back to article Lexus CT200h hybrid

Give Toyota its due, it's wringing the maximum amount of value from the Hybrid Synergy Drive power train. The 1.8 VVT-i Atkinson Cycle petrol engine and associated electric motor have already turned up in the Prius and Auris Hybrid, and now you can have them in a posh frock with a Lexus badge on the nose. Lexus CT200h Lexus …


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  1. Captain TickTock

    Movable mouse...

    looks like a US stock photo slipped in there.

  2. ColinP

    Good review, but...

    I clicked on the "Buy from Amazon" link, hoping to find a good deal, but - alas - no luck.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Kylie Option

    WHAT?! ! No word on whether the Kylie is standard or an optional extra.


  4. DRendar


    Parallel hybrids are so last decade.

    Plus they have fuel economy comparable / inferior (in some cases) to Diesel, VERY questionable eco-credentials, and are just too bloody heavy and complicated.

    Waiting to see what the Serial Hybrids (Sorry - Extended Range EV) will be like thanks... Bring on the Ampera!

    1. TeeCee Gold badge


      Take back that Boffin icon forthwith!

      Toyota's HSD is a full series / parallel hybrid system and allows the electric drive and engine to operate independantly of each other or in tandem. AFAIK, the only manufacturer kicking out a parallel only hybrid right now is Honda.

      So HSD vehicles are exactly like an Ampera with a smaller battery[1] in fact. One of the main reasons the Ampera was delayed was they originally specced the Volt as a pure serial, but found its performance and especially its hill-climbing capabilities stunk like a pile of rotting badgers. The European Ampera launch was delayed while a certain amount of rethinking took place. Allowing it to also drive the front wheels directly from the engine via its epicylic transmission, in effect replicating the series/parallel setup of HSD, involved licensing patents off, er, Toyota.

      In certain areas HSD is rather better than the GM tech as it can actually recharge the battery using the engine, something the Volt/Ampera does not do if reports are to be believed (if so, WHY?). This means that the engine can run at its most efficient speed and excess power produced gets squirreled away in the battery until needed. You have to suspect a Vampera's economy in "extended range" (aka flat battery) mode sucks by comparison to the Toyota product and I await "real world" figures with interest.

      Given that the fleet market is where most cars go and given the choice of "fill it using the fuel card or plug it in at my expense", I fully expect the majority of Vamperas to run around in permanent extended range mode. This is likely to have two effects. Firstly, the BIK reductions for its headline CO2 figures will make a mockery of the system. Secondly, secondhand ex-fleet cars will invariably come with a shagged battery due to its lack of charge/discharge cycling and residual values will plummet.

      All Vampera speculation is IMHO of course, I don't actually have a crystal ball and I haven't had a go with one yet.

      I suppose I should come clean (hah!) at this point and own up to having a fleet Prius. No axe-grinding or leaf-munching involved though, it's purely a tax dodge.

      [1] Although PHEV versions now exist with a bigger battery.

      1. DRendar


        I will NOT!

        I R boffin damnit (Although more BOFHin than Boffin nowadays :-)

        You are correct that the Ampera does now partially connect the generator to the planetary gear system - but only at 'high speed' (what that means exactly hasn't been stated)

        The Ampera will happily go from 0 to 60 without any direct linkage, and will drive on electric only up to 80Km with using a single drop of dino juice.

        --"In certain areas HSD is rather better than the GM tech as it can actually recharge the battery using the engine, something the Volt/Ampera does not do if reports are to be believed (if so, WHY?). "

        I'm afraid those reports are wrong... It does recharge the battery, but doesn't - by design - charge it past a certain limit - the reason is that generating electricity from dino-juice is more expensive, both in money and CO2 than from the grid. If electrical energy is needed that isn't available in the battery then it will fire up, but why burn money recharging the battery any more than it needs to?

        I can see your point about fleet drivers never plugging the thing in, but you can come up with scenarios that make anything look uneconomical... If I drive my Golf at 80MPH in 3rd gear with the A/C on full and the windows down, I'll get shit economy too.

        Or for a better example - I bet most of those A4s and 5-Series drive around with Sport Mode switched on constantly too.

        I direct you to the Ampera blog - which while very much self-serving (obviously) is extremely interesting reading, and explains many of the design decisions they've taken.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Answers is here!

          The Ampera (electric Mode) uses two motors (This is more efficient than having one motor do 0-100!) A variable main drive motor (0-65mph) and a static speed (35mph) motor (also used as a generator) the static speed motor adds 35mph to the drive via an epicyclic gearbox, the main drive motor does the all rest. Examples - If you drive at 20mph that is 20 from the drive motor and zero from the static motor if you drive at 50mph that is either 50+0 OR 15+35 the car decides based on driving/charge conditions. if you drive at 70mph that is 35+35 up to a maximum 100mph which is 65+35. (the change from Drive Motor to Drive+Static Motor is nearly seemless and uses an internal clutch to engage the static motor at the same time as dropping the drive motor down by 35mph)

          When Extended Mode comes into play, the Petrol Engine Drives the static Motor at constant speed (35mph equivalent) this means that the drive motor can only provide 0-65mph but when you want to drive at 80mph the car needs to connect up to the static speed drive, at this point the engine is providing the 35mph static drive, 45+35 = 80mph but the engine is also driving the static motor generating the power for the drive motor (the battery is used as a power reservoir)

          The Static Speed Drive (Motor or Petrol Engine) is never used on its own without some drive being provided by the Drive Motor ie 0 drive + 35 static = 35 mph does not occur. Why? 1 because its a static speed and therefore is not very controllable, 2 because the Drive motor cannot be braked at 0 as this is Regeneration Mode which would mean the car would be regenerating from the static drive via the epicyclic with a net output to the vehicle speed of less than you want! so in order to drive the drive motor MUST be running at some speed.

          As for charging the battery, The Petrol Range Extender mode only kicks in when the Battery charge drops below 30% and turns off when that charge level is achieved. (Mountain Mode increases the reserve power to 40%) the Petrol Engine is only 50hp which is not enough to accelerate the car or climb mountains on its own so it uses the reserve power, however 50hp is more than enough to cruise at 40mph, so any excess power is fed back to the battery, as is brake-regen, when the 30% level is achieved again the engine shuts off. Why not recharge it to 100%? well that would mean you could never charge it from the mains! that would make it 100% petrol (like a Prius) the car does not need 100% battery reserve, it can operate normally with 30% reserve (or 40% in mountain mode) so top it up later for 24p when you finish your journey.

          There is also a "Hold" Mode where you can choose to maintain the charge level as it is. This means you can leave home on extended mode saving the batteries so that you can drive on Electric later in your journey (there is talk of No Emission Zones in the future).

          So Overall how many Drive modes? Four:

          1) Electric Only - Battery Charge above 30% (or below 40% "Mountain" Mode, Not available in "Hold" Mode)

          1a) 0 - ~45mph [Drive motor in use]-Disconnected-[Static Motor not in use]-Disconnected-[Engine Not in use]

          1b) ~45 - 100mph [Drive motor in use]-Connected-[Static Motor Driving +35mph]-Disconnected-[Engine Not in use]

          2) Extended Mode - Battery Charge below 30% (or below 40% "Mountain" Mode, or In "Hold" Mode)

          2a) 0 - ~60mph [Drive motor in use]-Disconnected-[Static Motor Generating]-Connected- [Engine in use (running at +35mph equiv)]

          2b) ~60 - 100mph [Drive motor in use]-Connected-[Static Motor Generating]-Connected-[Engine in use (running at +35mph equiv)]

          1. Anonymous Coward


            1) Electric Only - Battery Charge above 30% (or ABOVE 40% "Mountain" Mode, Not available in "Hold" Mode)

    2. Anonymous Coward

      1980s diesels

      If hybrids are last decade, then that puts diesels back in the 80s. Even with highly complex and poor reliability particulate filters, their emission are causing serious concern.

      1. DRendar

        @Anonymous Twit



        How many Common rail or PD engined Diesel engines were there in the 1980s? Ummmm NONE

        And do you think that the corrosive and poisonous chemicals released during the manufacture of those batteries is any better? Don't listen to the American Oil Companies - they lie more than politicians... Well considering most US politicians are OWNed by them that's unsurprising.

        And the Diesel engine was invented in the 1890's by the way.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Saw one this morning walking the dog

    Mistook it for an Astra. And so did the dog. Crapped right next to it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      You are lucky you did not see it the Sainsbury parking lot

      I Did _NOT_ see it on time and did _NOT_ hear it on time either. It is indeed silent when moving at sub-5mph. Had to jump out in order not to be run over by an eco-consious tw*t.

      1. Cosmo


        ... you should look where you're going?

      2. lawndart


        These electrically driven vehicles clearly need a noise maker fitted to alert pedestrians. How about a recorded voice saying: "Warning, gullible fool approaching" when travelling below ten miles per hour?

        If it becomes the standard vehicle for politicians you could delete the travelling below ten miles per hour bit.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      @ AC.

      How could you tell the difference afterwards? Did you scoop up the lexus by mistake?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      why was the Lexus walking the dog?

      and what were you doing crapping next to it?

  6. Anonymous Coward


    The styling is bizarre. I own the original IS200 and like it, it still looks reasonably good now even though it's an old model. The replacement IS is a great looking car but this new model just looks like a cheap Nissan from 10 years ago. Pity because the hybrid tech sounds decent and the interior looks great.

  7. Is it me!

    Did he really drive the car?

    There is obviously something wrong with the car tested. One of the nice things about the Prius is leaving boy racers standing at the traffic lights in their Golf GTI. Far from losing on the low-speed acceleration, it will outperform most cars there.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Did he really drive the car?

      I wondered at that too. The bog-loads of torque from nothing presented by the 'leccy drive do make it take off like a scalded cat.

      Maybe the reviewer overdid it? The Achilles' heel here is grip. If you really clog it and break traction, it dumps the breakers on the inverter causing the electric drive and all that torque to suddenly disappear. It has to do this as that torque will snap a driveshaft or strip the transmission if a wheel spins and then grips at full chat.

      Incidently, it is possible to disable that traction control by hacking the thing (Google it). This comes with dire "don't try this at home" warnings and *will* invalidate the warranty if anything breaks.............

    2. Stacy

      As Mr Bennet would say

      You think that dear, if it gives you comfort.

      Have you seen the performance figures for a Prius? Unless we are taking about the fat underpowered GTi''s that have been thrashed to an inch of their life in the 90's that is...

      New Golf GTi < 7 second to 60... Prius > 10 seconds...

      Any modern GTi (or similar) you are beating is either not bothered about racing you, or can't drive...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        I would always read the comment before replying to it

        The poster said it beats them from the lights not the 0-60 time. Owning a Prius (it is the cheapest company car you can get) I will agree with the original poster.

        But hey don't let the original comment stop you from posting what you want to!

        1. Stacy

          Is there any particular time limit you want to put on this???

          Oh sorry - I forgot when racing you stop at 30. Or 20... Or whatever time it is that they other car starts to dissapear.

          I stand by my original comment... I have found the time for a prius to 30 (a little over three seconds).

          From what I can see on the net the GTi should be in the range of 2.5 to 3 without extreme driving, less with. We are talking racing from the lights here so I would say the 2 of extreme launch counts. So it's slightly quicker to 30 (without killing the drive shafts), quite a lot quicker in all likelyhood if you are going for it and *much* quicker to any decent speed.

          The extreme talk that is discussed is also slightly dissapointing. Less than my T5 develops at 1500rpm. Hardly earth shattering.

          Still thanks for the smile of racing to 30. Very funny.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Posh frock?

    Posh frocks tend to look a bit better than this...ok, *a lot* better...

    This reminds me of a mazda 3, and that's no posh frock either. They're both more a well-soiled chef's apron...

  9. Anonymous Coward


    Oh man...check out the windscreen pillars and that non-existing visibility on the 3/4's.

    Makes me shudder to my vulnerable-cyclist-bones that does...

    The car driver in me can't get over the ugliness and impracticality of the rear; too high, too fussy, too ugly, too hard to reverse with.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Visibility

      Er, rear-facing camera with a fisheye lens on it for reversing. Picture displayed on that big screen in the middle. The resulting view's rather better than you get by turning your head round in most cars.

      1. stu 4
        Thumb Down

        what big screen ?

        the 1800 quid optional big screen ?

        so your point is that, provided you are happy to spend 2000 quid on a 'mirror' you are sorted...

        oh yeh - its a GPS too - woopee do.. with nearly as much functionality as a 25 quid satnav.

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: what big screen ?

          The screen's standard. Even without the satnav option.

          Reversing camera and all the bits with as an addon is 900EUR and worth every cent IMHO.

          If you don't take it, proximity sensors are standard.

          25 quid satnav? With European maps, turn by turn, junction layouts and lane directions (i.e. bare minimum spec for driving)? Where?

          1. stu 4


            you think 900 quid for a reversing camera is good value ?

            kits available for 40 quid including screen.

            and satnav:

            a fool and their money, etc...

            then again... you bought a hybrid...

            I extend my offer of magic beans to you. Only 900 quid for the bag.

  10. Eddy Ito

    Other side of the pond

    The gas only version is called a Toyota Matrix and when Pontiac was alive there was a Pontiac Vibe branded version. It's still the same car only by adding the L to the front and hybrid drive they feel a considerable price jump is warranted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Many Lexi are based on Japanese domestic model Toyotas, the whole marque is an exercise in badge engineering.

      This is one of the few cases whereby a US model is marketed in Europe as the "premium" brand.

      Usually they are UK models sold at a premium in the US, such as the Honda Accord sold as an Acura, the Nissan Primera sold as an Infinity, the Ford Granada sold as a Merkur etc. etc.

      However, having driven a US-spec captive import (to the UK) Accord Coupe, it seems larger, more comfortable and better specced than the domestic Accord of the same era.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Sorry, but your comment is outdated rubbish. It's some years since a few Lexus models were based on Toyotas. The USA I think still has a few, but not over here.

      2. Eddy Ito

        Re: Lexi

        To my knowledge the Matrix is a has been a US only version built in the joint Pontiac plant in California. Now that Pontiac is dead and the plant is closed, I'm guessing production has moved to Japan. That said, it seems likely that the cost of hybridizing the Matrix only makes sense when rebadged as a Lexus. I just wish they had done a hybrid Vibe so it would be several grand cheaper... then again, I'm a bit of a skinflint.

  11. zb
    Thumb Down

    Come on!

    I put up with the Paris stuff because it can be funny and is the sort of thing that appeals to quite a few geeks. But cars? If I want to read about cars I go to Jeremy Clarkson. Before long you will be reviewing washing machines.

    Yes, i know what hardware means.

  12. jungle_jim


    id still pick a decent derv over this...

    i have a 6 year old bmw 120d that will return 62mpg if i potter on the motorway at 60mph and hits 60 just over 7 sec mark. that, and it is correct wheel drive.

    that said, ill be getting rid of it as soon as i have finished my saab powered mk2 cortina. thats even more environmentally friendly.

    1. Silverburn

      Saab powered Cortina?

      Two wrongs don't make a right, you know...:-)

      1. jungle_jim
        Thumb Up

        not if the engine points the right way....

        saab made a great engine (B2x4) and after gm bought them they matched bolt patterns, so the saab fits to an omega gearbox which will ultimately drive a jaguar axle! recycling at its best!

    2. DRendar

      Correct Wheel Drive

      Forgive me, but are you referring to the 1-series being Rear Wheel Drive?

      These are great fun to drive hard (and is great for track days) but as soon as you get a bit of snow it's fecking useless without snow chains.

      Last winter, with only a single exception, every tailback / incident that I saw was caused by either BMWs, Mercs or other RWD vehicles which had zero grip and were trying to drive in the snow.

      One incident on the M4 Eastbound near Newport was caused by a woman in a CLK who got stuck on a 10% incline and couldn't get moving again, she was just spinning in the middle lane with her rear-end waving from side to side like a disgruntled moggy. This caused a 20 mile tailback of Stationary traffic which lasted for over 6 hours. (One of my work colleagues was stuck in it on his way home, I was going West - smiling quietly to myself.)

      For gods sake all you Beemer and Merc (and other RWD vehicles) - this winter, either buy snowchains/socks, get a 1/2 tonne of ballast in your boot, or please, stay the fuck off the road.

  13. Peter Bond

    I've an idea

    "But cars? If I want to read about cars I go to Jeremy Clarkson. Before long you will be reviewing washing machines."

    Drop the editor a line with a full list of all the other things this site covers that you don't like or have no interest in so they can tailor it perfectly to your requirements.

    Arrogant jerk.

    I have no interest in games so I don't read games reviews - it's not hard, nobody is making you read the Reg's very occasional - and not half bad - car reviews are they?

    Did your parents never tell you that the world doesn't revolve around your likes and dislikes? They should have.

  14. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Worried of Tunbridge Wells

    I'm a bit worried about our Alun Taylor. I was rather startled to read this:

    >>the cloth is so lasciviously pleasant to the touch I was tempted to take a quick spin in the buff just to get the full effect


    That's not something I expected to read on El Reg or anywhere to be honest. But then:

    >>Room for the odd dead body or two in the back

    Suddenly, all becomes clear. Once you've burned the blood-stained clothes, after the crazed machete attack, how are you going to get home?

    Well, now we know. The question to ask is, which member of The Register's staff has recently, mysteriously, disappeared - or is this the sign of a future plan to become El Reg Overlord? Enquiring minds would like to know...

    1. Tony Jarvie

      Missing El Reg staff

      Er, hasn't Sarah Bee just left?

      1. Steven Raith

        Maybe Alun Taylor... actually Ms Bees nom de plume, or whatever they call the the writers-having-multiple-name-things. She never left.

        As such, the idea of Ms Bee riding around nekked in leather....ooh, I've had a senior moment. 'Scuse me.

        PS: Anyone who takes Clarksons car reviews seriously these days needs their heads examined. Autocar and Evo for me, ta.

        Steven R

  15. Anonymous Coward


    It's more expensive, more complex, less economical, less powerful and considerably slower than a turbodiesel.

    Yet another eco car that doesn't measure up to regular car standards.

  16. Zog The Undeniable

    Prius drivers

    always seem to driive in a non-eco style, i.e. 85mph on the motorway. You don't get any benefit from the hybrid stuff at constant speed (although the Atkinson engine helps a bit) and 85mph uses a lot more fuel than 70mph.

    I bet they're getting worse real-world mpg than almost any diesel car (excluding Wilmslow panzers, obviously).

  17. bep

    Diesels get great fuel economy

    Yes, we know.

    The debate isn't just about fuel economy. If it was it would be over at post number one. Here's the news, chaps; diesels are dirty. Like, you-wouldn't-want-to-breath-it dirty. So clean up your act before you choke us all.

    1. Justin Clements

      Because batteries are clean...

      Diesels get great fuel economy, and that's what this eco bs is really about. Even my diesel van (cd factor of a brick) is now getting 60+ round town, 70+ on a motorway, and a recent test where I drove like a saint for 200 miles got 86.1mpg!

      That's a diesel van!

      But to dismiss derv as dirty when all these electic cars require huge battery packs is nonsensical. Batteries are much worse to the environment, both the build and to dispose of in the future.

      Plus there is the added fact that a battery pack will largely need replacing in 10 years. So the average life of the car could easily be 10 years before it's discarded. Whereas a diesel car/van can easily see 20 years, especially outside the UK where people tend not to buy cars quite so often.

      People who buy 10 year old cars in the UK, don't generally like £3-4k bills chasing them for the battery either. But even if they run the car without the battery, all the eco goodness disappears in one, and they are left with a car that maybe does 35-40mpg if they are lucky - plus they get to drag around 200kg of dead batteries for fun. Hardy eco efficient.

  18. Buzzword

    Listen very carefully

    For me the main selling point is that it's a lot quieter than a diesel. Granted, a petrol car is just as quiet (except when the hybrid is running on batteries only); but the hybrid combines the economy of diesel with the hush of petrol.

    Diesel rattle is most noticeable when you're idling in traffic; and that's when the hybrid is quietest. Worse still, after a few years most diesel cars develop a general interior resonance when idling (usually in the dashboard). I really don't know how taxi drivers put up with it.

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