2012 Lexus CT Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Lexus CT Hybrid was new.


Performance: 6.8

Some reviewers cite the 2012 Lexus CT 200h’s slow acceleration for its lack of sportiness, but most understand that this hybrid isn’t designed for drag races. Rather, Lexus intends to offer consumers an upscale hybrid with good fuel economy and good performance for a hybrid.

  • "Our overall impression is of a car that's only a bit more nimble than the hybrid norm and not nearly as sporty as Lexus would like you to believe." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

Acceleration and power aren’t the 2012 Lexus CT 200h’s strong points. With a powertrain that’s similar to the one in the Toyota Prius, the CT 200h has a total net horsepower rating of 134 from its 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. While many reviewers wish for more power, most understand that in order to attain frugal fuel economy figures, hybrid owners must settle for less-than-stellar performance. The EPA rates the CT 200h at 43/40 mpg city/highway.

The CT 200h has several driving modes: normal, ECO, EV and sport. Of the four, reviewers prefer the sport mode because that is when the CT 200h reaches its performance capabilities, though they are still disappointed that it isn’t as refined as it could be.

  • "The CT's powertrain is very similar to that of the Toyota Prius, and since the two cars also weigh about the same, acceleration is also similar. Throttle response is almost intolerably slow in Eco mode, is still somewhat dull in Normal, and is quite good in its Sport setting. Like the Prius, there is a bit of shudder whenever the gas engine kicks in." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "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." -- Edmunds 
  • "Modest acceleration." -- Cars.com
  • "This lowly amount of power has to haul roughly 3200 pounds, so this vehicle is slow." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

While reviewers acknowledge that the 2012 Lexus CT 200h is sporty for a hybrid, they also bemoan its brakes for being touchy and unpredictable and its steering for being numb and lacking feedback. If you’re set on a hybrid with some sporting pretensions, the CT 200h should be fine for you. However, if you’re willing to take a small hit in fuel economy for more performance, the nimble Volkswagen GTI might be more up your alley.

  • "Like in many hybrids, the brake pedal feels OK on soft applications, but its response to big pedal inputs is abruptly nonlinear." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Touchy on-center steering makes the CT a bit darty on straight roads. Sport mode amplifies the effect and adds more weight to the steering at low speeds; perhaps too much for some folks. There's little body lean in fast corners. … Brakes are also touchy, with some surging just before coming to a stop." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "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." -- Edmunds

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