By dropping the Toyota Prius's well-proven running gear into a compact, sporty body, Lexus has produced a desirable and talented little car.

There wasn't a lot wrong with the CT 200h, but Lexus has updated it for the 2013 model year with some small changes to ensure it remains competitive.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

Under the skin, everything remains the same.

That means you still get a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle engine twinned with an electric motor, for a total system output of 134-horsepower. A second motor acts as starter motor for the engine, and generator during regenerative braking. All that is served through a smooth electronic continuously-variable transmission.

That's enough for 43 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 42 mpg overall, in EPA ratings. As before, drivers can toggle between four transmission modes, Normal, Sport, Eco or EV.

'Normal' does what it says on the tin. 'Sport' improves throttle response for more spirited driving, Eco dulls it down again to encourage a little more frugality, and EV keeps the car in its electric mode for as long as the battery lasts.


No changes there, then. Instead, most of the 2013 alterations are to equipment and cosmetics.

Biggest news is the introduction of the sharply-styled F SPORT package. As with the larger cars in the Lexus range, F SPORT gives you suspension upgrades for a sportier drive, different wheels--in this case, 17-inch with a high-gloss finish--a different front grille, and a host of sporty interior fittings made from leather and aluminum.

We drove the CT 200h F SPORT in the UK a few months back, and found it a stylish, fun drive--though don't be expecting any more performance than the regular car can offer.

New features

Lexus now offers two new color options for the CT 200h--Silver Lining Metallic, and on the F SPORT, Ultra White.

Inside, a new navigation package is available, with next-generation Lexus Enform--incorporating Safety Connect and App Suite,as well as HD Radio with iTunes tagging. The navigation system can now also be kept closed at start-up.

Park Assist is now available as a standalone option, rather than being tied to a trim level, and heated front seats and a four-way powered passenger seat are also now available, standard on the Premium Package.

And that's pretty much it--there wasn't a great deal that needed changing, so Lexus hasn't changed it. And for those who always wanted a little more fun from their CT 200h, the F SPORT should just about satiate their desires.

For more information on the Lexus Hybrid range, why not check out our ultimate guide?


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.