Lexus HS250h Dedicated Luxury Hybrid. Well, that’s what Lexus calls it. I reckon the LS600 made a pretty good fist of being a ‘Luxury Dedicated Hybrid’, but that doesn’t count apparently because you didn’t have to have the LS as a hybrid. With the HS you have no choice – it’s a stand-alone model, which I suppose we should consider as a ‘Posh Prius’.
This isn’t a new version of an existing Lexus car, it’s a new addition to the range (did we know this was coming? I’m starting to get confused with hybrids popping up everywhere!), although it does look similar to the IS range, it’s actually a bit longer than the IS and a bit wider than the ES, and has the Prius-type side slabs .
The HS is in effect an up-market, poshed-up version of the next generation Toyota Prius, which is also due to début in Detroit. Unfortunately, it has FWD, but it does have a 2.4 litre engine to help things along, instead of the 1.5 in the Prius.
Actually, this is a very clever move by Toyota. Capitalising on the world’s preoccupation with ‘Global Warming’, but realising that people don’t necessarily want to give up the façade of a posh car, they have packaged the Lexus HS very well. It offers plenty of toys, including a clever lane departure system that uses the electric steering to keep the car on the straight and narrow, and a heads-up display that even works in the sunshine!
Toyota are aiming to move 30,000+ Lexus HS250h a year, with sales starting in the summer. They haven’t announced prices yet, but it would take a brave man to bet against them hitting their target.
There are no plans to sell the HS250h in the UK or Europe. But read that as ‘We will if there’s a demand’!