While not exactly eye-catching, I don’t find the HS250h homely, as was intimated in our preview of it in the 2010 New Cars issue. Instead, I find the HS250h to be fairly innocuous. It’s perfectly nice to drive if you’re not interested in scorching the pavement, its interior is well put together and has all the niceties you expect in a Lexus, and its hybrid system works well, with the transition between electric and gasoline power mostly unnoticeable. All in all, a car that Lexus followers who want to own a green car will no doubt be happy to drive.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
I thought this car was white at nighttime; only in the daytime did I realize that it’s a very, very pale blue. Kinda cool.
Overall impression: pleasant to drive, not a sporty vehicle, but a more luxurious and lavishly equipped Toyota Prius. More isolated than the Prius, but the powertrain feels pretty similar, although not quite as surge-y as the Prius, and with a more natural-feeling brake pedal.
Interior is very much in tune with latest Lexus design aesthetics: sweeping center console between driver and front passenger; lots of buttons and switches that are mostly easy to figure out; very good nav system; some very nice leather trim on the dash. It will speak to those who want a hybrid with more “wow” than the Prius. It’s not a lavish interior, but it’s a nice one, with a tech-y, modern feel about it.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor
Where’s the fuel economy? Compare the HS250h’s 35/34 mpg city/highway rating to the Toyota Prius’ 51/48 mpg and this Lexus looks even more silly than it does from 30 feet away. From the driver’s seat the HS is a perfectly nice car, with comfortable seats and fine materials. I find the mouse-like navigation controller to be quite intuitive, but the interface is outdated and doesn’t collaborate well with the physical controls for the radio and climate control. The map screen should retain a small sliver to show audio data, and I frequently found myself hunting through menus to figure out what temperature the heat was set at.
The driving experience is rather ordinary. Acceleration is merely acceptable and the ride is comfortable as expected. There’s a tiny bit of surge at high speeds as you lift off the throttle and battery regeneration kicks in. The steering is also weighty for both a hybrid and a Lexus.
I had the heat cranked as I left the office on a cold Michigan evening, forcing the Lexus to keep its gas engine running more than it would like. The result was an indicated 27 mpg on my commute home. If that’s all the HS could muster through a long winter, I’d rather spend my money on a diesel BMW 335d that gets worse city fuel economy, but is more fun to drive at about the same price.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
As others have noted, there’s nothing particularly wrong with the HS250h, but nothing remotely remarkable about it either. There’s a nondescript, slightly awkward exterior coupled with an interior that employs some very nice materials, but still feels cheaper than it should in a few spots, such as the hard, narrow center console. I do love the leather on the seats though – very rich feeling.
The car drives reasonably well, with good steering and better acceleration than you’d get from a Prius. The heavy batteries clearly exact a ride penalty, as the HS doesn’t display the composure we’ve come to expect from a Lexus.
If I were a guessing man, I’d say HS250h will score some quick sales off of the Prius’s halo, but long term, won’t offer enough luxury to please luxury buyers.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
2010 Lexus HS 250h Premium
Base price (with destination): $37,845
Price as tested: $46,547
2.4L 16-valve DOHC I-4
Electric drive motor with Lexus Hybrid drive
Electronically-controlled CVT transmission
Dual-zone climate control
Lexus premium audio
18-inch aluminum alloy wheels
Heated and ventilated seats
Options on this vehicle:
Wide-view front monitor with backup monitor – $700
Mark Levinson Audio System – $1580
– 6-disc in-dash DVD changer
Navigation system – $2125
– Hard disk drive
– Lexus Enform with destination assist
– XM satellite radio
Tech Package – $3900
– Lane keep assist
– Dynamic radar cruise control
– Heads up display
– Park assist with f & r sensors
– Pre-collision system with driver attention
Cargo net – $59
Trunk mat – $73
Premium floor mats $265
Key options not on vehicle:
35 / 34 / 35 mpg
Size: 2.4L 4-cylinder with electric drive motor
Horsepower: 187 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 187 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Weight: 3770 lb
18 x 7.5-inch aluminum alloy wheels
225/45WR18 all-season tires