2017 Lexus RC 200t

2017 Lexus RC 200t Review

Unfortunately, the RC 200t's performance doesn't live up to what the aggressive styling suggests.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Mark Takahashi
Edmunds Editor

Held back by middling performance and frustrating user interfaces, the 2017 Lexus RC 200t falls well short of the benchmark set by many of its rivals. Yes, it's comfortable, stylish and fuel-efficient, but you'd be better served by other luxury sport coupes.

Also, controlling the navigation and entertainment features through the Remote Touchpad is an exercise in frustration. Further hurting the RC's chances of becoming a top pick is the lack of storage and cargo space. If all you're after is a stylish and comfortable luxury coupe, the RC 200t may satisfy. But overall we think other luxury sport coupes will deliver a better all-around experience.



what's new

The Lexus RC 200t is essentially unchanged for 2017.

we recommend

There aren't any traditional trim levels associated with the RC 200t, but we suggest adding the optional F Sport package. Besides sporty cosmetic touches inside and out, it also adds an adaptive suspension, which helps improve the car's overall ride comfort and handling capabilities. By contrast, we recommend skipping the Dynamic Handling and Rear Steering option; it makes the RC less enjoyable to drive in our opinion.

trim levels & features

The 2017 Lexus RC 200t is a luxury sport coupe that represents the base model for the RC lineup that continues with the RC 300 and RC 350 models. Standard features are mostly identical among these variants, with the engine the most significant difference. The RC 200t is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (241 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque) paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels.

Standard feature highlights include 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, heated mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, power front seats, premium vinyl upholstery and a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth connectivity, a 7-inch center display, voice controls and a 10-speaker sound system with satellite radio. Also standard is Lexus Enform Service Connect, which provides access to vehicle status and maintenance alerts via a smartphone app.

A number of options packages are offered, although availability can vary depending on where you live. The Premium package adds heated and ventilated front seats, auto-dimming side mirrors and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Luxury package includes those items plus automatic wipers, perforated leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and driver-seat memory settings. The All-Weather package offers headlight washers, windshield wiper de-icer, water-repellent front door windows and a supplementary electric cabin heater.

The Navigation package adds a console-mounted touchpad controller, a navigation system, upgraded voice controls and smartphone app integration (including Destination Search, Yelp, Pandora and iHeartRadio). The Navigation/Mark Levinson package adds a 17-speaker surround-sound audio system.

The F Sport package pads on appearance items such as a mesh grille and a unique front fascia along with substantive bits including 19-inch wheels with summer tires, adaptive sport-tuned suspension dampers, upgraded front brake pads and sport front seats. F Sport models also get perforated leather upholstery and trim, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver-seat memory settings and a special instrument cluster.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Lexus RC 350 Coupe with the F Sport package (3.5L V6 | 8-speed automatic | RWD). Note that although we have not yet evaluated the Lexus RC 200t that uses a smaller and less powerful engine than the RC 350, our findings here are broadly applicable to the RC 200t. Since this test was conducted, the RC has received only minor revisions.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Comfort

4.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort4.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration5.0 / 5.0

Interior

2.5 / 5.0

Ease of use2.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5.0
Roominess3.0 / 5.0
Visibility3.0 / 5.0
Quality4.5 / 5.0

Utility

3.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.0 / 5.0
Cargo space3.0 / 5.0

driving

Unfortunately, the RC 200t is more show than go. Acceleration is underwhelming for a luxury sport coupe, and it's not a particularly rewarding car to drive fast around turns.

acceleration

The RC 350 version we tested accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, which is about average for the class. But the 200t is slower. Lexus says the 200t will require 7.3 seconds, which is between 1 and 2 seconds slower than rivals.

braking

The brake pedal provides excellent response without feeling grabby or abrupt in normal use. But in our simulated-panic stop, a RC 350 F Sport with summer tires stopped from 60 mph in 120 feet. That's disappointing, and we don't expect a RC 200t will perform much better.

steering

edmunds rating
The RC 350 F Sport we evaluated came with active four-wheel steering with optional variable-ratio electric-assisted power steering. It all sounds nifty, but in actual use, the car feels nervous in corners and difficult to predict or get used to.

handling

In theory, the optional chassis enhancements should provide superior handling, but the RC posted only mediocre handling evaluation numbers at our test track and confounded us (and the electronic stability-control system) on our twisty evaluation route.

drivability

Despite its steering and handling idiosyncrasies, the RC is a very easy car to drive so long as you don't lean too hard on it. For highway or commute driving, it's quick and smooth.

comfort

edmunds rating
Even kids will find rear legroom lacking, but otherwise the RC 200t F Sport should provide an exceptionally comfortable ride, above-average front seats and one of the quietest cabins available.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
The F Sport's heated and ventilated soft-leather front sport seats are well contoured for body-hugging grip and road-trip comfort, but they could be a bit snug. The two rear buckets, also leather, have a good shape, but there's little headroom and zero legroom.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
With its adaptive variable suspension, the 200t F Sport offers an exceedingly sophisticated ride that envelops road imperfections with ease and poise. Dial it up, and it grows firmer without becoming harsh, making it better than most.

noise & vibration

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Whether idling at a stoplight, accelerating up to highway speeds or cruising at 70 mph, the RC is one of the quietest cars in its class. Wind, road and engine noises are all isolated almost out of existence.

interior

edmunds rating
The interior of the RC 200t is well-built but has some issues. User interfaces are frustrating at best, and the space is good up front but ultra-tight in back. There are few places to put things such as cellphones, the trunk is small, and many visibility aids cost extra.

ease of use

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It's remarkable how Lexus got the layout and electronics interface so wrong. From the terraced center stack and semi-responsive touch-sensitive temperature sliders to the finicky touchpad controller, it's an ergonomic disaster.

getting in/getting out

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Coupes are notoriously difficult because of their long doors, and so is this one. The front seats auto-slide to afford rear-seat access, but they are infuriatingly slow and threaten rear passengers' shins and feet upon return.

roominess

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The RC 200t provides slightly above-average room for the front passengers but by far the least room in the rear when compared to its Audi, BMW and Mercedes coupe peers. Think of it as a 2+2 coupe with the comfort priority placed on the first 2 in that equation.

visibility

edmunds rating
Overall visibility is challenging, particularly with its big rear blind spots. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, and adaptive cruise with frontal pre-collision system are all optional, but we think some of these should be standard.

quality

edmunds rating
As with any Lexus, the RC 200t's build quality (door closure, leather, paint, and cabin isolation) is outstanding. Not a squeak or rattle, ever. Even the few plastic bits have the look and feel of high quality.

utility

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Given the lack of storage for your personal items and the small trunk, the Lexus RC 200t trails the competition when it comes to utility.

small-item storage

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It lacks cubbies and nooks and has shallow bucket cupholders, a small center bin, narrow and hard-to-access door pockets and only an adequate glovebox.

cargo space

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With a trunk volume of only 10.4 cubic feet, the RC 200t isn't the most cargo-friendly coupe in the class. Fortunately, the standard 60/40-split fold-down rear seats expand space.

technology

edmunds rating
Lexus' Remote Touchpad infotainment interface is simply one of the worst controllers we've experienced. It works much like a laptop trackpad, but it's very difficult to use while in motion. On the bright side, the display is crisp and offers a lot of features.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.