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Lexus HS 250h  (Source: Toyota)
Buyers are swiftly lining up for the Lexus HS 250h

Eager to cash in on an uptick in hybrid sales, Toyota has already boosted the production of its third-generation Prius, which topped sales charts in Japan and is all but sold out in many parts of the U.S.  What Toyota didn't plan on was the very enthusiastic reception its new Lexus HS 250h luxury hybrid has also received in Japan.

Toyota was targeting a mere 500 sales a month, but in less than a month since the July 14 launch in Japan, over 9,000 orders had been placed. 

The appeal makes sense -- the Lexus HS 250h features a somewhat more conventional layout than most other hybrids such as the Honda Insight or Toyota Prius.  At $34,200 base MSRP it's expensive, but not wallet breaking for many professionals.  And thanks to Japan's hybrid subsidy (similar to cash-for-clunkers), which expires March 31, 2010, the car's price is even more reachable.  The car gets a modest 35 mpg in the city and 34 on the highway -- making it the most fuel efficient Lexus currently on sale.  It also features ultra-low emissions, receiving the distinction of being classed as a Super-Ultra-Low-Emission-Vehicle (SULEV) in Japan. 

The HS 250h comes standard with a leather interior, Bluetooth, moonroof, active front head restraints, vehicle stability control, and ten airbags.  There are plenty of tempting optional perks too, including LED headlights, Lexus' Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Hard Disk Drive Navigation System, and an LED-based Heads-up Display (HUD).

In response to the high demand, Toyota is boosting production of the vehicle.  Currently it has only produced around 2,000 vehicles, leaving about 7,000 orders unfilled.  It plans to triple production by October in an effort to keep up with demand.

Toyota is undoubtedly eagerly awaiting the August or September targeted U.S. release of the vehicle.  The Lexus brand remains one of the most well-respected brands among luxury car buying circles in the U.S.  And with its eco-friendly image, reasonable price point, and abundance of advanced features, the Lexus HS 250h just might surpass some sales predictions in the U.S., as well.

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RE: HS250h vs. Volt? Sorry GM...
By Samus on 8/11/2009 8:58:28 PM , Rating: 4
I have to disagree man. The Lexus 250h is just a Toyota Camry Hybrid with a Lexus badge. The styling still sucks, the car has no soul, and its boring and drab beyond belief. The interior is slightly improved, but thats not saying much considering the Camry has among the most god-awful ugly interior outside of a Pontiac G6.

I'm sure its reliable, but its boring, boring boring. The Volt is at least a fresh step toward green driving. It's expensive because its totally revolutionary, and although I have never really liked GM vehicles, I defend the Volt because people are comparing it to things that are completely out of its class. There is nothing else like it on the market. And there wont be for YEARS. Nobody has plans to implement a gasoline generator and full electric drive in a vehicle except for GM.

Ford's going smaller with boost, Crystler's just going smaller, Toyota's sticking with Hybrids, Honda and VW are going Deisel, Nissan is going full electric with no generator (but still has a few hybrids that lease technology from Toyota) and overall, I think everybody is wrong, because we should be going Hydrogen, and the ONLY company that has even tried a commercial product is Honda and it has been a smash hit.

I just hope all these fruitless efforts are just stepping stones to hydrogen because the whole concept of hybrid technology is simply ridiculous. Your damaging the environment and creating boring, complex vehicles to get a few MPG for a lot more money. It's just stupid.

"Anybody who buys this car clearly has no interest in cars, and therefore will be a terrible driver, and therefore should have their license taken away." -Jeremy Clarkson

RE: HS250h vs. Volt? Sorry GM...
By jconan on 8/11/2009 9:16:52 PM , Rating: 2
you're still damaging the environment with hydrogen cause you need energy to make hydrogen since it's not a free element. if something similar to the shizuma drive was feasible and producible maybe we'll have a truly green technology that is carbon free and environmentally friendly...

RE: HS250h vs. Volt? Sorry GM...
By Kougar on 8/12/2009 4:04:43 AM , Rating: 2
There isn't any such thing as free energy, but hydrogen is just about the closest thing. It's the most abundant element in the universe, can be created from water with oxygen as the byproduct, and it burns clean without pollution.

If a cheaper means of producing hydrogen instead of electrolysis could be developed it'd be the way to go over battery technology. Even with a hydrogen vehicle that runs on hydrogen manufactured with electricity, there doesn't need to be an expensive, rare-metal battery pack that needs regular replacing. For all intents and purposes it'd be an electric car without the battery pack.

RE: HS250h vs. Volt? Sorry GM...
By tygrus on 8/12/2009 11:52:02 PM , Rating: 2
The cost of Hydrogen also included large amounts of energy for electrolysis and mining/manufacturing of production, storage, fuel cell and transport. At the moment, Hydrogen is NOT green.

RE: HS250h vs. Volt? Sorry GM...
By Steve1981 on 8/11/2009 9:52:37 PM , Rating: 3
I agree with you that judging by the pictures this particular Lexus leaves something to be desired in terms of interior aesthetics.

Nonetheless, if you're looking for a car with "soul", I don't think you're going to be shopping for a hybrid, be it a serial or parallel design. I'd wager that my sub-20k Mazda 3 would smack the lot of them down any day of the week in the "fun to drive" category while retaining a fair degree of economy.

As far as the Volt is concerned, I have high hopes for it. However, at this juncture, it is little more than vaporware. When it actually hits the streets, I'll change my tune, but trying to compare vaporware to a product that actually exists (even if it isn't in our market) is a fools errand IMO.

RE: HS250h vs. Volt? Sorry GM...
By Keeir on 8/11/2009 10:23:19 PM , Rating: 2
I think everybody is wrong, because we should be going Hydrogen, and the ONLY company that has even tried a commercial product is Honda and it has been a smash hit.

Ah..... what pray tell is that? The FCX Clarity currently available in a tiny area of the US for 600 a month for 3 year lease? And only 200 at that? Curious is there something I am unaware of?

RE: HS250h vs. Volt? Sorry GM...
By Lord 666 on 8/11/2009 10:23:56 PM , Rating: 2
About Honda going diesel, think its their best bet at this point. They are getting spanked by other hybrid solutions and the FCX isn't viable yet. The diesel power plants would be off the shelf (using UK spec) for them and their trick muffler to meet US emmission.

RE: HS250h vs. Volt? Sorry GM...
By drnk on 8/12/2009 5:30:24 AM , Rating: 2
Actually hydrogen is not the greenest solution, it's "theoretically" the greenest solution.To make it really the greenest solution it will take some time and some more research.
Cars like the VW Lupo 3L are still the best fuel economy cars, I think.The VW Lupo 3L is 78 miles per gallon!!

RE: HS250h vs. Volt? Sorry GM...
By Spuke on 8/12/2009 1:15:20 PM , Rating: 2
The VW Lupo 3L is 78 miles per gallon!!
78 Imperial Gallons. In US gallons, that figure would be smaller although still good.

RE: HS250h vs. Volt? Sorry GM...
By drnk on 8/12/2009 2:30:52 PM , Rating: 2
No, they are not Imperial Gallons, they are US Gallons.
In its name (VW Lupo 3L), the "3L" stands for "3 litres per 100 kilometers".
So that's 33 kilometers per litre and it's equal to 78 miles per US Gallon or 94 miles per Imperial Gallon.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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