Best small car over $35,000

The CT200H Prestige is the cheapest Lexus to buy by a long way, making its win all the more meritorious.

Matched to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and permanent magnet electric motor combine to deliver 100 kW of power and 142 Nm of engine torque.

Strong performance isn’t the CT200H’s forte; it’s more about refinement, and the hybrid power-train delivers seamless power from take off right through the rev range, albeit at a more leisurely pace than some other finalists.

If you feel the need, there is a sports mode that sharpens things up electronically and, overall, the Lexus impressed the judges who awarded an above average score for smoothness and quietness.

The CT200H delivers an outstanding fuel consumption figure of 4.1 litres/100 km, so you definitely won’t be making friends with the attendant at your local service station.

Scoring a perfect 10 is never easy in best cars judging, but at its first attempt the CT200H achieved this feat not once, but four times, for running and repair costs, fuel consumption, safety, and environment.

Add on a nine out of 10 for build quality and finish (a Lexus hallmark) and the same for standard features, and the Lexus CT200H built a score that the others could not pull back.

Australia's Best Cars Best Small Car over $35,000 Lexus CT200H Prestige

Manufacturer’s List Price: $39,990

Criteria out of 10 – Lexus CT200H Prestige

Value for Money   Rating 
Pricing  7H
Depreciation  7M
Running Costs  10M
Fuel Consumption  10C
Warranty and dealer access   6M
Insurance  6L
Standard Features  9M

Design and Function   Rating 
Safety  10C
Environment  10C
Comfort  7M
Space  5L
Practicality  6M
Ergonomics  6M
Build and Finish  9H

On the Road   Rating 
Performance  6H
Ride  7H
Handling  7H
Braking  6H
Smoothness and Quietness   8L

Note: Level of weighting importance for each score: L = Low, M = Medium, H = High, C = Critical.