2012 Lexus CT 200h Review

Pros & Cons

  • Best fuel economy in its segment
  • attractive price
  • engaging handling for a hybrid
  • driver-friendly cabin with superb ergonomics.
  • Pokey acceleration
  • not a lot of in-cabin storage space
  • some controls look dated and less than premium.
Other years
List Price Range
$7,431 - $15,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2012 Lexus CT 200h models

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.

2012 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Lexus CT 200h.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

CT 200h Lexus 2012
ld14,12/08/2011
Premium 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I just bought this car a couple weeks ago. The mileage is amazing; I am getting about 44-45 MPG, better than I expected. The car drives nicely and hugs the road tightly, so that i feel in good control. It is sporty and fun, and looks like a technologically advanced car inside. The use of space is very good. The only thing better would be the same car in a larger version.
Stylish well built car, not suitable for families!
Richard Waldron,03/02/2015
Premium 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Had this car almost 3 years now, just reached the 30k mark. It is a great little car with good gas savings. We seem to average about 40-45 mpg with a mix of city and highway driving. I really only have 2 complaints.. 1. It is very low. So low I can not drive it up my drive without scrapping the bottom. So I have to park it on the street. 2. It is great for 1-2 people, but the back is too small for adults. With a baby on the way we will have to trade it in. Definitely no room for a stroller in the trunk! Trunk can not even fit a regular size suitcase. Tip: go to Toyota not Lexus for any servicing. A major Lexus service costs around $750. Toyota charge $200 for exactly the same service
Outstanding Car
megaman4,02/11/2012
Premium 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
We had the car for over two weeks now, what a great vehicle. The gas mileage is outstanding, amazing how little it costs to fill this car up and how far you get on a full tank. Moving form a larger vehicle, it does take some time to get used to. Very responsive steering, good visibility from all angles. It really is a fun car to drive, plenty of space for the front and rear passengers.
Great MPG
feng2,01/08/2012
Premium 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Due to my long distance commute, I perchased the CT200h. I used to drive my Porsche Cayenne S to work. The MPG was about 18 MPG on average. I had this CT200h for three weeks now. The MPG is 44.3 on average for about 500 miles. Today, I filled up the tank with the regular non ethanol added fuel. The MPG is 49.7 MPG with 35 mile on the freeway in the Sport mode and 5 miles in the Normal mode. I am sure the MPG will reach 50 MPG if I drive it in the Normal mode full time. In Chicago area, the fuel has 10% ethanol in it. I have to add the non ethanol fuel in Indiana where I work. The non ethanol fuel does increase the MPG by at least 15%. I will stick to the non ethanol fuel then.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2012 Lexus CT 200h features & specs

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2012 Lexus CT 200h

Used 2012 Lexus CT 200h Overview

The Used 2012 Lexus CT 200h is offered in the following submodels: CT 200h Hatchback. Available styles include Premium 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), and 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Lexus CT 200h?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Lexus CT 200h trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Lexus CT 200h Base is priced between $12,397 and$12,397 with odometer readings between 77342 and77342 miles.

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Which used 2012 Lexus CT 200hs are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Lexus CT 200h for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2012 CT 200hs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $7,431 and mileage as low as 49755 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Lexus CT 200h.

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Find a used Lexus CT 200h for sale - 7 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $11,591.

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Should I lease or buy a 2012 Lexus CT 200h?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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