F for Fun, Sport.

Posted: May 10, 2015 in All
Tags: , , , , ,

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First impressions can often be wrong. My first impressions of the Lexus CT200h F-Sport were certainly proof of that. Yes the looks of the CT200 are fantastic, absolutely no doubt about that. Sleek modern lines, tidy shapes, aggressive angles and stance. The front end styling is something special, the rear a tad chubby but still very pleasant to gaze upon. The sparkly white Nova Glass Flake with Onyx paintwork stunning.

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Step inside this shiny hatchback, the build quality is outstanding and you are not wanting for more in the equipment level department. All those first impressions were very positive, a stunning car in every sense. But after a couple of days with the vehicle those first impressions quickly turned and I rapidly fell out of love with the CT200. The ride was a little hard for day to day use thanks largely due to the 215/45 r17 tires wrapped around beautifully sculptured wheels, and power certainly wasn’t jaw dropping. Load the kids in the back and our six year old girl was quick to complain about the lack of leg room, even our 2 year old boy found it far too easy to kick the back of the drivers’ seat. That’s the price one pays I guess for using less fossil fuels and more electricity from the bank of batteries that eat away at the rear passenger compartment and make the boot floor much higher limiting the amount of Pinot Gris one can load in there.

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So, here I am thinking why would anyone pay upwards of $59,995 for what is essentially a hatchback with poor load space and barely enough space for a couple of short kids. If you want the hybrid economy why not just save $13k and go for a Prius?

Here’s why.

The CT200h F-Sport won me over again with a quick run on my favourite test road, fast tight curves, short straights and a couple of hairpin turns. When you first start the CT200 the super brainy hybrid system begins in normal mode. If you are just cruising around downtown you can turn the smooth silver dial in the centre console to the left and run in eco mode, using mostly battery power and only firing the petrol engine up when you really need it. Next to this dial is a button that allows you to run solely in EV (Electric Vehicle) mode, up to 50kph. But now we are out on that country back road and want to have some fun. Twist the dial to the right and engage sport mode. Now we are talking. The dash display glows red, the hybrid electricity meter goes home and makes way for a tachometer, the steering stiffens, the throttle response sharpens and the whole car appears to liven up and wants to dance. You can now flick this shiny machine around the tightest corner in absolute comfort and at speeds you wouldn’t even think about in most other hatchbacks.

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There are many quirky gadgets available to occupy your parked up time that can be controlled via a ‘mouse’ right at your fingertips in the centre console. Gadget guys like myself could spend many an hour going through the many settings and customisations available.

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Now, would I buy a CT200? The base CT200 comes in at a tad under $50k. A hell of a lot of cash for a hatch, even a hybrid. The F-sport, as tested, will give you five bucks change from $60k and if you want to go all out for the limited model you will need to fork out $69,995. That’s a heap of hard earned cash for what is essentially a hatch lacking load space. Yes the hybrid gives great economy, but you will still need to visit a petrol filly uppy place as often as you would normally due to the 45 litre tank capacity. You could spend a lot less and get the same economy from other hybrids or diesels, and have more luggage space to boot (pun intended). All I can say is after the first few days I was unimpressed, but this technically advanced machine did sure put a huge smile on my dial after having a play with the sport mode. Would I buy it? To be honest, I just don’t know. The fun factor is there, it’s smooth and quiet around town, but that is a lot of money.

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