Lexus RC 200t Review

2017 Lexus RC 200t
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The Lexus RC 200t, sometimes referred to by Lexus as the RC Turbo, is the entry-level model in the RC coupe lineup. It costs a couple thousand dollars less than V6-powered RCs (reviewed separately), and its turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers remarkable smoothness and refinement, a good match for the RC 200t's supportive seats and comfortable, quiet ride.

Unfortunately, the RC 200t isn't very sporty for a performance coupe. It has middling acceleration and less than thrilling handling along with fussy interior controls and limited practicality. Needless to say, it's not our top pick in this segment since many of its rivals offer more inspiring performance and less frustrating interior design.

Current Lexus RC 200t
The Lexus RC 200t is offered as a single trim level, and aside from the engine, standard equipment is similar to that of the V6-powered RC 300 and RC 350 (reviewed separately). As you might expect from a coupe in this class, there's dual-zone climate control and power front seats, but features such as genuine leather, automatic wipers, and memory settings for the seats are reserved for the options list. Lexus does offer an F Sport package for the RC 200t, which includes a stiffer suspension, adaptive dampers, sportier body trim and an upgraded interior. F Sport models can be ordered with a limited-slip differential and even stiffer dampers, which we recommend. The four-wheel-steering system from the RC 350 F Sport is not available on the RC 200t, but we consider that a blessing in disguise, as we think it detracts from the RC's handling.

The RC 200t is powered by a 241-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is similar in size and output to the engines used in the RC's German competitors. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels. Lexus' 2.0-liter turbo is notable for its refinement, but the RC 200t is a heavy car and acceleration isn't as thrilling as it ought to be, even making allowances for the fact that this is the entry-level model.

Handling isn't anything to get excited about either; the Lexus RC 200t simply isn't all that rewarding to drive. We found fast drives in the RC to be more frustrating than engaging. That said, we do admire the RC 200t for its refinement. This is an exceptionally comfortable coupe, with the smooth, library-quiet ride for which Lexus vehicles are known.

Though we usually like Lexus interiors, the RC's is one of our least favorite. The basic design is sound, but the switch placement is odd, as are the switches themselves. We can't decide which is more frustrating to use, the touch-sensitive temperature sliders for the climate control system or the touchpad-like controller that runs the infotainment and (optional) navigation system. Neither is well adapted for use in a moving car, requiring too much of the driver's attention.

In terms of practicality, the RC 200t is an underachiever. Though the front seats are comfortable, the back seat is too small for adults and the 10.4-cubic-foot trunk is tiny, even compared to other sports coupes. Storage space for odds and ends is limited, and we had a hard time even finding a place to put cellphones.

Used Lexus RC 200t Models
The RC 200t joined the RC lineup for 2016 as a new model, and it was unchanged for 2017.

Read the most recent 2017 Lexus RC 200t review.

If you are looking for older years, visit our used Lexus RC 200t page.

For more on past Lexus RC 200t models, view our Lexus RC 200t history page.