2015 Lexus CT Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Lexus CT Hybrid was new.


Performance: 6.7

Test drivers say that the 2015 Lexus CT Hybrid has disappointing acceleration. They think it has precise steering and controlled handling, and while some point out that the F Sport package makes it more agile, it also makes the CT 200h ride more firmly.

  • "While the 2015 Lexus CT 200h is fun in its own way, it's no match for cars like the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 or even the Cadillac ELR. All three are quicker and handle better. However, the CT 200h looks great, is comfortable, is famously reliable, and its rivals have a hard time keeping up with its fuel-economy numbers. It's still more fun than you'd expect on a twisty back road, too." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The 2014 Lexus CT 200h is a distinctive choice for a premium-brand hybrid car thanks to its high fuel economy and moderately sporty handling. But it's also one of the slowest cars in its class." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "The CT 200h looks a lot faster than it is; I wouldn't call acceleration the car's strong suit. Other editors pointed to sluggish off-the-line speed, an uncivilized continuously variable automatic transmission and unresponsive throttle." -- Cars.com (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Lexus CT Hybrid comes with a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine and two electric motors, which make a combined 134 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard. According to the EPA, the CT Hybrid gets 43/40 mpg city/highway, which is great for the class.

While critics like the CT Hybrid’s fuel economy, they note that the Lexus CT 200h has poor acceleration, and add that it can’t keep up with Audi and BMW rivals. Some also write that the lack of power is particularly noticeable when climbing steep grades or passing on the highway, while others point out that the CVT is slow to transmit more power when needed.

  • The 98-horsepower 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine and 80-horsepower electric-drive motor result in 43 mpg for the Lexus CT 200h in the EPA city cycle, very impressive. However, you pay for it when you want to get moving, as the 10-second 0-60-mph acceleration performance that can be justified as ‘socially responsible’ in a Prius is a bit of a letdown in a sporty luxury-brand car that looks like it should run with Audis and BMWs." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Driving the 2014 Lexus CT 200h requires you to manage your expectations. The hatchback's hybrid powertrain is tuned to eke out every last mpg, and the result is very sluggish performance for a car in this price range." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "Under the hood, the CT 200h doesn't have the oomph that many luxury shoppers expect. Unless you find the Prius to be a thrill ride, you'll likely be underwhelmed by the 134-hp CT's ponderous acceleration. The CVT isn't particularly responsive, either." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • Power is plenty adequate in most situations, but can leave you wanting when passing or climbing hills." -- Motor Trend (2011)

Handling and Braking

The 2015 Lexus CT Hybrid comes with Lexus’ Drive Mode Select system, which features Normal, Eco, EV and Sport driving modes. Reviewers think the CT 200h has composed handling and precise steering, and some note that the F Sport package makes the CT an athletic handler, with a firmer suspension and more precise steering. However, some point out that models with the F Sport package also ride more firmly, and that all models could offer better brake pedal feel.

  • "Though the CT 200h shares a basic platform with Toyota Corolla and Scion tC, it features more dynamic handling than its plebian siblings thanks to a number of revised suspension components, including a unique lateral performance damper system aimed at reducing body vibrations and providing for a linear steering feel." -- Left Lane News
  • "The F-Sport package adds stiffer springs, dampers and anti-roll bars, albeit at the expense of the traditionally soft Lexus ride." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "… the Lexus CT 200h handles respectably for a hybrid car, and its steering is impressively precise (with a weightier effort level in Sport mode). The ride quality is decent enough with the standard suspension, but the firmer suspension tuning that comes with the F Sport option package can make the ride too harsh, depending on your local road conditions." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "Brake feel is inconsistent, too, which we would attribute to the attempt at making a hybrid's regenerative anchors act more like a sports car." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

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