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Lexus HS 250h  (Source: Toyota)
Autoblog tests the latest hybrid from Lexus

Toyota first introduced its latest hybrid back in January at the Detroit Auto Show. The Lexus HS 250h joins other hybrid family members which now include the GS 450h, RX 450h, and the LS 600h L.

Toyota is now allowing the press to finally drive the new HS 250h and Autoblog was given the opportunity to get behind the wheel. Despite previous reports likening the HS 250h's platform to the Toyota Prius, Lexus is pointing out that the vehicle shares more in common with the Toyota Avensis which is available in Europe -- the second generation Avensis platform currently underpins the Scion tC which should be more familiar to residents of the U.S.

More important, however, is the 3,682-lb HS 250h's powertrain and fuel economy since the vehicle is after all a hybrid. The HS 250h is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine which produces 147 HP -- the gasoline engine is joined by an electric motor and 245-volt battery pack which brings total system power to 187 HP.

The system in return allows the HS 250h to achieve 35 mpg in the city and 33 mpg in the highway (34 mpg combined). For comparison, the subcompact Honda Fit gets 25 mpg in the city, and 35 mpg on the highway.

When it comes to performance, Autoblog says that the vehicle can reach 60 mph in 8.4 seconds and can travel at up to 20 mph on battery power alone. The vehicle can also run in battery-only mode for up to five minutes on the condition that the battery pack has at least 50 percent capacity left and you keep the speed under 20 mph.

The $35,000 HS 250h ($40,000 fully loaded) seems to be targeting a pretty narrow demographic of people that don't mind the Toyota Corolla-ish styling, want a hybrid sedan (despite the much lower fuel economy numbers than a 2010 Prius), and prefer the Lexus brand. Others will be quick to point out that the cheaper Ford Fusion Hybrid gets 41 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.



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Adding another layer
By GWD5318 on 5/26/2009 2:53:41 PM , Rating: 1
Just when you thought eco-snobbishness had hit a plateau with those who drive the Prius, here comes Lexus with a vehicle that the rich eco-snobs can rub in your face.

Yeah, yeah, I know. This is the shape of things to come, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.




RE: Adding another layer
By randomposter on 5/26/2009 3:06:27 PM , Rating: 4
Curious what your views are on rich snobs driving Hummers, Mercedes G class, Porsche Cayenne, or a Cadillac Escalade that they rub in your face?


RE: Adding another layer
By Spuke on 5/26/2009 3:11:23 PM , Rating: 3
I wouldn't call $40k rich man's territory. Middle class people can afford and do drive cars in that price range. Rich people do drive these cars but that price point is not exclusive to them.


RE: Adding another layer
By Samus on 5/26/2009 6:22:09 PM , Rating: 1
40k for a prius with heated seats and HID lights. Got it.


RE: Adding another layer
By corduroygt on 5/27/2009 1:15:13 AM , Rating: 3
Except the Prius also has them in the higher trim levels.


RE: Adding another layer
By GWD5318 on 5/26/2009 3:59:01 PM , Rating: 3
The other side of the same coin to me. Snobbishness and excessive consumption both rub me the wrong way.

Perhaps I'm generalizing way too much, but you have to admit; the Prius does have a bit of a snobby stigma attached to it. I've no doubt that this Lexus will too.


RE: Adding another layer
By randomposter on 5/26/2009 4:15:30 PM , Rating: 2
I have to say, the times I've driven the Prius I absolutely hated the driving dynamics. I couldn't care less about the "snob appeal" aspect of that (or any other) car, but I can't drive a vehicle that makes my want to gouge my eyes out every time an interesting piece of twisting blacktop comes my way.


RE: Adding another layer
By lagitup on 5/26/2009 10:10:37 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Snobbishness and excessive consumption both rub me the wrong way.


Does meek under consumption rub you the right way? I heard China was still accepting applications for sweatshop workers.....


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/27/2009 7:30:54 AM , Rating: 3
Curious as to why you think anyone would buy a car, or this car, to rub anything in your face. Is that why you buy cars? Why wouldn't someone just buy a car because they like it and think it is nice? Why are you the negative center of the universe?


RE: Adding another layer
By Hieyeck on 5/27/2009 8:04:56 AM , Rating: 2
No $h1t sherlock. Lexus' have always had a higher price point. http://www.lexus.com. Not saying I agree with the ecotards, but this is smack dab in the low-end price range of a Lexus.


RE: Adding another layer
By retrospooty on 5/26/2009 3:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
"Just when you thought eco-snobbishness had hit a plateau with those who drive the Prius, here comes Lexus with a vehicle that the rich eco-snobs can rub in your face."

I didnt realize eco snobishness reached a plateau... I didnt even know such a thing existed. It looks more to me like the judgemental snobbish angry internet poster has issues to me.

You need to relax, its just a hybrid, there are many on the market and many more to come. Dont like it? Dont buy it.


RE: Adding another layer
By GWD5318 on 5/26/2009 4:17:00 PM , Rating: 1
I hate to break this to you, but I'm not the only person to think that hybrid drivers tend to be a little full of themselves.

Or maybe I am! I must have written an entire South Park episode without realizing it. Where are my royalties!?!

oh, if you think I was being serious then I'm not the only one with issues ;-)


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/27/2009 7:32:34 AM , Rating: 3
Toughen up. If you don't like it, move on.


RE: Adding another layer
By Chaser on 5/27/2009 10:09:15 AM , Rating: 2
Plus tell us all, how do we escape this human weakness like you have?

Oh you're not being serious. HA HA HA! Got it.


RE: Adding another layer
By FITCamaro on 5/26/2009 4:27:36 PM , Rating: 2
Nah the rich ecosnob one is the 430h


RE: Adding another layer
By FITCamaro on 5/26/2009 4:28:02 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry. 450h now.


RE: Adding another layer
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/26/2009 4:32:05 PM , Rating: 2
Nah, rich Eurosnob one is the LS 600h L. Thing costs $106k :-)


RE: Adding another layer
By FITCamaro on 5/27/2009 7:41:10 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry I thought the 450h was that one.


-limited market?
By giantpandaman2 on 5/26/2009 2:32:23 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The $30k+ HS 250h seems to be targeting a pretty narrow demographic of people that don't mind the Toyota Corolla-ish styling, want a hybrid sedan (despite the much lower fuel economy numbers than a 2010 Prius), and prefer the Lexus brand.


Your narrow demographic statement is strange. The Corolla is the bestselling car of all time. My guess is that the target market is for people who are moving up from the Corolla to a Lexus who want a Hybrid. After all, people who buy Toyota often buy Lexus when they move up the economic ladder.

Narrow demographic would be something like the Ariel Atom or some such, not this new Lexus.




RE: -limited market?
By Keeir on 5/26/2009 2:41:11 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Your narrow demographic statement is strange. The Corolla is the bestselling car of all time. My guess is that the target market is for people who are moving up from the Corolla to a Lexus who want a Hybrid. After all, people who buy Toyota often buy Lexus when they move up the economic ladder.


I think what is so confusing is that this model returns the same fuel economy as the larger Camry Hyrbid sedan.

Although there might be a market for this car... it seems strange. Someone who wants fuel economy, yet is not willing to go all the way to a Prius (with nearly 50% better EPA ratings)... and wants a smaller car than a Camry? And wants to pay alot more than a Fusion (which after all gets better EPA milage)?

It just doesn't add up for the US market. Bland styling, bland performance, smallish size (in comparison to the Camry), and lackluster fuel economy... all for a price which is higher than the compedition (even the same car company)? That interior shot wouldn't win me over either...


RE: -limited market?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/26/2009 2:47:40 PM , Rating: 2
You took the words right out of my mouth :)


RE: -limited market?
By Keeir on 5/26/2009 3:28:57 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
You took the words right out of my mouth :)


Ah yes I see I did...

And neither of us even mentioned the Jetta Sportwagen TDI or the upcomming A3 TDI which provide similar milage results with hatchback bonus...

Its very strange. I dislike Toyota/Lexus cars for the most part, but usually they are pretty good about creating a reason (although not one important to me) to buy a car. Could there be an ACE up a sleeve somewhere?


RE: -limited market?
By Spuke on 5/26/2009 2:52:11 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
It just doesn't add up for the US market.
Yeah I agree. I don't see the market for this car especially at this price point. $40k loaded is a lot of money for that low rent interior and small size. The Volt is right at that price point too and although not a Lexus, you get better fuel economy and the green bonus of driving a production serial hybrid.


RE: -limited market?
By Keeir on 5/26/2009 3:33:36 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The Volt is right at that price point too and although not a Lexus, you get better fuel economy and the green bonus of driving a production serial hybrid.


Much as I like the Volt... the Volt is slightly smaller car than this Lexus 250h/HS and Toyota/Lexus do have a better long-term quality reputation.

That said, the "40,000" Volt would wipe the Floor with this Lexus 250h in terms of "greeniness" in use... especially when used in a country like France or Spain


RE: -limited market?
By Spuke on 5/26/2009 7:11:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
the Volt is slightly smaller car than this Lexus 250h/HS
I thought the Volt was bigger. The 250h looks more like a Corolla in the pictures.


RE: -limited market?
By Keeir on 5/27/2009 12:58:02 PM , Rating: 2
If wikipedia, edmunds, and various other sites have accurate information about unpublished cars... the Lexus HS appears to be a (slightly) cut down version of the Camry. A "full-sized" car for the rest of the world. Kind of how the US Acura TSX is the Accord of the rest of the world.

Where-as the Volt is a slightly larger version of the upcomming Chevy Cruze, the Corolla/Civic compeditor. In the end, it will be about how well they have used the space but in terms of Hybrid "Sizes" when looking at Wheelbase, Length, Width, and Hieght

Insight--> Volt/Prius --> Fusion --> Lexus HS --> Altima --> Camry


RE: -limited market?
By Spuke on 5/27/2009 1:25:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Insight--> Volt/Prius --> Fusion --> Lexus HS --> Altima --> Camry
Gotcha. Thanks.


RE: -limited market?
By Alexstarfire on 5/28/2009 4:16:06 AM , Rating: 2
Is this just looking at the dimensions of the vehicle, because I don't think the Volt has the same interior space as a Prius.


RE: -limited market?
By kmmatney on 5/26/2009 6:57:45 PM , Rating: 2
I totally agree - you can just buy a Hybrid camry, which comes well stocked for $32K (and less at base price).

I will say that this Lexus looks a lot better than the Prius, though.


RE: -limited market?
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/27/2009 7:34:39 AM , Rating: 2
I agree as well. I have a Camry hybrid and it has the same mileage rating (but I usually get 36-38 overall), better features, larger size, and curiously, the same weight as this one, for $10K less.


RE: -limited market?
By adiposity on 5/28/2009 3:31:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Although there might be a market for this car... it seems strange.

---
quote:
Someone who wants fuel economy, yet is not willing to go all the way to a Prius (with nearly 50% better EPA ratings)

We already know there's a market for people who don't want to go "all the way" with a Prius (all the other hybrids that get worse fuel economy). The original Honda Insight had better EPA ratings than the Prius, so wouldn't that be going "all the way"? No, obviously you pick the car based on a variety of reasons, not just one stat... Some people don't like the way the Prius drives or looks, so they don't get one. It doesn't mean they don't get a hybrid.

quote:
and wants a smaller car than a Camry?


Um, lots of people like small cars. What's the big deal? However, the HS is bigger than the Prius. So yes, smaller than Camry, but bigger than Prius (and it has a trunk).

quote:
And wants to pay alot more than a Fusion (which after all gets better EPA milage)?


Now, this is just dumb. If you don't know why Lexus buyers avoid Ford, well, I just don't know what to say.

I personally won't be getting one, but here's some stuff stolen from the interwebs about its "special" features:

quote:
Not to forget the luxury part of its green title, the HS comes packed to the gills with plenty of luxury amenities, including LED taillights, a heads up display, power seats and Lexus’ new Enform telematics. Optional equipment includes satellite navigation with traffic, stocks, sports and weather updates and LED headlights. One cool feature of the HS’ navigation system is that it lets you upload destinations from any internet-enable device, ensuring you don’t miss any tourist spots on you next road trip.


quote:
Lexus buyers expect luxury, reliability, and features, and the HS 250h delivers those in spades. It offers such optional electronic gadgetry as Bluetooth connectivity, a heads-up instrument display, a front-view monitor with a 190-degree angle of view, and adaptive cruise control. Its navigation system incorporates real-time traffic and weather, and casual-speech voice recognition. It even lets the owner customize the levels of haptic feedback in the mouse-like controller mounted on the console.

The HS also includes leather trim, a moon roof, and swathes of insulation and thicker materials to reduce the noise, vibration and harshness that every Lexus owner dreads. Adding to the refinement is a sound-deadening inner layer in the windshield, exhaust flow optimized to cut noise, and even slower, softer-closing power window switches from the uber-luxurious LS sedan.


So yeah, if you want a slightly bigger, faster, and more fuel efficient car, get a camry hybrid. On the other hand, if you want a Lexus...it's just a different product.

-Dan


RE: -limited market?
By FITCamaro on 5/26/2009 4:24:58 PM , Rating: 2
People who buy a Corolla don't pay $35,000 for one either though.


Not that great
By Danger D on 5/26/2009 3:26:34 PM , Rating: 2
If I’m buying a hybrid, I want better mileage than that.




RE: Not that great
By Storkme on 5/26/2009 4:14:16 PM , Rating: 1
I don't get why this is news.. 35MPG is unimpressive, my dad has a seven-seat Toyota people carrier that averages 34MPG (city + motorway). Don't get me started on our diesel hatchback (Nissan) that never dips below 50MPG...


RE: Not that great
By Keeir on 5/26/2009 5:02:27 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry...

From your comment, I think your European.

These ratings are based on US EPA testing performed using US sized Gallons.

For comparison purposes it is good to ensure you are using US gallons and not the Imperial Gallon more typically used in Europe.

In addition, the EPA 2008 testing cycle is significantly harsher than the Euro cycles. Its good to take 20% off just for that.

I have an Auto thats rated at 18/26 EPA 2008 ratings. Yet I get anywhere from 24 (Winter) to 29 (Summer) in 40/60 City/Highway milage. Much closer to the 28 combined MPG (US converted) that is acchieved on the Euro cycle.


RE: Not that great
By Amiga500 on 5/27/2009 6:53:15 AM , Rating: 2
*Sticks hand up*

Another pesky European here.

Was looking around to try and find a good yardstick for comparison of EPA to euro ratings, and I'm not sure if the EPA results are actually reflective of the real world...

I get around the same mpg as the euro rating... but then I'm driving in Europe. Are driving "conditions" so much different in the states, or is the EPA rating system still crap?


RE: Not that great
By Keeir on 5/27/2009 1:15:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
EPA rating system still crap


No and yes.

I can only speak to my experience, but I too get much closer in the cars I drive to the Euro cycle currently used.

The EPA City and Highway cycles are well published and include loads like Radio and Air Conditioning. I am sure some people get results much lower than EPA ratings. But in the end, the ratings are really only good at comparing cars to each other and are still no where close to people's normal driving habits.

quote:
Was looking around to try and find a good yardstick for comparison of EPA to euro ratings


If its Euro in Imperial to 2008 EPA I think in the range of 35% to 40% reduction.

If its Euro in Imperial to 2007 EPA I think in the range of 30% to 35% reduction.


RE: Not that great
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/27/2009 7:37:37 AM , Rating: 2
If you are European, you should also know that while your octane ratings float around 100, in the states they are more commonly 87, 89 and 91. So there is another reason you would get better fuel economy right off the bat. It is also another reason you would pay higher prices for fuel.


RE: Not that great
By GreenEnvt on 5/27/2009 8:33:02 AM , Rating: 2
And if you were learned, you'd know the octane ratings in North America and Europe are on different scales. Their 100 octane is not the same as 100 octane here.
Europe uses RON to measure octane. In NA, we use the average of RON+MON. The octane levels are actually pretty close to the same in NA in Europe, we just measure it differently.

Also, higher octane does not increase mileage or performance anyway. in over simplified language, octane rating is a measure of a fuels resistance to knocking. Higher compression engines (like in luxury/sports cars) require it to prevent knocking (predetonation). If they could get away with using regular and not have the engine destroy itself they would.


RE: Not that great
By Jimbo1234 on 5/27/2009 1:50:10 PM , Rating: 2
To say that higher octane fuel does not increase performance is false. However you are right on the money about the RON vs RON+MON difference.

An engine that has a high compression ratio (or forced induction) often requires higher octane fuel. If it does not get it, the ECU will conpensate for it but at the expense of performance. Now an engine designed for peak performace on 87 octane will not benefit from anything higher unless you preprogram the ECU to take advantage of it (along with other mechanical changes that may be required).

Ever try running a VW 1.8T on anything less than 91 octane? It's not pretty. Now, Volvo on the other hand has some Turbo engines that run on 87. It's just how the engine is designed.

The bottom line is that whatever your car requires (assuming you've made no mods) for an octane rating in the fuel, is all you need to fill it with. Any more is waste, any less you sacrifice performance or worse.


RE: Not that great
By GreenEnvt on 5/27/2009 2:04:31 PM , Rating: 2
I thought thats what I was saying.
Higher octane does NOT increase performance on it's own.
Unless your are adjusting timings, compression, or other major work, running higher octane then what the manufacturer calls for will not give you more power or more fuel economy.
The fuel industry has got people brainwashed into thinking higher octane gives more performance, but in reality it does not.


US is still lagging behind
By Dingmatt on 5/27/2009 6:27:33 AM , Rating: 2
This is a question not a flame, how can people get excited over these MPG figures?

Here in the UK I’ve just returned from a 250 mile journey where I was averaging 70 Imperial MPG (58.3 US MPG) cruising along at 70mph. That’s in a 3 year old Peugeot 407 SW 1.6 Diesel (http://blog.thecar.com.my/upload/images/4079.jpg).

How come all these newer higher tech cars in the US are less efficient?




RE: US is still lagging behind
By Pneumothorax on 5/27/2009 8:51:05 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe because our crappy emission laws against diesels and our poorly educated public when it comes to diesels? People here get all excited over hybrids when their main benefit only comes into play in stop-n-go regenerative urban driving. It's sad, all these companies like Ford plan on introducing new small cars here in the US and none of them are planning on offering the diesel engine options that they offer for you guys. Only VW offers a small diesel car here in the US.


RE: US is still lagging behind
By Alexstarfire on 5/29/2009 8:23:34 AM , Rating: 2
And all this time I thought it was because all these Euro diesels couldn't pass our emissions test. Guess I'm the uninformed. /sarcasm

Now Americans, excluding me, seem to think that diesels are just dirty and loud. I think that's a stupid way to think these days. Now what I said before is true, AFAIK. It's not that we can't make diesels that can pass, but from what I know it raises the cost of the car a good bit. It is my understanding that this is why diesels haven't caught on again.

That being said, diesel is actually cheaper than regular gasoline right now. It'd be nice if I could get better mileage while also paying less for the fuel.


By vulcanproject on 5/27/2009 8:56:11 AM , Rating: 2
ahh i dunno. the americans only just woke up to this fuel efficient thing and they hate diesels. the european petrol manual audi A4 avant 1.8 TFSI 158bhp can do 39 on the combined cycle. that is not a small car or a weak engine. even the CVT version can do 38 combined!! which kinda makes 'news' like this a little bit of a mystery for european consumers lol


RE: US is still lagging behind
By Spuke on 5/27/2009 1:48:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How come all these newer higher tech cars in the US are less efficient?
You have to convert Imperial gallons to US gallons. Then you need to take into account that the US EPA measures fuel mileage different than Europe does. Another poster in this thread explained this already.


RE: US is still lagging behind
By Dingmatt on 5/28/2009 4:08:06 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You have to convert Imperial gallons to US gallons. Then you need to take into account that the US EPA measures fuel mileage different than Europe does. Another poster in this thread explained this already.


Yes, thats why theres the conversion between the two in the orignal post; And even if you take off 20% thats still 47.4 US MPG.

Try reading a post before you reply to it.


BMW 335d
By Pneumothorax on 5/26/2009 10:59:44 PM , Rating: 3
I would take a 335d over this any day of the week. Way much more fun with even better highway mileage

http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/showthread.php?p=20...




RE: BMW 335d
By Major HooHaa on 5/27/2009 7:35:09 AM , Rating: 2
We have a UK Toyota RAV 4 with the modern 2.2 litre diesel engine.

The official average MPG is 42.2 MPG. When we collected it, the readout showed an average of 33 MPG. We do more country driving than town driving... So 13,000 miles and one service later (in which they changed the oil, replaced some engine filters and fiddled with the onboard computer settings), our RAV 4 is now showing 47.1 MPG.

I think that's quite impressive for an SUV. Back at the beginning of the year, the 4 wheel drive came in handy for negotiating some very muddy farm tracks, then it snowed and the car coped very well with several inches of snow. When the snow melted, the local bypass flooded and both the higher ride and engine height helped us ford the flood that had already claimed two cars.

And then in normal every day driving, the car saves fuel by reverting to front wheel drive.


RE: BMW 335d
By Alexstarfire on 5/28/2009 4:19:25 AM , Rating: 2
So it was 33 MPG when you got it, but after 13k miles it was 47.1 MPG? That's pretty impressive, even if it is in imperial gallons.


RE: BMW 335d
By Jimbo1234 on 5/27/2009 1:52:37 PM , Rating: 2
And it only costs %50 more.


dedicated
By Screwballl on 5/26/2009 2:02:46 PM , Rating: 1
ummmm dedicated hybrid?... compared to a non-dedicated lazy hybrid that only works when it wants to rather than all the time?

/sarcasm/




RE: dedicated
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/26/2009 2:03:48 PM , Rating: 2
It's a dedicated hybrid model for Lexus.

The GS 450h, RX 450h, LS 600h, Civic Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid are variants of existing vehicles.

The Prius and HS 250h are dedicated models with no "conventional" variants.


RE: dedicated
By Screwballl on 5/26/2009 2:11:35 PM , Rating: 1
I understand the difference... thus the /sarcasm/ tag.
.
.
But for those who do not:

Dedicated = gas + alternative power working at all times

non-dedicated = Prius style... batteries/alt fuels at lower speeds, gasoline power at higher speeds (or whatever combo they choose to use)


RE: dedicated
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/27/2009 7:39:39 AM , Rating: 2
No, dedicated = no gas only variant of the model.


Slight error
By PedroDaGr8 on 5/26/2009 1:56:24 PM , Rating: 2
The system in return allows the HS 250h to achieve 35 mpg in the city and 33 mpg in the city (34 mpg combined).

I think that should be 35 mpg city and 33mpg highway .




RE: Slight error
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/26/2009 1:56:34 PM , Rating: 2
Fixed


Why?
By corduroygt on 5/26/2009 11:03:44 PM , Rating: 2
If you want a hybrid, why would you buy this over the more fuel efficient, and more practical prius, or the more fuel efficient AND roomier fusion/milan?
What's the point? I bet if BMW brought the 320d here, it'd be better than this in every category.




Lexus Hybrid Corolla
By btc909 on 5/27/2009 2:25:27 AM , Rating: 2
How many Corollas can I buy for 40K? I think i'll drive the white one today. No wait, the red one, yeah the red one.




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