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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,

I've been lurking around since last year waiting for my CT200h (premium package, Fire Agate Pearl with Caramel interior). I finally got delivery last Friday and though the wait was frustrating I have to say that I'm very satisfied I didn't get fed up and bail for something else. :D

So to start off, I should mention that I was coming from a 2005 Prius 2nd Gen and originally had considered the Prius 3rd Gen. I felt it had a lot of stuff that the 2nd gen didn't have that I was interested in having, such as the ability to use my iPod and XM radio, not to mention better mileage. Please note that any reference to "Prius" in this review is referring to my old prius and not the new one. While I did drive the new Prius, I felt that overall, the options on the CT were more attractive, not to mention the comfort in the driver's seat in particular being better.

When I heard about the CT200h I was intrigued. I felt that as long as it came close to the Prius in mileage, I was in, so when the reports came back with 42mpg, I was definitely putting money down.

To give you a short idea about what kind of driver I am before we start, I really am not into cars that much and really don't care about speed/power or 0-60 type of stuff. My main interests when it comes to cars are good gas economy and gadgets. I love me some cool gadgets.

Here we go:

Aesthetically, I feel the CT is just beautiful. I love the caramel interior and how it looks in conjunction with the outside. I would say that my only complaint regarding the positioning of things is that there isn't much in the way of storage for things like my parking tag. Currently I have it in the center console storage, but it is a bit awkward to turn around to get it since it is a bit further back than is comfortable. Very minor though. Since I have the home-like set to open the parking door, it is one less thing I have to reach to get. My last storage complaint is about the sunglasses tray in the roof console: it is too skinny and I will have to get new sunglasses because my wrap-around ones just don't fit in it.

The driver's seat is exceptionally comfy, though I do recommend playing around with it a bit. This is the first car that I've owned that has so many options for customizing the position of the seat (and the driving column) so it took me a moment to realize just how many directions I could move that seat. Once I got it in the right place though... wow... that is one comfortable seat (FYI, I'm 5'9"). The Nuluxe material is also very very soft and comfy. I had some friends in my car and they assumed it was leather (as did I originally). I will say that the back seats do not have a crazy amount of room, especially once you've put the the front seats into a comfortable position.

The accessibility of all the dials and nobs seems to be spot on. I've yet to reach for anything (well, with the exception of the glove compartment) which didn't seem to be ergonomically comfortable. I will say that the car-mouse took a bit to get used to, the force-feedback is a very interesting addition and really helps to minimize the distraction of having to navigate the system while driving. I also like that the fuel consumption can be seen in the mini-display on the dash without taking up space on the nav screen (though there is an option for that information to show on the nav screen as well).

The dash is very nice. I tried at the modes and was surprised to find something which I hadn't read before in any of the reviews or write ups: in Eco mode, the dash is actually not blue all the time, but rather only blue when you are "in the zone." This is actually quite functional if you are a previous Prius owner and know about hyper-planing. For those of you who don't know, this is the technique of accelerating to the desired speed and then taking your foot off the gas in order to reapply it slowly and encourage the electric engine to take over at higher speed. What is really cool about this feature in Eco mode is that you can tell when you are doing the technique correctly by the color out of the corner of your field of vision.

Of course, you put the car into Sport mode and it goes red all the time you are in that mode. As for Sport mode, I was only in it briefly because I wanted to see how high I could get the MPG.

Gadgets: I love the connectivity to the iPhone. I have to say, it is 100% better than it was in my Prius. First, the car absorbed all of my contacts in moments and I can just tell the call to "dial XXXXX" and it will not only know who, but ask me to specify if they have more than one phone number listed. I also like that the voice-free works perfectly. In my Prius, it seemed that the dialing happened in the background and sometimes it would take a moment for the person to "kick in" after they answered, leading to a confused "Hello? Hello?" This is NOT the case with the CT200h. The phone works perfectly and you hear the person the second they pick up the phone.

Streaming music via Bluetooth is also really awesome. I've heard that you can't choose playlists via USB, so I tried this first and really love it. I see no deterioration in sound quality and it is really nice to shuffle or use my phone playlists. I will confirm the USB issue in a few days, but I suppose the perfect solution for long trips is to plug the iPhone into the USB for power, but get the music through the bluetooth.

The nav system itself is also a huge improvement of the one in my Prius (2nd gen). The maps are higher resolution and inputting an address is a bit more logical than in the Prius version. I like that it asks for the city first, that way you don't waste time figuring out which street you want from slightly different spellings or details. This is particularly important in Boston where there are always multiple streets with the same name. The car mouse is a bit more involved when typing in addresses than the touch-screen was in the Prius, but the force-feedback helps you land easily on the right button, without it I can see how it would be very very difficult to use.

I also used the Enform concierge service to get a few addresses and while a lot of fun and cool to show off to friends, I don't know that I will extend it beyond the 1 year complimentary service. It is fun, but I feel like my iPhone can search for anything that I don't have readily available, not to mention the Nav will probably find any business that isn't too new.

I love that you can program the keyless entry to unlock all the doors from the driver's side. This option was available in the settings through the Nav.

I do have to say that I'm unsure how I feel about the way the Auto setting for the headlights leaves them on for 30 seconds after the car has been turned off and closed. I much preferred the way the Prius just shut off the lights after you open the door when the car is turned off. I will search to see if there is a setting for this, but I may got back to just turning off the lights manually if it looks like this continues. (edit: thanks to the find folks on the forum who told me it can, in fact, be programmed for different time intervals)

Performance: so like my Prius, when you first get a hybrid (mine had 7 miles on it), it seems to start at very low MPG (I think mine started at 18 or so) and slowly builds as you use the car. By the end of the weekend, I had consumed a quarter tank, driven around 145 miles and was up to 40mpg and it still seemed to be climbing. As I mentioned before, I was in Eco mode for a majority of the weekend and during this morning's commute, it was still climbing, so I expect it to go up at least a bit more during the week since it will be pretty low key driving.

When I briefly had the car in Sport mode, I definitely appreciated the kick it had. MUCH more than my old Prius was capable of doing.

I would say that overall I am VERY pleased with the CT200h. I feel it is exactly what I was looking for in terms of comfort and gas economy. The gadgets present in the premium model are very good and while I feel there might have been one or two on the next level up (like the rain sensing wipers which I might have liked) I feel like the middle package is probably the best bang-for-the-buck.

It was sad saying goodbye to my old car, but I feel this is an excellent replacement and I'm really looking forward to years of comfortable driving!

Feel free to ask any specific questions if you wanted me to check something on the car.

Cheers! :D

Update 1: The lights were indeed programmable and I now have them set to "off." When I open the door after turning off the car, the lights go out, just like my old car! Woot!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cool! I will have to check that setting when I get back to the car this afternoon! Thx for the heads up!
 

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Nice review - FYI, the "in the zone" blue also goes on and off in "Normal" mode, not just Eco.
 

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Thanks for the great comparison review and description of some of the finer features. Good stuff for those of us that are waiting on delivery.

I'm not totally clear on the "force-feedback" feature of the mouse. I assume this must be some sort of aid for selecting screen options so that you don't need to be exactly on top of an icon or selection in order to choose it?

Also, I'm curious about the low break-in mileage observation. I've picked up on this same comment from a few others, but then some owners seem to be getting great mileage right away. I would appreciate hearing how this works out for you (or others out there).

Again, thank you for taking the time to write up your observations and experiences.
 

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The force-feedback feature in better description snaps into placement on the icons to select from and automatically go to center of icon so you can guide it while looking at the road but know where the pointer is being moved :)
 

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Great review.

I'm probably the only idiot that don't know this but how did you program keyless entry to unlock all doors "through the Nav"? (I got it to do this by holding down the lock and unlock button on my fob for 5 seconds).

how do you program lights to be shutoff in different time intervals?

I swear I went through every setting in the nav and i couldn't find anything related to lights or keyless entry.
 

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lazero, just go to your main screen w/ all the icons ---> click setup ---> click vehicle ---> click vehicle customization. All the settings to customize your vehicle are in there including programming which doors to unlock and light shut off intervals. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Looks like other readers beat me to the punch on some of the answers to the questions. As for the mileage, I'm at about 165 miles driven total and my average is now 41mpg give or take. Now mind you, I'm in Boston and the roads are NOT level. I go up some very steep hills to get on a few bridges and there are many ups and downs during my commute.

As far as I'm concerned, I broke 40mpg, so I'm happy. That said, I feel the mileage will probably improve a bit when I settle into driving just for the commute and not every single time I come up with an excuse to get in the car and joy-ride a bit :p.

Why the MPG starts out low when they are brand new, not sure. As I mentioned, the same thing happened with my Prius when I got that and it goes up relatively quickly to the normal consumption.
 

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Excellent review! Really helps me out. Just put down deposit on Smokey Granite/Black Nuluxe, so now my wait begins. 17th in line I hear :-(

How is running this beast at 75-80mph. My commute typically flows at those speeds and I'm a little concerned I might get run over. Anyone got comments related to higher speed driving?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hehe Jimbo,

I hate to say it, but living in Boston, I literally can't get to those speeds during a normal commute! LOL.

Now, I will be testing that in 2 weekends when I drive down to NYC for the weekend. My goal is to test it out at higher speeds and see if I can make it there and back on one tank of gas (I could on my Prius). If I can make it, I will consider the car a complete success!

I'll be filling up my tank right before the trip and I'll update my impressions with the highway/high speed impressions.

All that said, I did test out Sport for a bit and it definitely had punch and made the car feel like it had a lot more under the hood than the Eco mode in which I've been 95% of the time.
 

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Excellent review! Really helps me out. Just put down deposit on Smokey Granite/Black Nuluxe, so now my wait begins. 17th in line I hear :-(

How is running this beast at 75-80mph. My commute typically flows at those speeds and I'm a little concerned I might get run over. Anyone got comments related to higher speed driving?
i occasionally hit 75-80mph on my commute - you will NOT be passing any cars at that speed (the CVT is definitely working hard especially if there is the slightest bit of incline grade) and your fuel economy may suffer because you will have to put some gas on the entire time at that speed without a downhill grade....my advice is to stay in the right lane.
 

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Thanks for the advice. This is a huge change for me. I'm going from a v8 300hp Mustang to a 138hp Hybrid! But it's time! If I drive the Mustang like a Granny, I get 26 mpg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the advice. This is a huge change for me. I'm going from a v8 300hp Mustang to a 138hp Hybrid! But it's time! If I drive the Mustang like a Granny, I get 26 mpg.
Have you test-driven it yet? If not, I HIGHLY recommend it so you can get a feel for it. I went from a hybrid to a hybrid, so I knew what to expect, but I've always heard complaints from people coming from normal cars to hybrids that they don't "feel right."

That said, when you put the CT into Sport mode, it will definitely feel closer to a non-hybrid and still beat the crap out of 26 mpg.
 

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Yes, tested it last week. Was very impressed overall, but only got up to 70 briefly due to traffic where I was testing, and the dealer was talking through stuff while I was playing so I did not really get to experience a 70mph cruse. I did put it into sport and it was reasonably swift. I ventured into the fast lane a couple of times and it seemed good getting from 55 to 70 without any concerns. I FINALLY followed one yesterday evening. First one I've seen, white with Nav as best I could tell as I passed it to get a look at it in th rear view mirror. It was happily doing about 70 in the middle lane of I85 here in ATL. It looked GOOD!!!!!
 

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Hehe Jimbo,

I hate to say it, but living in Boston, I literally can't get to those speeds during a normal commute! LOL.

Now, I will be testing that in 2 weekends when I drive down to NYC for the weekend. My goal is to test it out at higher speeds and see if I can make it there and back on one tank of gas (I could on my Prius). If I can make it, I will consider the car a complete success!

I'll be filling up my tank right before the trip and I'll update my impressions with the highway/high speed impressions.

All that said, I did test out Sport for a bit and it definitely had punch and made the car feel like it had a lot more under the hood than the Eco mode in which I've been 95% of the time.
From what I have read here on this forum, driving in ECO mode, most people have been getting worse mileage in that mode...they claim it's better in Normal mode...I don't have one yet so I can't speak from experience.
 

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"First, the car absorbed all of my contacts in moments and I can just tell the call to 'dial XXXXX' and it will not only know who, but ask me to specify if they have more than one phone number listed."

Is this something only possible with the navigation? I have yet to figure out a way to sync my iphone contacts with my non-nav CT200h
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
"First, the car absorbed all of my contacts in moments and I can just tell the call to 'dial XXXXX' and it will not only know who, but ask me to specify if they have more than one phone number listed."

Is this something only possible with the navigation? I have yet to figure out a way to sync my iphone contacts with my non-nav CT200h
Not sure, but on the Nav version it was really simple. I could imagine that there wouldn't be anywhere to absorb it to on the non-nav version since it doesn't have a HDD.
 
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