since most of our driving is within 5 miles of our house. We quickly found out in our research that the CT 200h ticked every box on our list: gas mileage, looks, build quality, reliability, comfort, and gadgets. For around $36,000 fully loaded, it's actually priced very reasonably considering it's from a luxury brand. Most reviews knock the car for its performance, which is odd since this is a hybrid. I was actually surprised to find power more than adequate for going up hills and merging. Handling is where this car shines - steering is tight and the car is very fun to drive. Rear seats are a bit tight but they are comfortable.

Talk About The 2012 CT 200h

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Gas Mileage


  • 43
  • cty
  • 40
  • highway
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