2010 Lexus HS 250h



The Lexus HS 250h will be the brand's first dedicated hybrid sedan when it reaches showrooms in the fall of 2009.

Lexus's three gas-electric hybrid vehicles currently on sale were originally developed as gas-engine models, then converted or updated for hybrid operation. The HS 250h, based closely on the familiar Toyota Prius, is a hybrid vehicle exclusively, no gas-engine-only version is available. Think of the HS 250h as an upscale Prius with Lexus-style amenities and dealership experience and you won't be far off the mark.

The HS 250h has similar exterior dimensions to the Prius, on an identical 106.3-inch wheelbase. Whether the two cars share an underlying platform or foundation we don't know. The HS 250h certainly looks different than the Prius: more stylized, perhaps, with a formal rear deck and trunk rather than a hatchback. And Lexus's figures confirm what an educated eye might guess. With a drag coefficient of 0.27, the HS 250h is slightly less slippery in the air than the Prius (0.25 Cd). That means that, other things equal, the Lexus will deliver slightly poorer fuel economy than Toyota's Prius in exchange for flashier exterior design.

Like the Prius, the HS 250h will run on its electric motor whenever travel speed, conditions or driving demands allow. The gasoline engine will charge the battery pack and provide extra power for maximum acceleration or high-speed travel, switching off and on automatically whenever the car stops or demands full power.

The HS 250h engine is larger than that in the 2010 Prius (1.8 liters), and it's Lexus's first four-cylinder to date. This 2.4-liter inline-4 operates on something engineers call the Atkinson-cycle, which tends to improve fuel efficiency at the expense of peak power. The company claims that this new engine was developed with an emphasis on noise, vibration and harshness control, with premium features such as piston-cooling oil jets and balance shafts that counter vibration generated by the pistons' movement in the cylinders. We expect that means smooth and quiet.

Lexus hasn't released horsepower or torque ratings for the HS 250h gas engine, but the company says that the engine and electric motor will deliver combined peak horsepower of 187. That's substantially more than the Prius (134 hp). It suggests the HS 250h will have more uumph under hard acceleration, but it also means that the Lexus should deliver at least slightly lower fuel economy than the Prius. Still, Lexus claims the HS 250h will provide at least 30 percent better fuel mileage than any of the other three hybrids in its lineup.

Underneath, the HS 250h will use a sophisticated, fully independent double-wishbone rear suspension, compared to the Prius's solid torsion beam rear axle. That should improve both ride quality and handling. The HS 250h will come standard with 17- inch aluminum wheels, and optional 18-inch wheels. And in the Lexus tradition, the HS 250h will feature a host of noise and vibration dampening features not typically expected in a Toyota, including active dampening engine mounts, special sound-dampening material inside the body panels and more costly seals around the doors and hood.

Inside, the HS 250h will be the first Lexus with carbon-neutral ecological plastic materials. These plant-based plastics emit less carbon dioxide during their lifecycle than plastic made solely from petroleum, and they account for 30 percent of the panels inside the LH 250h. A windshield with infrared-ray reduction properties will keep the interior cooler, and it should reduce the amount of energy required to operate the air conditioning.

The HS 250h will also offer a host of premium options, including low-energy LED headlights, a Lane Keep assist system that warns the driver if the car is drifting out of its lane and then helps steer it back between the lines, and a next-generation navigation system with built-in hard drive.

The nav system features a new casual-speech voice recognition program, as well as XM NavTraffic, NavWeather and Sports and Stock information. Its telematics system allows communication between the car and a remote home computer, storing information on possible destinations.

In Lexus fashion, the HS 250h will come standard with a class-leading 10 airbags, and active safety features such as Vehicle Stability Control and advanced antilock brakes (ABS). The optional Dynamic Radar Cruise Control includes a pre-collision safety system that can load the brakes and tighten the seatbelts before the driver even steps on the pedal. An optional wide-view front monitor will show a 190-degree image of what's close in front of the car on the navigation screen.

The first HS 250h sedans should trickle into Lexus dealerships by late summer 2009, with widespread availability by the fall. Lexus says this car will slot between its least expensive sedan, the IS 250 ($31,305) and the ES 350 ($34,470). We'd project the LH 250h's base price at about $33,000, but that's just a guess.

Until now, Lexus's hybrid models have been pitched as much for improved performance as fuel economy. Expect the dedicated hybrid HS 250h to be the mileage king among luxury brands.



2010 Lexus HS 250h Review: Overview and Model Lineup

New hybrid sedan is state-of-the-art green.

The new 2010 Lexus HS 250h combines the performance of a V6 with the mileage of a four-cylinder economy car using an advanced hybrid gas-electric powertrain.

Hybrid drive systems can be designed to boost mileage as in the Prius or enhance performance as in the LS 460. The Lexus systems are a modular technology and can deliver any mix of the two. The new HS 250h falls somewhere in the middle of the hybrid spectrum.

The result is a clean, efficient luxury car with good numbers both in power and fuel economy. The HS 250h gets an EPA-estimated 35 mpg in combined city and highway driving yet can accelerate from 0-60 mph in a respectable 8.4 seconds. In combination with the hybrid drive motor, the HS 250h generates 187 total system horsepower, running on regular unleaded gasoline.


2010 Lexus HS 250h Review: Walkaround and Interior Features

Almost every aspect of the 2010 HS 250h design is modern, technical, and aerodynamically relevant.

The new grille contributes to a low coefficient of drag (0.27) by guiding airflow over the hood, and is set lower than the headlamps, a Lexus identity trait. The center of the hood is visually well defined, blending into concave segments that create a sculpted, edgy look. Sharply angular compound headlamps are mounted high, above the grille, a design cue in keeping with the top-of-the-line LS600h.


2010 Lexus HS 250h Review: Driving Impressions

We spent a warm spring day in the Lexus HS 250h driving the Coast Highway around the Newport Beach, California, and the hilly roads leading inland. The roads varied from two-lane highways to winding canyon roads, with briefer stretches of wide-open four-lane highway driving. Our test unit was equipped with most of the available amenities, including the navigation package and the Remote Touch controller. 


2010 Lexus HS 250h Review: Specs 

Here's an overview of the specifications for the 2010 Lexus RX.  Check out the latest features!

Model Line Overview

Model lineup:Lexus RX 350 FWD ($36,800); RX 350 AWD ($38,200); RX 450h
Engines:3.5-liter V6; hybrid powertrain
Transmissions:6-speed electronically controlled automatic (ECT) with snow mode
Safety equipment (standard):advanced airbag system for driver and front passenger; front-seat mounted side airbags; roll-sensing front and rear side-curtain air bags; driver and front passenger knee airbags and side airbags; active headrests for front seats; force-limiting seatbelt pre-tensioners for driver and front passenger seats; three-point seatbelts with pre-tensioners for all rear seating positions (3); direct-type tire pressure monitoring system; four-sensor, four-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Brake Assist; enhanced VSC (Vehicle Stability Control)
Safety equipment (optional):Pre-collision System and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control; Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM)
Basic warranty:5 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in:Kyushu, Japan and Ontario, Canada

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP):Lexus RX 350 AWD ($38,200)
Standard equipment:Ivory or Black fabric-trimmed seats, 10 way power drivers and passenger seat; automatic dual-zone climate control; dust and pollen particle interior air filter; walnut wood trim; chrome trim; carpeted floor mats; steering wheel audio controls; rear air conditioning vents; illuminated LED glove box, center console box and front cupholders; incandescent dome light with white LED spot lights; incandescent foot lights; two 12-volt power outlets; programmable HomeLink garage door opener; manual front seat belt anchor height adjusters; power tilt and telescopic steering column; power windows, door locks; dual sliding sun visors electric fuel door release; pull-out front door storage pockets; tool kit and first aid kit; SmartAccess key system; variable intermittent windshield wipers; rear intermittent wipers; auto on/off headlamps; integrated front fog lamps; heated outside mirrors; five manually adjustable headrests; rear center arm rest with cupholders and storage box; split tonneau cover for rear cargo area; rear seat one-touch fold levers
Options as tested (MSRP):Luxury Package ($4800); Mark Levinson Audio ($1610); Navigation System ($2400) Sports Package ($1300); Towing Prep Package ($238)
Destination charge:($825)
Gas guzzler tax:N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $49,373
Layout:full-time all-wheel drive
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):275 @ 6200
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):257 @ 4700
Transmission:6-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:18/24 mpg
Wheelbase:107.9 in.
Length/width/height:187.8/74.2/66.3 in.
Track, f/r:64.2/63.8 in.
Turning circle:40.0 ft.
Seating capacity:5
Head/hip/leg room, f:39.1/55.6/43.1 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:37.7/54.5/36.8 in.
Cargo volume:80.3 cu. ft.
Towing capacity:3500 Lbs.
Suspension, f:independent, MacPherson strut, coil springs
Suspension, r:independent, double wishbone, coil springs
Ground clearance:7.3 in.
Curb weight:4510 lbs.
Brakes, f/r:disc/disc w ABS, brake assist, electronic stability control
Fuel capacity:19.2 gal.

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of February 07, 2009.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 800-255-3987 - www.lexus.com