Coming from a family of big car drivers with a preference for luxury, I was so surprised to hear their overwhelmingly satisfied reactions to the look and feel of the Lexus HS 250h. My dad, an old school Buick fan, felt for the first time that he could own a foreign luxury car and a hybrid. My cousin Dywane, a Hyundai Azera owner and one of the (if not THE) only chief coroners in the USA of African American descent, fell in love with it as well. And while my god-daughter refused to be anywhere near the car while I was shooting photos in the parking lot at the Cherry Hill Mall (New Jersey), her mom–my favorite Aunt Deb, just couldn’t stay away (as you can see from the pictures)!
Overwhelmingly, they fell in love with the HS 250h’s styling, as well as the cushiony ride and handling. From it’s sharp exterior lines that defy the often quirky hybrid look, to the interior styling that reeks of luxury, it bares the look of a high end vehicle without shouting to the world, “Im Green!”
Available in two trim levels: the HS 250 h, starting at $34,650 and the HS 250h Premium, starting at $37,420, each boasts a 2.4 liter engine with 187 horses under the hood. And while this is not the car for drag racing—0 to 60 in 8.4 seconds aint too bad! Even better is the 35 miles per gallon city /34 highway EPA fuel estimates. And that’s with cost effective regular gas, versus the high price of premium. Click here for a full detailed list of specifications
What sets this car apart from the traditional automobile is the hybrid engine technology combining battery power with gasoline engine power. It reminds me of a high speed rail train in that when you turn on the ignition (in this case, push the start button) you probably wont hear a thing, but it’s on. You can sometimes even tap the gas pedal very lightly and still not hear the engine. However, as soon as you require real power the 187 horses come alive, during which time the battery begins to recharge itself. Once the car comes to a stop, the gas engine will probably shut down as the battery power kicks-in while all along the car is on and functioning.
The Lexus hybrid technology is far superior to other hybrids (mainly American manufacturers of less than luxury standard), particularly when the car is running off battery power and you hit the gas to activate the gasoline engine. In many American cars such a Chevy Tahoe Hybrid I recently tested, the takeover is rather dramatic to startling where I nearly felt a jolt in the transition from hybrid to gasoline power. The Lexus hybrid was smooth every time.
In terms of luxury conveniences, the HS 250h pretty much has them all. It was totally keyless. All the windows in the four door sedan– with comfortable seating for four adults, or five passengers–were automatic on the up and down; Memory for the seat, the tilt/telescopic wheel and side view mirrors (on the Premium trim level); Rain sensing windshield wipers; Bluetooth; XM satellite radio; sensors to help you park perfectly; rear backup camera; and a green lit “Eco” indicator that tells you when you’re driving in a very eco-friendly state of being and so much more. Click here for a full list of features.
And if you think this sounds cool, for 2011, Lexus intends to kick it up a notch, or two with the arrival of the CT 200h, for 2011. Next month I will head down to Florida for a first hand look. Meanwhile, here’s a sneak peak for you….