The new HS 250h is offered in two different models: base and Premium. Both come with a version of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, pairing a 147-horsepower, 2.5-liter Atkinson Cycle 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor system, regenerative braking and a battery pack. Altogether the system produces up to 187 hp and achieves EPA fuel economy ratings of 35 mpg city, 34 highway--all on regular gas.
Performance from the hybrid system is actually quite good; it can accelerate to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, according to Lexus. At higher speeds, the HS 250h's aerodynamic body and 0.27 coefficient of drag aid both performance and fuel economy while also reducing wind noise.
A MacPherson strut front suspension and double-wishbone rear suspension, with front stabilizer bars, help provide good sharp handling, and steering is provided by a rack-and-pinion design with electric power assist.
The HS 250h has seating for five adults, along with a quite large trunk. However taller drivers might find headroom tight. Throughout the interior--such as for the standard upholstery and some trim--Lexus used bioplastic materials from plant sources. About 30 percent of interior and trunk trim components use so-called ecological plastics. The focal point of the interior is the swoopy instrument panel and its Remote Touch control, which utilizes a trackball-like controller in the center of the console. It controls menus and navigation-system functions with relative ease.
All HS 250h models come with a multi-information display that uses high-contrast OLED technology and displays fuel consumption, range and power flow for the hybrid system. There's also an Eco Drive light that helps the driver find the most fuel-efficient driving style.
Safety features are more abundant in the HS 250h than in many more expensive luxury cars. All standard are front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, and knee airbags for both front occupants--a total of ten airbags. Active head restraints are also standard, as are electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and Brake Assist.
The base model HS comes with a feature list that most buyers will be happy with--including a sunroof, power heated mirrors, power seats, a smart-key system, a garage-door opener, dual-zone climate control, rear air conditioning vents and a 10-speaker sound system with 6-disc changer, USB and auxiliary inputs. Options on the base include a Touring Package that brings 18-inch wheels, 2-tone heated leather seats and other appearance upgrades. LED headlamps and wood trim
Packaged with the optional navigation system are XM NavTraffic and NavWeather features, which integrate live traffic and weather conditions with navigation maps and routing, along with XM Sports & Stocks. Lexus Enform is also a suite of services includes with the navigation system; it brings Destination Assist and eDestination, which allow the nav system to be programmed remotely, even through a call to a live assistant. A backup monitor and wide-view front monitor are also available.
Upgrading to the Premium model brings leather upholstery, wood trim, heated-and-ventilated front seats, heated side mirrors with puddle lamps, and rain-sensing wipers, among other extras. Options excusive to the Premium include Lane Keep Assist, which reads the pavement striping, sounds an alarm and even nudges you back into the lane; dynamic radar cruise control, which maintains a set distance to vehicles ahead; a heads-up display; park assist; a pre-collision system, and a driver attention monitor that reads the driver's face for telltale patterns of fatigue. They're all part of a $3,900 Tech Package.
The Lexus HS 250h is a completely new model for 2010, with a full-hybrid system combining a 4-cylinder gasoline engine and electric motor system. The small sedan has room for five and a large trunk. Though not directly related to the Toyota Prius, the HS 250h has a focus on fuel-efficient luxury, top technology and accident-avoidance features and sustainable materials.