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Hybrid or Hellraiser? 2015 Lexus CT200h vs. 2013 Mazda Mazdaspeed3

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On: Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 1:14PM | By: Teddy Field


Hybrid or Hellraiser? 2015 Lexus CT200h vs. 2013 Mazda Mazdaspeed3

In most Hybrid or Hellraiser columns, I start by making a tasteless poop joke about hybrid drivers, then end by trying to convince you that driving a gas-guzzling muscle car will somehow make you a better person. But I'm not going to do that this time. Because small hatchbacks like the 2015 Lexus CT200h and 2013 Mazda Mazdaspeed3, actually offer everything that you need to live a rewarding life. Sort of like Metamucil for the Soul! (oh crap, I just made a poop joke) Anyway, it’s time to figure out if you should drive the pricey hybrid, or the insane used alternative...

2015 Lexus CT200h
The Lexus CT 200h is a luxury-themed hatchback, along the same vein as the Volkswagen Golf GTI. It's also a re-bodied Toyota Prius, which means that it's nothing like a GTI. For motivation, there is a 134-horsepower hybrid system, mated to a shift-less CVT gearbox. 0 to 60 happens... eventually. But In return for your patience, you will get up to 40 average mpg. The optional F Sport suspension does a lot to improve handling. However, you'll never be going fast enough to truly appreciate it.

Where the Lexus Prius truly shines is in the design. The outside looks expensive and athletic. The inside is a leather-lined ergonomic feast, where all of the controls fall easily to hand, and the build quality is superb. Fold the rear seats down, and you have plenty of room for all your crap. Or, leave them up and you'll have plenty of room for all your friends. As a fuel-efficient daily commuter, the 2015 Lexus CT 200h is brilliant; too bad the F Sport package doesn't include any real sport.

2015 Lexus CT200h - $32,200
2015 Lexus CT 200h F Sport - $33,930

2013 Mazda Mazdaspeed3
While the Lexus CT200h focuses on design and comfort, the Mazda Mazdaspeed3 doesn't give a rat’s tookus about any of that. From the front, it looks like a chihuahua high on PCP. The inside is full of hard plastics and tacky red trim. And the super-sticky sport suspension makes the ride harder than a wooden church pew padded with granite. But if you stab the go-pedal and dump the clutch, you won't care about any of that.

Beneath that hideous hood, lives a 2.3-liter intercooled turbo-4 that’s connected to the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox (no automatic option). This angry-sounding engine dumps 263 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque onto the front wheels... like a angry volcano spewing on a 3rd-World village. This makes for some insane torque steer when you stomp the gas, and it makes for boost-happy acceleration too (60 mph happens in under 6 seconds).

All that power makes the 2013 Mazdaspeed3‘s crudeness totally bearable. Granted, you’re going to have to hone your driving skills to keep it out of the ditch. But once you master it, it'll give you way more than 40 smiles per gallon.

2013 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 - $19,000 - $23,000. Look for an adult-owned car with a complete service history

So there you have it; if you want and practical hatchback that's comfortable and fuel efficient, buy the 2015 Lexus CT200h. If you want a practical hatchback that's uncomfortable and insanely fast, it's the second-generation 2013 Mazda Mazdaspeed3. If you want hybrid poop jokes, well, tune in next time...

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