Review: Lexus HS250h

Posted on 28. Oct, 2009 by in Auto News

Each luxury car seems to make forced to explore, how deep it to the American market, without devaluing the brand hopeless venture. Mercedes has not the C-class hatchback coupe and has spared the range of A-and B-Class in the United States. BMW has not been a semi-affordable four-cylinder here since the 318ti sent home offered a decade ago. The Jaguar X-Type do not cut the mustard on this side of the pond. And Cadillac is still waiting for the world to forget the 1980 Cimmaron. Undeterred by this clear pattern of failure, Toyota offers the Lexus HS 250h for 2010. Thus, the mockery is start?

A key takeaway from the success of the Prius: Americans prefer their hybrids in custom sheet metal. Thus, the HS 250h gets its rate from the Euro-market Toyota Avensis. This would be a neat trick if the Avensis was either distinctive or attractive. But it is neither. The windshield and backlight are stronger than a Corolla is raked requiring Prius-like small windows in the A-pillars and the HS, the external dimensions are a half size larger than the compact Toyota. Trivial details. Most eyes Corolla tarted up with so much of the necessary Lexus chrome strips that more than compensated for either. Their ungainly proportions or its low birth

Even better things in the car. First off sounds, the very door Lexus when incurred. The interior design has shades of econobox, but the solid-looking center console falls down stylish and both she and the instrument binnacle are padded. The only other Lexus with any padded bits in the IP is the flagship LS 600h. If the material is leather or leatherette? It's certainly not the creamy stuff slathered all over the interior of the 600h, but at least a good imitation leather basic. As in recent Cadillacs, upholstery parts of the IP takes the interior atmosphere up a notch or two. This is an over-compensation, I can live with. Ditto definitely the LS-like semi-aniline leather trims, the heated and ventilated seats in the Premium trim.

From the outset, Lexus earned a reputation for well-sorted ergonomics has earned, and the HS will this good tradition. Logically, sized and positioned buttons and keys with the most features. Secondary settings and nav system are operated as in the RX, about Lexus answer iDrive. A comfortable palm rest, force feedback and slick graphics, console tilting pad provide a large part of the familiar feel of a computer mouse. Where iDrive is often frustrating, "Remote Touch" (I did not name it) can actually be fun. An available 15-speaker Mark Levinson provides a further indication that the HS no more Toyota.

Good stuff going on with the front seats. They are contoured very comfortable and provide good support, although much cushier than all of Germany. The rear seats-not so good. Externally, if the Corolla is compared, is the HS 250h half a foot longer and wider and 1.6 inches inches taller. And yet the Lexus has nearly two inches less legroom. Somehow two generations sluggish sales is not taught Lexus that Americans. Not big on luxury sedans with narrow rear seats You do not want to go under 36 inches of rear legroom. The HS has 34.5. Where did all those extra inches? I suspect this window and raked the hybrid bits.

I've never been a fan of cars with sloping A-pillars so strong they need lettes window, and I will not start me with the HS. If I wanted to feel like I'm driving a minivan, I would get a minivan. At least the views of the IP otherwise good no sense you're looking over acres of plastic. Draw for the times when the guy in the SUV is forced, as far forward as you, if you both are trying to turn on a busy street (as if he did not see through the car), the premium-only Technology Package encompassed a wide-view front monitor. Via an ultra-wide-angle camera mounted in the nose of the car, this monitor is a good, long look in both directions at once. Look closely, because as objects in this view are very small and a lot closer than they appear.

The wide-view front monitor is just one of many features that should (but does not) guarantee that the HS act never paint with another car. We also have ABS, brake assist, a radar-based pre-collision system, TRAC, VSC, adaptive cruise, auto-dimming steering-linked LED headlights, a trio of auto-dimming mirrors, a rearview mirror monitor, front-informed and rear wheel speed difference obstacle detection, lane departure warning , tracking apparatus (if the warning is not), and a driver attention monitor. In the event that all this fails (perhaps because the driver is too busy flirting with the Remote Touch), can provide a family of ten airbags to cushion the impact and an automatic crash notification system selects 911th

The HS 250h shares its +40- 147 hp powertrain with the Toyota Camry Hybrid. I tried a TCH shortly after it was introduced, and hated the drive train. Rough engine, CVT ropy, non-linear power delivery, non-linear brakes … not a whole lot of good. Well, they fixed it. The HS-brakes suffer no obvious transition from regenerative brakes to conventional brakes. And the 2.4-liter gas-hybrid four-cylinder sounds and feels almost normal in regular driving. There are some scoot provided on the line, thanks to support from the insta-torque electric motor. Acceleration sag at higher speeds, but is never pronounced slowly. Force the engine to the adopted (no tach) redline, and you'll have a four-cylinder Sonata escape, if not the four-cylinder Sonata. It will do for the focus on fuel consumption or the Remote Touch instead of performance.

Performance? What about the HS suggests that the word should appear in this report? That would be the 225/45WR18 tires. What to do WR-rated treads on a car limited to 112 MPH? Now, they offer much more grip than you find in a Prius, and hold together with highly aggressive suspension tuning the quite large, ungainly proportioned HS fall all over themselves in aggressive cornering. But they are at a much flintier ride than people expect in a Lexus. Overcompensation, again, and this time it hurt the car prospects even more than the narrow back seat. While the latter only occasionally become a problem, and even then not for the driver a nervous, unsettled ride any effect in the car, and often.

Oddly enough, a touring package combines these tires with sports suspension (and a rear spoiler, and wait for it, aluminum sport pedals!) Is. Optional based on HS, but not on the premium Is this an undocumented suspension as standard with the Premium? It's hard to believe that Lexus would offer the car with an even harder suspension.

This is a non-hybrid (well, apart from the sports pedals and low-profile rubber), people expect great fuel economy. The 35/34 city / highway ratings are better than, say, an Acura TSX (21/30), but are far removed from those of a Prius (51/48). Good enough? Maybe for those who do most of their driving in city conditions. But no one will be ecstatic. Toyota might want to find out how Ford 41/36 expressed the Fusion Hybrid.

At the end of the HS 250h will be saved by low expectations. Based on the appearance and the specs you expect it to be terrible, only to find out that to achieve the performance and handling of reasonableness and that some aspects of the car the interior fittings, the front seats, which are toy surprisingly good . Even the bad bits, the narrow back seat and crisp ride will only stunt sales of the car. Can survive a luxury brand such impediment, cozy exterior design and the confused silliness of sport aluminum pedals and speed rated rubber on an eco-tuned hybrid. The one thing that could not afford HS 250h seem, especially with an all-boxes-tested sticker $ 48,000 ($ 44,770 as tested), is cheap. And thanks to the good bits, it does not.

Michael Karesh owns and operates True Delta, a third-party site survey reliability and operational performance

Power: 2 stars

Where else can you spend almost $ 50,000, and only get 187 hp?

Ride: 2 stars.

Unexpectedly brittle for a Lexus sedan.

Handling: 3 stars.

Not bad = better than expected.