The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

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


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel


INTRO TO THE LEXUS RC 200t VEHICLE
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.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

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.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
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

The Most In-Depth Lexus Vehicle Shopper's Research - Anywhere!