Common Problems of the Lexus CT200h Things You Should Know

Common Problems of the Lexus CT200h: Things You Should Know

The Lexus CT200h is far from a perfect hybrid hatchback, and this is evident by the numerous problems that it has been reported to have.

Before you purchase a Lexus CT200h yourself, it’s essential to be aware of the common problems and issues with reliability that has plagued some owners.

Aside from enumerating such problems and their solutions, this article will also serve as a guide to the best and worst years of the Lexus CT200h that you can buy today, so make sure to read until the end!

For starters, let’s first answer the general question regarding the Lexus CT200h below.

What are the common problems of a Lexus CT200h?

Common problems of the Lexus CT200h include violent engine starting, sluggish acceleration, excessive oil consumption, loud braking noises, premature brake pad wear, faulty exterior lights, and faulty airbags.

We’ll be further explaining the above-mentioned problems in more detail below. Each problem will show symptoms you should look out for that will be essential when getting the problem properly diagnosed by a mechanic.

1. Violent Engine Starting

A commonly reported problem of the Lexus CT200h is that the engine tends to shake or shudder rather violently when starting it up.

According to reports, owners that live in colder climates seem to have a bigger chance of experiencing violent engine starting, as it usually happens whenever the temperature outside the vehicle is below 40°F (4.44°C).

A Technical Service Bulletin (L-SB-0004-13) released by Lexus suggests that the problem can be traced to moisture build-up within the intake manifold, which causes the engine to misfire or idle roughly.

The TSB specifically covers the 2011 to 2013 model years of the Lexus CT200h, and other than the symptoms we’ve mentioned above, you can also experience the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) turning on with any of the error codes below.

2011 to 2013 Lexus CT200h MIL “ON” with Diagnostic Trouble Codes:

  • P0300
  • P0301
  • P0302
  • P0303
  • P0304

According to the TSB, the main solution to this problem is to replace the intake manifold itself, which would have still been covered under the 6-year or 70,000-mile warranty for the affected model years several years ago.

However, for Lexus CT200h models that are way past this warranty period or are not even covered in the TSB, you would have to spend around $300 to $400 to get the intake manifold replaced.

Due to the nature of the violent engine starting problem, it’s good to be aware of where the previous owner has lived with the vehicle if you choose to go for a used Lexus CT200h.

Because as we’ve said earlier, owners who live and drive in colder areas where temperatures drop below 40F are more likely to have this problem than those living in warmer areas.

2. Sluggish Acceleration

Sluggish Acceleration

The Lexus CT200h has a curb of 3,130 to 3,186 lbs (1,420 to 1,445 kg) and makes about 134 hp, making it not really the fastest car in its class in terms of acceleration.

Because of its sluggish acceleration, owners have complained of difficulty properly merging into highway traffic at “highway speeds”. This actually makes sense when you consider its lethargic 10.3-second 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) time (2011 model year).

While this demonstration of poor performance is more of an innate trait rather than an actual defect, it has still left a lot of owners disappointed in what the vehicle promises but has failed to deliver.

However, keep in mind that the Lexus CT200h is not exactly meant to be focused on performance, but rather on comfort and fuel economy.

Thus, if you haven’t bought one yet but crave more power and performance in the hatchback class, then we recommend looking at other competitors such as the Audi A1 1.8T FSI and the Hyundai Veloster Turbo.

Audi A1 1.8T FSI and the Hyundai Veloster Turbo

3. Excessive Oil Consumption

The Lexus CT200h’s engine has been known to use up too much oil in a short period of time, which has resulted in several reports of owners doing very frequent oil changes.

In other less fortunate incidents, the engine can actually run out of oil and cause it to overheat and damage the internal components, which is more likely to happen when driving long distances.

The root cause of this problem lies in the design of the Lexus CT200h’s 1.8-liter 2ZR-FXE Inline-4 engine itself, which is actually the same engine used in the 3rd to 5th-generation Toyota Prius.

Excessive Oil Consumption

This fact confirms the nature of the problem further, as some models of the Toyota Prius have actually been reported to have excessive oil consumption as well.

Going back to the Lexus CT200h, several owners have apparently been informed by Lexus dealerships that this sort of oil consumption is to be expected for the model.

But when we take a look at the Toyota side of things, the Japanese car manufacturer actually issued a Technical Service Bulletin to address the issue of the 2ZR-FXE engine by changing the design of its piston and ring assembly.

Initially, this service bulletin only covered 2ZR-FXE engines that were installed on just the Toyota Prius. 

But further research shows that Lexus has also gone ahead and issued one that’s specifically for the Lexus CT200h back in November 2016 (L-SB-0095-16).

The only downside to the service bulletin is that it only covers models from 2011 to 2014, so unless you can find a way to redesign the parts yourself, the only other solution to the issue for excluded model years is to keep topping up with engine oil.

4. Loud Braking Noises

Among all of the commonly reported problems of the Lexus CT200h, one of the most prevalent would be the brakes making loud screeching or ticking noises whenever you step on the pedal.

According to different CT200h owners, this can happen at both higher speeds and lower speeds of 15 mph (24 km/h), though more people have reported it during the latter case.

These braking noises have also been reported to occur in models with less than 40,000 miles on the odometer, with model years affected being as old as 2011 and as new as 2017.

The main culprit to this problem has been found to be faulty or failing brake actuators on the Lexus CT200h, which are important in making sure that your brakes work with the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) when pressing the pedal down.

Loud Braking Noises

Since Lexus is owned by the Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota has actually extended the warranty of brake actuators of various Lexus models to 10 years or 150,000 miles (241,000 km).

But the problem is that the Lexus CT200h is not covered in the list of Lexus models with brake actuator warranty extensions.

Thus, you can expect to pay a hefty sum of $1,500 to $3,000 (labor included) to replace the faulty brake actuator with an OEM Lexus replacement part.

5. Premature Brake Pad Wear

Another brake-related problem of the Lexus CT200h is that the brake pads are prone to wear off way too early.

Premature brake pad wear on the Lexus CT200h has mostly been associated with driving in places with adverse weather conditions, such as those that go through extremely cold winters or frequent heavy rainfall.

Premature Brake Pad Wear

Such conditions can increase the amount of wear on your brake pads, as moisture will find its way into the metal brake components and cause them to develop rust.

While this may not immediately affect the performance of the brakes themselves, repeated exposure to these kinds of conditions can still take a toll on your brake pads, especially if you need to brake more often on wet or snowy roads.

Furthermore, if you rarely drive your car but leave it parked outside during the winter or rainy season, the surface rust that can form on the brakes will build up and start to affect the components’ structural integrity.

Premature Brake Pad Wear

It is only by then that brake performance can be affected, and just like we’ve discussed in the last entry, you may even experience brake noises, albeit for a different reason.

Thus, this is yet again one of those things that prove that it’s worth knowing where the previous owner of the Lexus CT200h that you’re buying has lived with the car.

This also serves as a reminder to regularly check your brake pads and other brake components, especially if you live in an area that’s prone to harsh weather conditions. 

6. Exterior Light Problems

The exterior lights, more specifically the halogen low beam headlight bulbs, have been known to wear out on the Lexus CT200h just right after their 4-year or 50,000-mile warranty.

Owners of 2011 to 2015 Lexus CT200h models have been reported to experience this the most, but Lexus has only extended the headlight bulb warranty of 2011 to 2013 models.

You can refer to pdf page 2 of Lexus’ Customer Support Program ZLI for more info regarding this warranty coverage.

One problem with this warranty coverage is that it was only offered until October 31, 2019, which was already over 3 years ago at the time of this writing. 

Also, getting the halogen lamps replaced outside of the warranty period will cost you about $500 in total. That’s $400 in parts combined with around $80 to $100 in labor fees.

Exterior Light Problems

But the biggest caveat of the headlight warranty extension is that it actually doesn’t address the root cause of the problem, which has been traced back to a faulty wiring harness for the headlights, and not the headlight bulbs themselves.

Exterior Light Problems

In a rare worst-case scenario, one owner on the CT200h forums even experienced the vehicle catching on fire after the bulbs were replaced, having driven it for less than a mile and turning it off in the parking lot.

But while the bulbs installed were aftermarket ones, we cannot confirm whether this was really caused by the bulbs, a faulty wiring harness, or some other unknown issue with the owner’s vehicle.

7. Faulty Airbag Deployment

In the list of common problems that the Lexus CT200h and even other Toyota models are prone to, airbag-related complaints seem to be the most widespread one in terms of the number of vehicles affected.

Lexus CT200h models are specifically equipped with Autoliv airbags, which are the same ones used in other Toyota hybrid vehicles like the Prius.

Faulty Airbag Deployment

A total of 482,000 units of these hybrid vehicles, which included 2011 to 2012 Lexus CT200h models, received a recall for their airbags with Recall #16V487000.

According to Toyota, the main problem with the airbags is that there is a defect in the welding process for the curtain shield airbag inflator, which can crack and cause portions of it to suddenly eject into the cabin.

As you can imagine, this kind of airbag deployment can potentially harm the vehicle’s occupants instead of protecting them.

To combat this, Toyota dealers will install retention brackets to the curtain shield airbags on the 2011 to 2012 Lexus CT200h and other affected vehicle models for free.

Thus, if you’re specifically looking to buy a used 2011 to 2012 Lexus CT200h, it wouldn’t hurt to check if the previous owner already had the vehicle’s Autoliv airbags recalled, just to be on the safer side.

What are the worst years of the Lexus CT200h? (Years to Avoid)

The worst years of the Lexus CT200h are considered to be the 2011 to 2013 model years. 

2011 to 2013 Lexus CT200h models have the most reported problems such as violent engine starting, sluggish acceleration, excessive oil consumption, brake-related issues, exterior light issues, and faulty airbags.

What are the worst years of the Lexus CT200h (Years to Avoid)

The majority of the reported problems of the Lexus CT200h happen to be those specifically belonging to the 2011 to 2013 model years.

From this alone, it’s very easy to consider these model years of the Lexus CT200h the ones that you should definitely be avoiding.

According to 2023 data from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), there have been 20 submitted complaints for the 2011 model, 40 for the 2012 model, and 34 for the 2013 model.

This puts the total number of complaints for the worst years of the Lexus CT200h to 94, which makes up about 83% of all NHTSA complaints ever made for the vehicle (113).

Lexus CT200h Model YearNumber of Complaints (NHTSA)

It’s also worth mentioning that among the 94 complaints made for the 2011 to 2013 model years, 33 of them are classified under “Engine” components alone.

Upon further checking the nature of the complaints, they always start off by mentioning that the engine is consuming too much oil, which we’ve also previously discussed in the “Common Problems” section.

However, this common complaint of excessive oil consumption has also been reported to occur alongside other issues such as oil leaks from the timing chain, engine knocking noises, and the dipstick not registering oil being poured in.

Which Lexus CT200h years have the least problems? (Best Years)

The best years of the Lexus CT200h are considered to be both the 2016 and 2017 model years.

The 2016 to 2017 Lexus CT200h models have the least number of reported NHTSA complaints among all model years of the vehicle.

Which Lexus CT200h years have the least problems (Best Years)

In the table below, we have arranged all of the model years of the Lexus CT200h models in the US market according to the total number of NHTSA complaints they’ve received.

This will give you a better idea of how the 2016 and 2017 model years, which are considered the best years, actually fare against the other remaining model years of the Lexus CT200h.

Lexus CT200h Model YearNumber of Complaints (NHTSA)

Both 2016 and 2017 are the last two model years of the Lexus CT200h in the US market, and they only have a total of 3 NHTSA complaints shared among them.

This makes them the two most reliable model years of the Lexus CT200h, as most of the problems that have plagued the earlier years have already been addressed by that point.

Unlike the earlier model years, the 2016 and 2017 model years do not run into issues with consuming too much oil, faulty airbags, or faulty exterior lights.

As for what the 3 complaints are, 2 of them concern the 2017 model’s hybrid system and other minor missing details and features from the dealership, and the remaining 1 relates to the 2016 model’s infotainment system not displaying data.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)