Hot news for 2010: You can expect the usual updating, but all the fuss is over the new HS 250h hybrid, which is Lexus’s first dedicated hybrid model; that is to say if you like the look of it, you’re getting the hybrid drivetrain and nothing else. Ÿ New IS series convertible model; yowza!
Carryover: GS series; LS series; GX 470; LX 570; SC 430
n It’s no surprise that Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus offers plenty of hybrid gas-electric options. It’s technology that the company is committed to since it improves fuel economy and dramatically lowers tailpipe emissions, which is certainly an issue with government these days. And in many cases, the addition of an electric motor actually improves acceleration.
The hybrid RX 450h, the LS 600h L and the GS 450h all outperform their gasoline-only counterparts in terms of straight-line performance. Why wouldn’t you want a hybrid? Well, they do cost more than the gasoline-only models, but year over year that price gap is shrinking and when factored into the payments, the difference is almost negligible.
The HS 250’s front-wheel-drive platform is actually Toyota-Prius-based, although the structure has been stiffened and the suspension updated to improve ride-and-drive characteristics. Still, the HS takes its own styling route, swapping out the Prius’s wind-cheating hatchback design for a steadfast and sturdy four-door-sedan shape that translates into generous space for five passengers and a decent-sized cargo boot. The HS 250h presents a 2.4-liter four-cylinder (the first four-cylinder for any Lexus) that combines with its electric companion motor to produce 187 horsepower; mostly the same powertrain as in the Toyota Camry Hybrid.
The HS includes extra fuel-saving tricks, such as an exhaust-heat-recovery system that warms the engine faster, allowing the motor to function on its own sooner after start-up and for longer periods in solo mode. Leather-trimmed seats, power moonroof, sound system and 10 airbags are all standard.