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2010 Lexus HS 250h Review - VIDEO ENHANCED

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SEE ALSO: Lexus Specs, Reviews and Comparisons-Lexus Buyers Guide



Model: 2010 Lexus HS 250h
Engine: 2.4-liter Atkinson cycle I4
Horsepower/Torque: 187 hp total (147 hp @ 6,000 rpm/138 lb.-ft. @ 4,400 rpm) plus Hybrid drive
Transmission: CVT
Wheelbase: 106.3 in.
Length/Width/Height: 184.8 x 70.3 x 59.3 in.
Tires: P225/45R18
Cargo volume: 12.1 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 35 mpg city/34 mpg highway
Fuel capacity: 14.5 gal.
Sticker: $Base $34,200 plus $875 destination charge

The Bottom Line: If you must have a Lexus hybrid, this is the one. It's a dedicated hybrid like the 2010 Toyota Prius, not a combination like the RX or Camry. It's all Lexus, though, with a good combination of luxury and quiet.

Toyota and its brands have been in the hybrid business for a long time. The Prius is the acknowledged leader in hybrids and you see them all over the place.

Lexus is less obvious in its hybrids, because most of them are reconfigured gasoline-powered cars, like the RX and this year the LS. But Lexus also now has a dedicated hybrid, meaning it doesn't have a gasoline-powered stalemate. It's the HS250h, and it is definitely the Lexus of hybrids.

The HS250h resembles the Prius, except it's larger and is built on its own unique platform. In Lexus' lineup, it fits between the IS sport sedan and ES sedan. Lexus research has shown that more than 60 percent of entry luxury car buyers would have considered a hybrid if one was available. Now one is.

The engine and CVT transmission are similar to the one in the Prius, except the smaller car uses a 2.0-liter engine and a CVT, while the Lexus has a 2.4-liter engine. Don't be concerned about a lack of power, though. Shift the unique shifter into D and the HS250h can accelerate with the best of the small compacts and there's no feeling that you're underpowered.

Like all good cars these days, the HS250h has a pushbutton start. Since there's no engine noise on start-up, you might feel it isn't working, but there's a green "ready" light in the instrument panel that tells you everything is working.

The panel-mounted shifter takes some getting used to. The shifter resides to the right, to the right of "N" and above "B" (for engine braking). Move it to the left and you have a choice of (from the top) "R, "N, or "D.

Pull away and you notice immediately that there's a Heads Up Display advising you of your speed. Because of this you almost never need to look at the dash itself, where there's a neat "economy" gauge telling you whether you're driving in an economical fashion or not.

In operation the HS250h is quiet, with minimal engine noise. Of course, if you're willing to take the taunts of other drivers, you can drive for a significant distance in electric mode only, but only at low speeds. Driving it like a "normal" car gives you no strange sensations.

The HS250h is slightly larger than a Camry (we compared it side-by-side with a Camry Hybrid at the supermarket). and offers typical Lexus comfort.

The HS has a nice navigation screen that also displays HVAC and audio information. You can navigate through the screens using a console-mounted mouse-type device that has built in detents when the pointer reaches an icon on the panel. It's all very intuitive, but slightly unnerving when you first try it. Basically, you navigate the pointer to the icon you want (just using like a computer mouse) and hit the "enter" button on the side to select the option.

What I liked most about the screen, though, is that you can lower it if you don't really need navigation or to see what's playing on the XM radio.

The HS is fairly normal inside with a pair of cup holders in the center console and bottle holders in the doors. The seats are heated and cooled and a small glove box that's filled with literature.

Audio choices include AM/FM/SAT/DISC and AUX, with USB and AUX inputs in the center console.

The front seats are comfortable, and the rears are also comfortable with a flat floor to accommodate a small center passenger. The rear seat backs don't fold because that's where the battery pack is. The smallish trunk cannot be expanded, therefore.

A nice feature is the headlights that lead you around a corner. Turn the wheel and the lights seem to bend around the corner to give you an advance look of what may be there.

The HS250h offers good performance, it's attractive and has good economy, It's a Lexus.

Click PLAY to watch The Auto Channel's RoadTrip profile of the Lexus HS 250h

2009 The Auto Page Syndicate

SEE ALSO: Lexus Specs, Reviews and Comparisons-Lexus Buyers Guide