Only one engine is available in the CT200h. The 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol with 98bhp is mated to a 82bhp electric motor to form a combined peak output of 134bhp hybrid powertrain. This is the same unit found in the Toyota Auris HSD.
Performance is fairly similar to the Auris too. 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.
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 gearbox. 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 unmistaken sound of a the CVT straining before eventually changing gear.
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.
This is where the CT200h 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 almost non existent. While, the electric power steering is well weighted and is easy to use around town with some added weight when you start hitting motorway speed.
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.