Parkers overall rating: 2.9 out of 5 2.9
  • Just one engine option available  
  • It's a smooth petrol hybrid 
  • Focus is on economy, not performance 

Only one engine is available in the CT 200h. The 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine and electric motor combine for a total system output of 136hp - the newer version of this found in the Corolla and C-HR actually produces less at 122hp. Torque is rated at 142Nm. 

It can get from zero to 62mph in a time of 10.3 seconds and it has an achievable top speed of 112mph. This is disappointing compared to European rivals and the car does feel lacklustre and laboured a lot of the time.

Put your foot down and the car feels sluggish, it lacks oomph. Things aren’t helped by the engine being paired with a CVT automatic transmission. The auto ‘box does feel a little slicker than some units when travelling at slower speeds, but take the car up to the national limits and the driver is greeted with the unmistakable sound of the CVT straining before the revs drop back down again.

This was addressed in the 2014 facelift though: while engine speed increases, the level of it was significantly reduced, making the CT quieter under hard acceleration in the process.

The CT has four drive modes with Normal, EV, Eco and Sport. The EV mode will keep the car in full electric mode up to 28mph – as long as there is enough charge in the battery – and emit 0g/km of CO2 in the process.

Normal mode is when the petrol engine will take over and provide the extra power needed and offer a relaxed drive. Eco mode adjusts the aircon and throttle to achieve improved economy, while Sport provides extra power from the electric motor, sharpens the throttle response, stiffens the ride and weights up the power steering.

How does it handle?

  • Steering feels light but direct
  • Body roll well controlled
  • But it all feels a bit dull 

This is where the CT 200h has some of its toughest competition, the BMW 1 Series is the stand-out car when it comes to handling in this class. The CT feels precise and sharp when cornering. However, the lack of driver feedback and lifeless drive means that you can’t take full advantage of this.

The low centre of gravity means that bodyroll is minimal though. The electric power steering is well weighted and is easy to use around town with some added weight when you start hitting motorway speed, making it feel assured and planted on twistier roads, too.

Stick the car in Sport mode and the steering weights up much more and makes things a little more interesting around the tight stuff at speed, but it’s still some way behind its rivals.