The world's first dedicated luxury hybrid may now be sold almost exclusively in Japan, but Lexus has given it a bit of an update to bring it in line with the rest of the lineup.
While Toyota, with its highly-recognizable Prius, has emerged as something of a pioneer in hybrids, creating a dedicated hybrid for its upscale Lexus division hasn't gone quite as smoothly. There are hybrid versions available of the ES, GS and LS sedans and the RX crossover, but as far as dedicated hybrids go (that is, a model that is only offered with a combination gasoline-electric powertrain), it comes down to the CT 200h. Before the that hybrid sport hatch came along, though, its role was filled by the HS 250h.
Based on the European-market Toyota Avensis sedan, the HS was the first dedicated luxury hybrid on the market. And while its lackluster sales in the United States saw Lexus pull the HS 250h out of the North American market entirely, it still sells it in Japan, where it has undergone a recent facelift. We brought you initial images and details of the updated HS back in November when they first surfaced, but amidst all the hubbub of the Detroit show and the Tokyo tuning salon, Lexus has also revealed these official images to give us a better look at what it's done to make a rather humdrum product more attractive.
The changes revolve principally around incorporating the brand's spindle-shaped grille (most dramatically implemented on the new IS), which involves a new front bumper as well with new air vents and LED daytime running lights, plus new principal headlamps to cap the revised front end. The interior, as you might expect, has also been revised as well. The hybrid powertrain that combines a 2.4-liter inline four worth 147 horsepower with a 40hp electric motor carries over unchanged, but with the HS gone from the North American lineup, few will get to experience it outside of the Japanese Domestic Market.