Look at this. Two of the heroes from the 14%-era. Because that’s why people bought these as new, the low additional taxes. Despite the low additional taxes, you were still able to drive a very decent car. However, now they’re secondhand cars, how do they hold up in the private market? Are they interesting enough? Well, they’re quite fun for the economical Dutchman really. If you try a little, you’re able to do 21 km on a litre. Sure, the factory indication is far above that, but if you’re able to control your right foot, you’re able to get great efficiency-numbers. This CT200h, in which the “H” stands for Hybrid, was launched in 2011 in the segment of the Volkswagen Golf. Lexus’ first time in that segment, but the sales numbers exploded immediately. They almost sold 3.500 CT200h’s in 2011, all of which because of the low additional taxes. We’re in 2018 now and you’re still able to buy the CT200h, but because of the changes in tax legislature, the demand has declined.Volkswagen took a little longer before presenting their hybrid, but this Jetta was finally launched in 2013. That became a sales success as well, but only in its introduction year. They sold over 3.000 Jetta Hybrids back then. Admittedly, the Jetta is quite a difficult car. It’s mostly meant for the American market, it’s built in Mexico for a reason. You can see that in some details as well, but I’ll get to those later. The Jetta isn’t available anymore in the Netherlands, and even though a new generation has been presented, it won’t be coming to Europe. For this Jetta Hybrid, Volkswagen has chosen for familiar technology. It’s powered by a 1.4-litre TSI-engine, producing 150 horsepower. In total, it produces 170 horsepower, with the aid of the electrical motor.You can see the big, orange wiring from the hybrid system. The engine is connected to a 7-speed DSG-gearbox, which has to provide a little more driving pleasure. In the Lexus here, we also find familiar technology. It’s the power source from the Prius; the 1.8-litre 4-cylinder engine producing 99 horsepower, and it’s connected to a rather powerful electrical motor, producing 82 horsepower. That gives the car a systempower of 136 horsepower. As we already know, it’s a spotless drivetrain, so no worries there. The advantage of having a saloon car, is the big boot. In this case however, a big part of the boot has been taken in by the battery pack, which has been placed above the rear axle.
That takes in a lot of space. The floor is raised by quite a bit as well. A small advantage is the rear seat, which is foldable, so you can push long things through. These hinges are a little onfortunate as well, they don’t look very nice. It takes up a lot of space as well, because if you’ve got some luggage there, you won’t be able to close the boot because of the hinges.In the Lexus, you’ve got the ‘fifth door’-advantage. That’s why it’s more accessible. If you fold down the seats, you can fit quite a lot of stuff in there, but it isn’t incredibly spacious. It’s got a high floor, and even though you can lift this to create some space, you still have a big chunk of styrofoam, which you might want to throw out for more space. I wouldn’t call this boot spacious, no. Like I already said, the Lexus uses the technology from the Toyota Prius, and Auris Hybrid. A 1.8-litre engine, and that has a nice amount of torque. It’s connected to a CVT-gearbox. That means that when I put my foot down, let me demonstrate…It will rev up to the maximum amount. If I put it in Sport, it will remain at 5.000 RPM. You’ll get to 130 km/h in no time though, so the acceleration is very good, and you won’t even notice it. In those circumstances, it can be a little annoying, but if you’re just driving along, a CVT-gearbox is incredibly pleasant, because the engine doesn’t rev as much. I’m almost doing 100 km/h right now, let’s see… At this moment, it’s doing 1.200 RPM, and that’s an extremely small amount. If it needs more power, the revs will rise, but as long as you’re driving on flat roads, or if you’ve experiencing tailwinds, you’re always doing low amounts of revs, so it’s economical. That’s because the engine runs in a smooth and consistent way, which means it can be as economical as possible.And that’s what it’s meant to do. The fuel consumption? The board computer says 5,9, and that’s about the average of what people get with this car. Around 17 or 18 kilometres per litre. It isn’t as economical as the Prius, but that’s because the Prius is a little more streamlined. Right, how does the premium experience hold up in here? After all, it’s a Lexus.I have to say, it all looks very good. Take this small piece of leather, or the stitching on the dashboard. This version doesn’t have satnav, so it doesn’t have a big screen which shows you what the engine is doing exactly. It does have climate control, cruise
control, a leather steering wheel, a nice center console, it all looks very good. Just like you’d expect from a Lexus. I wouldn’t call it a spacious car however. We already spoke about the boot being not very big, and the space on the rear seat is a little disappointing as well. It’s decent for the C-segment, but I wouldn’t give it more than that.When it comes to a driving experience, it still offers you some Lexus. Unfortunately, as you could see from the wheels, the winter tires on the small wheels are spoiling the drive a little, but if you put normal summer tires on this, the drive will be better. When it comes to steering and the chassis, Lexus has done a very good job when it comes to this. So, the Jetta Hybrid. If you drive it, it feels exactly the same as another Jetta 1.4 TSI with a 7-speed DSG, and that means it’s got a very pleasant drivetrain. The only difference is that you’ve got an dial which shows you… what you’re doing with your electricity, instead of a rev counter.It says ‘charge’, ‘eco’, or ‘boost’. You’ll see the needle going from side to side, and you’re trying to keep it within the blue area, which indicates you’re driving as economical as possible. If I’m honest, the drive feels a lot more like a normal car than in the Lexus. It’s nice and quiet, the seating position is good, so that’s better than in the Lexus. The driving characteristics are more pleasant. If we take a look at the finishing on the inside, we can see it’s a Volkswagen which hasn’t been made in Germany. This hard plastic is a good example. Also, the seats aren’t adjustable with a turning knob, like you would normally see, but with a little lever.So it’s variably adjustable. The space in the back is very decent. I’ve got enough leg- and headroom, more than in the Lexus. So it’s done that properly. The 7-speed DSG-gearbox is a very pleasant one as well. It doesn’t have a rev counter, so you don’t know how much revs it’s doing exactly, but you can clearly hear it runs quietly. On this display, I can keep an eye on the amount of electricity I use.You’re able to drive fully electrically as well. I’m doing 100 km/h right now and I’m barely touching the accelerator, and it’s only driving on the batteries. It can do that at 80 km/h, or even 50 km/h, it’s all about the amount of electricity it’s got left. The CT200h can do that as well, but in here, you can see the car switching from electricity to
petrol power, and you don’t feel a thing. A very nice hybrid system, it works very well and the transitions are smooth. So, two hybrids with two different personalities. This is a little sportier, aimed at the driver because of the engine and transmission. The Lexus feels a little more luxurious, especially because of the interior. So the question is, are they interesting cars for private drivers? My opinion? I think they are, because it’s a family-sized car, with the fuel efficiency of an A-segment car.If you ask me, they’re great cars to buy as a private driver. Forget about the additional taxes and think about your own wallet, because that’s when these cars are good choices. .