2010 Lexus HS 250h
Luxury cars and hybrid powertrains are no strangers at Lexus. But until the 2010 HS 250h, the biggest Japanese luxury carmaker hadn’t built a dedicated hybrid model. That’s all changed now, and the 2010 Lexus HS 250h shows that you don’t have to be mean to be green.
Sharing some basic driveline components with the Toyota Prius, but eschewing the anemic hatchback’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder for a 2.4-liter unit offers a combined 187 horsepower rating; 147 horsepower from the Atkinson-cycle engine and 40 horsepower from the Hybrid Synergy Drive electric motor.
Cutting to the chase--this is a hybrid after all--what kind of fuel efficiency does the HS 250h gt? Together with the car’s surprisingly slick aerodynamic coefficient of drag of just 0.27, the HS manages 35 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA. In testing by High Gear Media editors, the new Lexus hybrid saw real-world returns of about 30 mpg keeping with fast-paced traffic, but managed to swing all the way up to 46 mpg average on stretches of smooth, flat roads. As with most hybrids, hilly roads do major damage to the fuel efficiency figures; one particular 12-mile stretch of road brought the average down to just 22 mpg. So it’s efficient, but it’s not going to change the luxury landscape.
At 8.4 seconds to 60 mph, the HS 250h isn’t exactly slow, but it’s not quick either. It doesn’t handle or drive like a performance car, but it’s not supposed to. Instead, it coddles occupants in what are four-star accommodations for the hybrid world.
A mostly quiet cabin and confident, firm ride deliver more stability and comfort at freeway speeds than a Prius or Camry Hybrid. The HS’s acoustic windshield and triple-layer door seals definitely help keep the road and wind noise out, but there’s a price to pay for all the sound insulation: weight. That weight is likely what holds the 3,682-pound HS 250h from reaching higher fuel efficiency figures, especially in hilly areas. Considering the amount of engine noise that still manages to leak into the cabin, one has to wonder if Lexus actually used enough insulation.