Lexus HS 250h Hybrid: Review

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The 2010 Lexus HS 250h Hybrid is Toyota's way of luring that 60 percent of shoppers who ultimately buy a Prius, but would be willing to consider a luxury car if a hybrid only option were offered to them. The HS 250h is the first luxury car built to emphasize fuel economy over all else. While Lexus has other hybrid powertrains, like the GS sedan and RX, those manage only a small boost in fuel efficiency, whereas the HS 250h is the first dedicated hybrid luxury car.

The 2010 HS 250h Hybrid is available in two trim levels. A base trim includes a full suite of luxury electronics, but uses a grade of leather some may find a little cheap. The upscale Premium trim adds larger 18 inch wheels and a finer grade of leather but no new technologies. Most options are available on either trim level. The HS Hybrid uses a 2.4-liter four cylinder engine that's mated to a pair of electric motors for a total output of 187 horsepower. The car has three drive modes: Eco, Power, and EV.

Set to EV, it is a purely electric car. In Eco mode, the powertrain is biased toward fuel economy, and accelerates slowly. In Power mode, the bias shifts, allowing the car to accelerate more like a gas powered sedan. The only thing mentionable about the HS's exterior is that it's larger than the Lexus IS, but smaller than the ES. Inside, the HS feels luxurious with easy-to-use electronics and soft-touch surfaces, providing a more enjoyable driving and riding experience.

The seats are thinner, but are still comfortable and the list of impressive standard features definitely makes the HS Hybrid an attractive buy.

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