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Published Date: 07/11/2017

Discerning drivers seeking luxurious cars that excel environmentally, complete with all the latest engine technology - but who don’t want or need vehicles that are relatively large - are presented with two exceptional examples in the form of Lexus’ CT and IS. How do they compare?

Distinct body styles that equally exude style

The CT took Japan’s leading luxury car manufacturer into new territory when it was first launched - and its sophisticated, contemporary hatchback shape certainly radiates the bold and desirable styling Lexus is known for. Its spindle grille sets it apart from other premium hatchbacks, while the side profile is decidedly sporty and the elegant rear echoes the design of the outgoing RX SUV. In F-Sport trim, the Lexus CT’s dynamic looks provide an exciting alternative to German equivalents.

The latest generation of the IS model from Lexus retains a unique place in the compact executive saloon class through its positioning as the leading hybrid option. The IS saloon is 330mm longer and 45mm wider than the CT hatchback but shares Lexus’ predisposition for visually daring and futuristic design. The family spindle grille again dominates at the front, flanked by stunning L-shape daytime light signatures. The side silhouette screams sportiness with its dramatic lines and creases, while the sleek, rakish light clusters blend into the contemporary rear to promise aesthetics that stand out from the crowd, particularly in F-Sport guise.

Conclusion: If you’re seeking a luxury hatchback, the CT is definitely the Lexus to choose.

Stylish and cossetting interiors

The Lexus CT redefines luxurious build quality in the compact premium segment, with the finest materials discernible throughout the hatchback’s interior. An extremely quiet, refined and comfortable car for five adults, Lexus has sourced bio-friendly components where possible, reinforcing its green credentials further. Leading edge multimedia such as Lexus Premium Navigation and the truly amazing Mark Levinson Premium Audio system can be specified, and the CT is fitted with numerous safety features as standard. Its 375-litre boot is suitable for two large suitcases or pushchairs and practicality is met with driver engagement courtesy of the CT’s finely-tuned chassis and suspension, along with dynamic control systems and various driving modes.

Lexus’ Takumi craftsmanship shines through inside the relatively larger IS saloon, too. Passengers can enjoy increased space while admiring elegant details such as the analogue clock. With eight airbags and a multitude of other standard and optional safety features, Lexus IS drivers can experience the car’s sporty driving experience to the full, especially if leather seats are specified. The petrol model’s 480-litre boot compares well to similar saloons, with the hybrid version’s luggage capacity reducing by only 30 litres to an impressive 450.

Conclusion: Drivers wanting or needing extra space will love the Lexus IS sport saloon.

Relaxing, smooth and environmentally-friendly power

Lexus is a world leader in hybrid cars and the CT hatchback’s sole powertrain choice is the 200h, which sees a super-efficient 1.8-litre petrol engine combined with a high-output electric motor, a compact battery and a smooth automatic gearbox. The result is near-silent cruising in electric mode and instant acceleration when required, with a refined 136bhp hybrid driving experience at all other times, and CO2 emissions as low as 82g/km combined plus average fuel consumption of up to 78.5mpg.

The IS saloon also excels when it comes to combining punchy performance and a silky ride with impressive efficiency and minimal environmental impact, the IS 300h’s powertrain comprises a 2.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor producing a potent total of 223bhp. Capable of reaching 62mph in just 8.3 seconds, the IS 300h can go on to a top speed of 125mph. Emissions commence from just 97g/km CO2, and the SE model can achieve upto 67.2mpg.

Conclusion: For maximum potency, grab the keys to the IS 300h F-Sport.

In numbers…









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Emissions (CO2, g/km)





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0 – 60mph in…. (seconds)










Lexus’ mastery of hybrid car technology is exhibited perfectly by these two exceptional compact cars, the CT hatchback and IS saloon. Whichever body style is chosen, luxury, technology, safety and a smooth driving experience all await and the sportiest IS 300h F-Sport model truly rivals the segment’s best but comes with added environmental efficiency.


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