Geared toward entry-level luxury car buyers, the all-new Lexus HS 250h sedan joins the automaker's lineup for 2010 as its first and only "dedicated" hybrid, meaning it was designed solely as a gas/electric model. The HS 250h slots between the IS luxury sport sedan and the ES sedan in the Lexus lineup, and will be the automaker's least expensive hybrid when it hits showrooms late in the summer of 2009.
The front-wheel-drive hybrid comes equipped with Lexus's first four-cylinder gas engine. Part of the vehicle's Hybrid Drive System, which generates a total of 187 hp, the 2.4-liter Atkinson-cycle engine features Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) technology, which ensures optimal efficiency. Lexus says the HS 250h's expected fuel efficiency will be more than 30 percent better than the most fuel-efficient vehicle currently in its lineup.
A number of other systems help improve the vehicle's efficiency, including an exhaust heat recovery system, which reduces engine warm-up time, so the gas engine can stop earlier, more often, and for longer periods, according to the automaker. In addition, a windshield with infrared-ray reduction properties helps to keep the interior cooler, reducing the need for air conditioning and helping to conserve fuel. Power-saving LED headlights and aerodynamic body styling with a low drag coefficient are among the vehicle's other fuel-conserving measures.
Exterior design features include a gull-wing-shaped roof panel, which helps to reduce mass and ensures a lower height profile. Other aerodynamic exterior components, such as a front spoiler, rear spoiler, diffuser fins, curved bumper side panels, and tapered side panels all help to reduce turbulence, so the HS 250h slip more easily through the airstream for better overall efficiency.
Inside, the HS 250h makes extensive use of plant-based, carbon-neutral ecological plastics, which are used for seat cushions, door scuff plates, floor finish plates, and some interior trim. Overall, the eco-plastics cover about 30 percent of the interior and luggage area, according to Lexus. Extensive noise and vibration dampening systems help ensure a quiet and comfortable cabin.
Standard interior features include leather-trimmed seats, a moonroof, and a multimedia package, which includes Bluetooth wireless connectivity, satellite radio, and a USB connection for an iPod or MP3 player, which the driver then can control using the multifunction steering-wheel controls or a display screen. Available features include a hard-disk-drive navigation system and a head's-up display. The HS 250h rides on 17-inch low-resistance wheels, and comes equipped with a total of 10 airbags, as well as a vehicle stability control system.