Missing the Marque: Lexus CT 200h

Launched a decade ago, the CT was an uncharacteristic misstep for its maker and a failure in the market.

2017 Lexus CT 200h. Image: caranddriver.com

In the first decade of the new millennium, Lexus would have looked on with interest and a degree of envy as the German premium trio successfully marched downwards into the C-segment. Even though the Audi A3, BMW 1-Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class(1) were not significantly (if at all) better than the best of the mainstream models in this sector, the appeal of their prestigious badges was such that buyers were happy to pay up for the kudos of having one on their driveway.

Lexus was slow to respond, but eventually produced its own competitor, the CT 200h. This was a five-door hatchback that was heavily based on the drivetrain of the highly regarded Toyota Prius. The 1997 first generation Prius had been something of an acquired taste, with its oddball looks and new-fangled and unfamiliar drivetrain, but the model really hit its stride in its 2003 second generation, an attractively styled car that quickly became the darling of those we would now call influencers, who used it to showcase their awareness of environmental concerns.

With the Prius as a starting point, Lexus should have been onto a winner, but that is not how it turned out at all, as we shall see.

Lexus apparently decided that a conventional silhouette in place of the Prius’s monobox design would be perceived as more prestigious. A concept, the LF-Ch, was unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2009. It was a striking and distinctive design, especially in the rear three-quarter view, with its muscular haunches and its shallow and heavily curved rear window flowing into a reverse-rake C-pillar. This concept certainly augured well for the production model to follow.

2009 Lexus LF-Ch Concept. Image: NetCarShow.com

Unfortunately, a great deal had been lost in translation from concept to production car when the latter was revealed at the Geneva motor show in March 2010. Where the concept had looked taut and athletic, the production car looked flaccid and awkward, particularly in the same rear-three quarter view.

The concept’s wraparound rear window was gone, replaced by a fussy three-piece backlight, presumably in the interests of making the rear hatch opening simpler to engineer. The C-pillar was widened, disrupting the relationship between the side DLO and rear window. This problem was exacerbated by a really awkwardly drawn rear door shut-line that wandered up the rear quarter panel before meeting the door window frame in a seemingly random manner.

2017 Lexus CT 200h. Image: carbuzz.com

In side profile, the rear door glass looked much too short, and the C-pillar looked too wide and positioned too far forward, as though the car had been crudely extended rearward late in the design process. The measurements confounded this impression, however. The production car’s wheelbase was the same as that of the concept at 2,600mm (102¼”) and overall length was just 50mm (2”) longer at 4,350mm (171¼”).

Upon further examination, it becomes apparent that it was mainly the repositioning forward of the C-pillar that ruined the proportions and stance of the production car, a great disappointment after the good looking concept.

Even if the car, carrying the CT 200h name in production, was a disappointment to look at, then its Prius-derived drivetrain should have made it a pleasant experience for driver and passengers. Again, we were to be disappointed. The CT 200h proved to be nowhere near as accomplished in dynamic terms as its progenitor.

2011 Lexus CT 200h. Image: autoscout24.at

The series-parallel hybrid drivetrain comprised a 1.8 litre petrol engine producing 98bhp (73kW) and an 80bhp (60kW) synchronous electric motor driving the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. The nickel-metal hydrid (NiMH) batteries had a total energy capacity of 1.3kWh. The CT 200h featured independent suspension, with MacPherson struts at the front and double wishbones at the rear. The four switchable driving modes were: Normal, Sport, Eco and EV, with the latter providing electric motor power only, which was good for a maximum range of less than 2 miles (3km).

Autocar magazine’s verdict was typical of the lukewarm reviews the new CT 200h received. The petrol-electric hybrid powertrain produced a combined maximum of 134bhp (100kW) which was barely adequate for a premium car weighing 1,450kg. Lexus claimed a 0 to 62mph (100km/h) time of 10.3 seconds, but the magazine’s average measured time to 60mph (97km/h) was 11.1 seconds. Moreover, in order to achieve that, the powertrain was noisy and strained, undermining its otherwise commendable refinement at steady speeds.

According to the reviewer, “The biggest problem with the car’s performance isn’t a shortage of outright power. It’s more that it’s delivered in a way that makes you feel only in vague control of either engine, and that makes you work doubly hard to gain and maintain speed.” The sensation of a lack of control was exacerbated by the CVT.

2020 Lexus CT 200h Interior. Image: caradvice.com.au

As one would expect from Lexus, the quality of materials and finish in the interior was “hugely impressive. The leathers are tactile and beautifully finished, the plastics soft and substantial”. The driver interface was, however, “spoilt by Lexus’s Remote Touch multi-function controller. It’s supposed to operate like a computer mouse, but is fiddly to use and requires far too many commands to perform even the simplest of functions. BMW’s iDrive is a million times easier to use”.

The reviewer’s other major criticism of the CT 200h was of an “over-firm, unsettled ride that’s at odds with the general nature of the car”.  They went on to conclude that “in its desire to make the CT200h sporty, it has created something of a mishmash – a car that handles well, but without the power to make the most of it. If Lexus’s objective was to make the CT200h drive differently from a Prius, it has succeeded, but it has failed to produce a car with a coherent or harmonious driving experience.” Overall, Autocar rated the CT 200h an unimpressive three stars (out of five) which left it trailing in the wake of its premium compact competitors.

In a later review, What Car magazine was even more harsh in its verdict. Citing similar issues, it awarded the CT 200h just two stars and described it in summary as “unrefined, uncomfortable and outdated”.

There were no fundamental updates during the car’s life, just a facelift in 2014 which introduced Lexus’s Spindle grille, and an even more minor one in 2017 which is recognisable (just) by different rear light units. This upgrade included a larger 10.3″ infotainment touchscreen in all but the base-specification model.

The CT 200h was aimed primarily at Europe but was also sold in North America. Sales were steady at low levels, but never really took off in either market, as can be seen in the table below:

Year: Europe: (2) N. America: (3)
2011 16,075 14,381
2012 15,325 20,951
2013 9,336 16,050
2014 10,148 18,708
2015 9,794 15,471
2016 8,001 9,449
2017 8,419 5,057
2018 8,783 4
2019 5,295
2020 4,501
Total 95,677 100,071

The CT 200h was phased out in North America at the end of 2017 because of weak sales, and in Europe in late 2020 for the same reason. It was a poorly conceived and executed car that deserved to fail, and a blot on Lexus’s copybook that the automaker will undoubtedly be keen to forget.


Author’s Note: I was sufficiently exercised by the awkwardness of the CT 200h’s design to see if it could have been executed more pleasingly while operating within the constraints of the production model.  A piece containing my redesign proposals will follow shortly.

(1) The first and second-generation A-Class at least had the distinction of its highly space-efficient packaging to commend them, offering C-segment accommodation within a smaller overall footprint.

(2) From www.carsalesbase.com

(3) From www.goodcarbadcar.net

Author: Daniel O'Callaghan

Shut-line obsessive...Hates rudeness, loves biscuits.

54 thoughts on “Missing the Marque: Lexus CT 200h”

  1. Good morning, Daniel. The CT 200h was quite successful in the Dutch car market. In fact it is the best sold Lexus in the Netherlands by a huge margin. Over the years Lexus shifted 10,871 units, nearly double the number of the second most successful model, the IS, of which they sold 5,870. Too put this even more in perspective since it’s introduction on the Dutch market Lexus sold 25,870 cars until now. If you keep in mind the CT 200h was sold between 2011 and 2017 and the IS has been on sale from 1998 until 2020, you get an idea of how important the CT 200h was over here.

    There is only one reason this car was such a hit over here and it has nothing to do with the car inherent qualities. It’s the same reason why the Prius and Outlander PHEV sold in such great numbers and why Tesla sold about 10% of its car production in a given year over here: tax credits. I’m not going into the particulars of how it works, but if you had a company car a few years back you were basically forced to buy a hybrid. Now of course it’s all electric.

    1. Good morning Freerk. That really is a very striking number: by my calculations, the Dutch market, which accounts for roughly 3% of European passenger car sales, took over 14% of all CT 200h European sales between 2010 and 2017. Without such tax incentives, the CT 200h would have been even more of a dud in terms of sales.

    2. You are right, Daniel. The tax incentives in the Netherlands made a significant contribution to the CT200 h’s Europeans sales. The objective of the tax incentives was of course to get ‘greener’ cars on the road. It didn’t work, mainly because they only targeted the company car buyers and once the lease reached it end date, the cars became available on the second hand market. Private buyers largely ignored the hybrids and most of them were exported. Six billion Euros down the drain.

      Some car dealers who got PHEV’s as trade in claim that the charging cable was still wrapped in the factory plastic, so never used.

    3. The way these tax incentives skew the market is nonsensical. I can understand incentivising people to buy EVs, but offering similar incentives for ‘mild’ hybrids that have only a nominal range on electrical power is just nuts, IMHO.

    4. Agreed, Daniel. They stopped doing it and now the incentives are only for full electric vehicles. That’s not the main issue here. The big problem is that once the lease has expired and the hybrid (and electric) cars that become available on the secondhand market are too expensive for the members of the general public who don’t have a company car, so these cars are exported and the majority of the cars remain ICE powered despite the huge incentives that are solely targeted at company car owners.

      The government wants us to replace our ICE powered cars with electric vehicles, but the policy that solely targets company car drivers doesn’t work. The lease expires after three or four years and then the greener cars gone. The average age of the Dutch car is 13 or 14 years or there about and cars are actually getting older on average. After 2035 ICE powered cars can’t be sold anymore, but they’ll be a regular sight long after that. The private buyer did get an incentive at some point, but the money allocated for that was too little, so it won’t make a big difference.

  2. We´ve said a lot about the exterior. The interior´s a fright. It´s not that´s it´s ugly so much as incredibly indecisive. The doors have nothing much to say to the dashboard; the dashboard hasn´t got a clear theme other than the theme of accents to accentuate the bland. It´s not unusual among car interiors though it is notable that it comes from a brand like Lexus who might show a bit more confidence. What ails Lexus is common to most interior designs; I would presume that there is a strong disinclination for clear and simple “high concept” dashboards on the grouns that most of the obvious conceits have been used. However, if the choice is between muddy, unclear but nominal original shapes versus clear but perhaps familiar shapes, I´d go with the latter. I´d rather the design looked good but a bit familiar rather than indecisively hard to identify at all.
    The rear door shut line is cherishably bad. Lexus dropped a lot of balls with this car, just with the styling. I get the impression it´s a heavy, lumbering sort of car.

  3. TBH, I am not sure I am that keen on the original concept, but I would agree that the translation to the production version is lamentable. I have travelled in one of these on a number of occasions as it was (and still is) being used as a taxi in Wellingborough, which is where my office is based. It’s a strange thing – close your eyes and it’s a Prius from the inside, open them and it could be anything although it could be from the 80’s or 90’s in terms of design and build. I can’t see it being directly replaced – no doubt we’ll get some kind of cross-over instead.

  4. There’s an analogue to the Ford Thunderbird, a premium car with the Ford name that made the Mercury brand redundant in an instant. Toyota wanted to make a Lexus Prius but fell victim to its own success insomuch that the Prius was such a success in its own right even the status conscious Toyota buyers wanted one over a Lexus branded equivalent.

  5. Well, at first glance the Lexus looks like a poorly made copy of the Seat Toledo.
    But there are also positive aspects. At least part of the door trim comes in the same colour as the seats and the wheels extend to the road.

    I can’t say anything about the technology. I drove a Prius (I think one of the first series, but I’m not sure) once from Calais to Strasbourg – twice in one trip, the first time and the last time.

    1. Fred: we might ask which Toledo? There have been so many different types of car attached to this name. Also, we might also add that whichever of the nineteen different Toledos you meant, it´s a bit cruel as the the Toledo never looked bad.

    2. Richard, I beg to differ. The 2005-09 model looks ungainly even next to the CT-200h.

    3. Hello Richard and Andy. I knew immediately which Toledo Fred was thinking about. Andy has identified it correctly as the 2005 MPV model with the bustle-back tail:

      Andy, we’ll have to agree to differ on the merits of this versus the CT 200h. I think the Toledo, although unconventional, is at least (largely) competently executed. I think that the Toledo’s wraparound backlight, reverse-rake C-pillar and rear quarter-light are rather more coherent than on the Lexus. It’s the bustle tail that looks odd to my eyes, although I don’t hate it. The Lexus is irredeemably awkward.

    4. I think that Toledo looks more than fine. It´s interesting and different without being wierd. The topology of the boot-to-window is rather difficult to imagine until you see it. There´s a positional joint where the edge of the glass meets metal and somehow this has to mate with curvature-continuous surfaces around it. They did a really good job of this.

    5. Daniel, I see what you mean, given what parameters they set themselves I think Seat did a remarkably coherent job, but as the old joke goes “well, I wouldn’t start from here.”

  6. The C-pillar does not simply looks wide from the outside ruining the design, but it also created a huge gap in one’s view from the inside towards the rear. That “feature” may have helped Lexus sell a lot of parking camera options, but in practice I’d call it outright dangerous.
    Of course, that may be an outdated opinion as by today’s standards the Lexus actually has good visibility, some Toyota models (C-HR) barely even have any window surface left. Business consultants may have discovered that a square meter of glass is generally more expensive than a square meter of metal thus lately it’s a preferred design element (the Germans call reduced window-surface versions coupé, although I always debated that the term should only be applied to 2-door cars).
    In fact, the new Peugeot 308 seems to rethink a lot from the silhouette of the CT 200h, so the car may be out of the showrooms, but the idea is not.

    1. The crazy thing is that glass is actually cheaper than metal and a couple of years ago everybody expected car window sizes to grow.
      There’s one disadvantage to glass: you can’t fit padding to it and you can’t hide an airbag in it. In today’s crash test mad world these are factors that help sell cars. Active safety goes down the drain because you can’t see out of the car (and need lots of unnecessary electronic assistance systems) but you get better passive safety because you have hundred airbags in the car.

    2. The airbag, and the ever-increasing mass of them, was the death of anticipatory and cautious driving and eliminated the last vestige of friendly togetherness from road traffic.
      Along with the disappearing window area comes – at least here in our area – an addiction to reverse parking that is becoming fashionable, as if the film “Public Enemy No. 1” had become compulsory in driving schools. As a result, one becomes an involuntary bystander as drivers of such excesses as a CT200, or the C-HR so popular here, struggle with vehicle, parking space and unfamiliar camera angles.
      It has become a strange world. Is it age that makes me see it that way?

    3. There’s compulsory reverse parking where I work, Fred, for safety reasons. It’s probably a good idea, but it does highlight how visibility has reduced.

  7. A work colleague was lured in by the CT’s hailed fuel mileage, ride comfort and easy town driving. The car lasted but a week in his hands citing a stone hard ride, couldn’t understand the dashboard and woeful gear train. Although he lost two thousand pounds on the deal he was simply glad to see the back of it. I’ve seen him spit if one now drives by. Roy isn’t one for aesthetics, if you couldn’t already tell.

    1. Good evening Andrew. Wow, that must have hurt. Having found myself in that particular glasshouse (with the F-Type) I’m in no position to throw stones, but didn’t he notice the rock-hard ride when he test-drove the car (assuming he did so)?

      As to aesthetics, I come to the conclusion that many (most?) car buyers are considerably less sensitive in this regard than is the case with DTW’s readership. How else could one explain BMW’s continued popularity?

  8. Wanted to like the Lexus CT on its on merits as a rival to other premium C-Segment models rather than just an upmarket Prius, however it did not live up to what it promised.

    In that sense the Lexus CT brings to mind the Honda CR-Z, whose hybrid-only powertrain contrasted with the expectations of it (at least in non-hybrid form) being a long promised rebirth of the CR-X.

  9. How coincidental that this gets posted right as I’m looking at CT200h’s for sale! Never mind all the ink spilled above over its looks; from the moment the CT200h set tire on American shores it had an ace up its sleeve: its far uglier Lexus HS250h cousin. In contrast with that grandma-sedan, I’ve always viewed the CT as a rather adorable, pert little 5-door, clearly European in proportion, but purely Japanese in detailing. The false clamshell boot is a bit disappointing, but it gains points back for having real glass in the 3/4 panel where the new Chrysler Pacifica/Voyager vans have simply a black plastic sail panel for a similar effect.

    All that said, the reason I’m considering them isn’t the looks; I’m shopping for my boyfriends’ first vehicle, and there’s little else out there that can offer the outright reliability, small size, Lexus-luxe interior, and hybrid powertrain of the CT for under $20k. The i3 is too limited, the A3 e-tron is too much of a reliability unknown, and personally, I just don’t like most non-Lexus Toyota interiors that much. The alternative would be a hybrid Civic or Accord (no doubt better to drive), but the form factor of a hatch combined with Prius reliability is seriously hard to overlook. Combine that with the fact that the Asian community loves them so they’re pretty easy to find near SF and it seems like it’s the only thing to fit the bill!

    1. Fascinating insight on how different markets perceive brands. The question is whether your bf is an unwitting vicarious Lexus fan or whether he really shares your enthusiasm! I often get asked about what cars people should buy and although my first answer is always “get a Peugeot 406” I then inquire as to what their needs are which sometimes (believe it or not) leads away from 406 to other possibilities. Which generation hybrid Civic have you in mind?

    2. Hah! He’s no enthusiast, an anti-enthusiast rather, if you will, seeing as he’s getting a license at 22. His family owns a Land Cruiser 200 and has had a string of Benzes and Teslas, so I figured Corolla/Prius territory is a bit downmarket, but he does need solid reliability and is pretty set on a hybrid (as am I since he needs to offset my Volvo’s carbon footprint!) His sister got a 2015 CX-5 as her first car, though he doesn’t really want a CUV. I’d have a 406 in a heartbeat, but clearly we Americans aren’t privy to the breadth of cars you have! I’d get the latest Hybrid gen of the Civic, though it hasn’t been offered since 2015. More likely it would be an Accord Touring Hybrid or PHEV, but the issue with that is of course size. I’m also looking strongly at the Koreans, but their hybrids aren’t really what I’m after. I did try to get him into a Genesis G80 V8, but that was met with a resounding, ‘too big’.

    3. Good morning amoore100. We always appreciate alternative perspectives here at DTW, so it’s good to find an admirer of the CT 200h! If you (and your boyfriend) like its appearance, then it’s certainly worth a test-drove to see what you make of its dynamics, particularly its ride quality.

      Thank you also for drawing my attention to the HS 250h:

      For my money, it’s rather more coherently styled than the CT (apart from the ‘Bangle butt’) but I take your point that it’s image might be a bit geriatric for your boyfriend. Incidentally, he must place great trust in your taste and judgement, so use that power wisely! 😁

    4. I wouldn’t say I admire it particularly, and to him it’s ‘just another car’, but it certainly seems to fit the brief of “C-segment hybrid hatch with a nice interior that’ll last at least another decade” which is exactly what we need. Certainly we will be driving it before making any final decisions, but I’ve heard word from a fellow gay enthusiast in Nebraska whose mother owns one that it’s really rather good; I suspect American benchmarks for ride and handling are a little more forgiving, what with the millions of miles of smooth, silky interstates and suburbs with nary a cobblestone in sight!

      The HS is an ironic mention here because for as much of a failure/misstep the CT was, the HS was even more of one! Sold for two years in the US (~20k units), then back to JDM only. I think packaging was its greatest flaw. For being based on the Prius, it had a really rather stunted sedan body with no fold-down rear seats and a rather unnatural looking ‘slide’ of a center console. The CT at least gave you five doors and a more conventional center stack!

    5. You’re not kidding about the HS’s weird centre console:

      It’s all a bit overstyled, rather oddly so, given the bland exterior.

    6. Yeah, and while size-wise it’s a good package, I really didn’t (and don’t) see the point to Lexus having another FWD hybrid sedan with the ES around. The CT’s hatch form factor is certainly its USP here in America.

    7. The HS250h? That´s a new one for me. Speaking of Bangle boots, the uncomfortable aspect of the bootlide is shared with the Peugeot 508 and the Bangle 5 -series: the bootlid shut line runs down the side of the rear of the flank. Airbrush it out and the car looks dramatically better. The graphic line of the bootlid, lamp and bumper are not what you´d draw. They look a mess.
      I do wonder what the US market would have made of the 406. It might have competed against the VW Passat and not much else. I presume it´s better made than a Chevrolet of similar dimensions. The 4-cylinder engines would count against it, I guess. And the V6 is excessive (in my view) but Americans tend to like them in even smallish cars. The 1.8 litre engine I run can hum happily at 80 mph which you´d think was plenty fast for American roads. The 0-60 is a bit relaxed yet I don´t feel ever that it´s less than adequate.

    8. I understand the art of cutlines is utmost here, but I’ve always been split on if they’re meant to be interpreted stylistically or if they’re meant to fade into obscurity. I think it can go 50/50, though I definitely agree that the Bangle butt is a bit of a clumsy execution, though certainly no worse than most modern bonnet cutlines!

      The 406 I doubt would have made a mark here; the 405 already cast a reputation as a Volvo-esque (but less reliable) iconoclast and saw few sales as a result. Americans need something that can run as long as possible, as quickly as possible, and with as little maintenance as possible. It’s no surprise that as the 406 took Europe by storm it was the Camry and Accord that swept America away. Also, while most contemporary American cars were of lesser initial quality, the bulletproof nature of GM’s 3800 series (3.8 V6) has kept many of them alive.

      It’s true we generally prefer larger, less-stressed engines; the Accord’s ‘lesser’ I4 at the time of the 406 was a 2.3L and the Camry a 2.2L. I doubt any non-compact American cars came with sub 2L engines prior to the 2010s. Of course, as you say, the V6 would be our pick of the bunch; my grandparents still drive an XV30 V6 Camry, and my other grandmother formerly owned a 3.5 A33B Maxima! The latter complained quite profusely when she had to downsize to a Civic which was “so much less power!”

  10. Here’s a counterpoint from an independent car dealer in the UK. I really like the idea of the CT 200h and the dealer service would be excellent, I’m sure. An over-firm ride could be a dealbreaker, though.

    1. Black is a good colour for the CT. It hides both the wobbly rear door shut-line and the fussy three piece backlight. It makes almost palatable…almost.

  11. Coincidentally we have just this weekend replaced my wife’s CT200h with an e-Golf. Beforehand I was slightly worried the Golf would be a step down (cloth seats and a plastic interior). But oh my word, the sense of relief is strong.

    All the complaints about the CT200h are true, I’m afraid. The Golf has the same bhp rating and is 300kg heavier, but it feels eager and happy to move instead of whining and droning reluctantly along. The Golf has suspension that’s suited to the nature of the car rather than being accidentally taken from a Supra or similar. And the sat nav, while slightly over touch-screeny, was at least designed by and for human beings.

    We had a 2011. The idea that basically the same thing was struggling on until 2020 always amazed me.

    1. Hi Simon. Thanks for sharing your experience of the CT 200h, and welcome to DTW.

    2. Thank you Daniel!

      Your comment made me a bit conscious that I have just walked into a roomful of strangers being wholly negative… so I will add that the car was reliable, economical, and the dealers always fell over themselves to be helpful.

    1. Yes but, oh dear, that rear door window looks just as awkward from the inside:

    2. Sadly, you are, Richard:

      I suppose it’s the usual issue with folding rear seats in hatchbacks making it tricky (but not impossible) to incorporate a folding armrest.

    3. I am not sure there´s a problem special to hatchback. The Astra had a folding centre armrest for years and my XM has one plus a 40:60 folding rear seat. My 406 has three belts and a 40:60 folding rear seat. Cost cutting, I think, explains it.

    1. I can only assume that Lexus wanted to make it ‘sporty’ and distinguish it from the Toyota Pious (sorry, I mean Prius. 😁)

    2. Possibly it is the tires. The CT200H is fitted with low rolling resistance tires such as Michelin’s “Green X” series*. Low rolling resistance tires are touted to benefit gas mileage by up to 5% .

      In the case of the Prius: the tires are also on the narrow side at 185mm for the Mk2 and 195mm for the mk3 (most likely for aerodynamics) helping to facilitate the most miserable ride/handling compromise possible.

      * Michelin Primacy MXM4 215/45R17 87V for the US market, Yokohama dB 215/45R17 87W for Europe.

    3. The same is true for the Prius. I’ve only ever been passenger in Prius Mk1 taxi once and I was shocked by the hard ride.
      The most probable reason is that the car has a relatively high centre of gravity and an inherently low resonance frequency because the heavy battery is positioned not in the floor but in the boot (where it can be ventilated by the strange grille in the rear seat). To avoid excessive roll or ‘elk test’ effects the suspension has to be hard to get a higher resonance frequency

  12. On the photograph of the rear seats: what is the purpose of that grille between the seat and the door? It seems to appear only on that side of the bench, not the other. It looks like whoever occupied that seat would get the draught from that on their right, and the centre seatbelt impressing onto their left.

    Another minor issue with the CT: why not just call it that, given that the ‘200h’ was the only engine option. Someone who works near a family member did replace his with a newer one, so it can’t be all bad! As often mentioned in regard to poor Alfa Romeo sales, perhaps it was the dealers at play; in this case, the good reputation of Lexus dealers, as well as the likely reliability, cancelling out some doubts about the cars?

    1. Good morning Tom. I did wonder about that grille. I assume it’s for stale air extraction from the cabin, but why not have two smaller symmetrical grilles instead, which would be nearer and (presumably) more efficient?

      As to the nomenclature, I suppose it was done to align with other models in the Lexus where different engine sizes (and non-hybrid versions) were offered.

    2. That strange grille is a ventilation intake for the hybrid battery.
      The Prius has the same and it often is the source of cowshed-like odours.

    3. Thanks for the explanation, Dave. How strange that they couldn’t instead incorporate an external vent and avoid the risk of a whiff in the cabin.

  13. This really is the best of all places for learning about cars one has no wish to own, lease, drive…… And the reason why BMWs remain popular, Daniel, is surely the unfailing ability of the firm to keep casting fake pearls before real swine – ?

    1. That’s a clever subversion of the ‘pearls before swine’ metaphor, John. I must remember it for future use!

    2. The problem with DTW is that it´s also a place to learn about cars one does want to own and drive. Even some of the saddest munters have a strange fascination. This wretched Lexus is so bad I´d like to see how bad it is. Today´s item by brrbruno makes me want to experience a Mk1 Espace. I have the feeling it´s a really nice drive: light, tall, useful and rather distinctive.

  14. The Mk1 Espace was indeed all of those things Mr H – and the original Scenic was almost as good, too. Lots of useful storage places hidden in the floor – shame they filled up with water once the door seals started to fail….

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