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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2016 Lexus RC 200t Review +VIDEO

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By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

The Lexus RC is a luxury coupe defined by more aggressive looks and versatile performance: choose a turbocharged 241-horsepower 2-liter four-cylinder engine; a 3.5-liter V6 with 255 horsepower and all-wheel drive; or a second 3.5-liter that can output 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. And in typical Lexus fashion, the RC skillfully blends refinement and technology into one.

I drove a 2016 Lexus RC 200t with the turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder delivering 241 horsepower paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission with Variable Valve Timing (VVT-i). Available in one model (with or without optional packages and features including the popular F SPORT) standard equipment for the RC lineup includes: ten-way power driver’s seat and eight-way passenger; leatherette upholstery; steering wheel mounted paddle shifters; eighteen-inch wheels; Lexus Enform Safety Connect; seven-inch display; ten-speaker audio system; Lexus Premium Display Audio System; Bluetooth; Driver Mode Select; and touch-based climate controls. Pricing as described without options or packages is $39,995.

Although not as racy in appearance, there is also a Lexus IS 200t (or IS lineup) to consider in put some zest back in your driving life. Main competitors include the Audi A4 2.0T and the Mercedes-Benz C350.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: High-quality interior materials make an immediate statement, along with smartly laid out seats (there is just seating for four in the RC). You want a feeling of both firmness and comfort in a coupe – you’ll melt right in. There are a few add-ons or changes in standards depending upon the engine you opt for, such as heated seats only for all-wheel drive vehicles. Touch-sensitive electrostatic temperature switches are a classy addition to the tech-heavy center console. In terms of extra packages, I recommend the F SPORT which adds must-have items like a unique front bumper, LED headlights, and a special wheel design, among other features. They must call these vehicle entry-level luxury cars, because although attractive at the base level, you’ll want to attach the many options – from a $1,000 moonroof to a $2,610 premium navigation and Mark Levinson audio package – to build out something spectacular.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2016 Lexus RC 200t has ratings of “Good” in all areas with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and is a Top Safety Pick. The model year has not been tested by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Standard safety equipment includes: ten airbags, Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system; Anti-Lock Brakes, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Control. Lexus Enform Safety Connect is also standard and incorporates automatic collision notification, a stolen-vehicle locator, an emergency-assist button and roadside assistance. In regards to ease of use with child seats, it rates “Marginal” with the IIHS and it was almost impossible for my five-year old to buckle her own belt.

Cost Issues: The Lexus RC 200t starts at $39,995 with the RC 300 F SPORT reaching $46,310. The Lexus IS series pricing is a touch lower at a base price of $37,325 for the 200t to $44,025 for the IS 350 F SPORT.

Activity & Performance Ability: Keep in mind there is some order to the engine configurations: the eight-speed transmission is standard on rear-wheel drive models and the six-speed is used for those with all-wheel drive – and the eight-speed delivers that sought-after smoothness. I found the 2-liter turbocharged engine to have an appropriate quick response and nimbleness; any 3.5-liter V6 from the RC or IS lineup can certainly deliver more guts and attitude. Outfitted in the F SPORT package, Lexus can mirror what an Audi and Mercedes deliver in terms of a race-inspired experience – these options are a must have and my main recommendation for going with the brand.

The Green Concern: A nice addition to the vehicle are the ECO, Sport and Normal drive modes, with ECO controlling the throttle more to conserve fuel for an overall fuel economy of 22-city and 32-highway for a combined 26 miles-per-gallon.

But German engineering in the backseat and get behind the wheel of the 2016 Lexus RC that represents affordable luxury with all the details. The F SPORT package is a serious draw as it heightens suspension performance and the overall look of the vehicle.

©2016 Katrina Ramser Parrish

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