2010 Lexus HS 250h Gets a Test Run

Lexus_250h_frontIn past weeks we looked at our test-drive experiences with the 2010 Toyota Prius (third generation) and the 2010 Lexus RX 450h (hybrid SUV). Our most recent test-drive acquisition has been the Lexus HS 250h. We took it out for a week long adventure and have formulated our thoughts on it.

First, let’s look at the vehicle itself and why it’s been such a hot seller in Japan and promises to be an equally great sales success in the U.S. The 2010 Lexus HS 250h (HS stands for “harmonious sedan”, a very Japanese title) starts at $34,200 – typical for an entry-level sedan from a tier 1 luxury brand. This is relative bargain compared to other Lexus luxury hybrid sedans — the 2010 Lexus GS 450h, priced at $56,550 and the 2009 Lexus LS 600h, priced at $106,035.

For your money, the Lexus HS gives you some attractive luxury and eco-friendly features — Smart Access, push button start/stop, a HomeLink universal transceiver (can accomplish functions like closing your garage door), UV-reduction windshield glass, bioplastics (from sources including kenaf fibers and castor seeds), an OLED gauge cluster, a 10-speaker premium sound system, XM radio, LED taillamps and more. LED headlamps, a backup camera, and a navigation system are all optional packages/features.

From a performance perspective, the sedan has 187 net horsepower (from a 2.4L 2AZ-FXE inline-four engine and a 40 hp electric motor). This compares comes favorably to the Toyota Prius (134 hp combined, via electric motor and 1.8L engine). 0-60 mph acceleration for the small four-door is around 8 seconds. Meanwhile, the sedan’s fuel economy of 34 mpg (combined) stacks up between the Prius’s industry-leading 50 mpg combined fuel economy and the Lexus LS/GS’s not so great fuel economies (21/23.5 mpg, respectively). Lexus_250h_side

Driving the Lexus HS, the first thing that popped out was a bit of a negative — one of only a handful that marred the experience. The car has one of the smallest automatic shifter sticks that we’ve seen. We’ve seen small knobs, but this thing was tiny — nearing the size and average thickness of a human thumb (though a bit wider at its crest). In fact, we dubbed it the “fairy stick” due to its diminutive size. This stick marred the car’s look — we’re not quite sure what the designers were thinking. Fortunately, the situations in which you have to interact with the unsightly little stick were limited.

Otherwise the seats were comfortable (bioplastics and all) and our model came with the LED headlamps, which were very bright and clear. Our vehicle also came with the navigation package, and the display was bright enough to be easily read.lexus_250h_fairystick

In terms of on road performance, we averaged 36 mpg over 345 miles, slightly better than the EPA estimates. While not as efficient as the Prius, this meant that we still weren’t on empty even after a long week of driving. The disc brakes were extremely responsive and not overly jumpy — regenerative braking is usually a low-point with hybrids. Acceleration was smooth, but is largely a matter of perception. Moving up from the Prius, it will feel powerful, but for those who have experienced the LS/GS hybrids, it feels underpowered (but that sacrifice seems worth it, to us, as the fuel economy is significantly improved). NVH is very low — inside the cabin is quite quiet. The car absorbed potholes on a poorly maintained Detroit street with aplomb, offering minimal jostle to the passenger.

Overall the sedan seemed a relatively good value for its price. A couple more minor complaints were the “feature” auto-dimming mirrors. For those easily distracted, they may be a good idea, by minimizing incidental glare. However, for those with good vision, they prove to be a headache as it’s hard to see vehicles at night in them, particularly those with dim headlights. We’d rather deal with a bit of glare and retain the ability to actually see what’s coming at us. Perhaps a future implementation can fix these problems.

Our other minor gripe was that the remote unlock on the trunk did not seem to work (it could have just been our unit) and the trunk seemed (in general) hard to open. These detractions considered, we still enjoyed our time with the vehicle and felt that it’s definitely something for entry-level luxury buyers to consider.

Cars

Land Rover shows its artsy side by previewing the 2020 Range Rover Evoque

Land Rover made life-sized wire sculptures to preview the 2020 Range Rover Evoque. The all-new SUV will make its debut during a private event held in London on November 22, and deliveries will begin in 2019.
Cars

Born to run (forever): The most reliable cars you can buy right now

We all dread the thought of our car turning into a money pit, but choosing a dependable vehicle from the start can help us rack up countless care-free miles. Here, we've rounded up some of the most reliable cars available.
Cars

Our favorite fuel-efficient cars are as frugal as they are fun

You don't need to opt for a hybrid or an all-electric ride in order to achieve good fuel economy. These vehicles pack both performance and style, whether you're in the market for a luxury sedan or a game-changing pickup truck.
Cars

Where are you going this weekend? These 5 off-road vehicles say 'anywhere'

The body-on-frame SUV is going extinct, but there are still several options for buyers looking to skip the asphalt. To help you sort the good from the bad, we've rounded up the best off-roaders currently available.
Cars

Meet the born-again Ford Bronco that will soothe your ’90s nostalgia

Ford has confirmed it will bring the Bronco back to American showrooms in a few short years. While it's still very much a work in progress, this is what we expect from the Blue Oval's born-again off-roader.
Deals

These headlights have 4 color settings to help save lives under all conditions

Boslla headlights are an easy-to-install solution to achieve all-weather lighting for your vehicle. After a quick ten-minute install, these lights have up to four settings to get you through anything.
Cars

Car parts maker ZF is using drones to deliver components to its factories

ZF recently became the first entity in Germany to receive approval to use drones to deliver spare parts, and the company now uses them to deliver parts from its central warehouses to its workshops.
Cars

The DBX SUV will go where no Aston Martin has gone before

When it launches in 2019, the Aston Martin DBX will be the British automaker's first SUV. In the meantime, camouflaged DBX prototypes will undergo strenuous testing around the world.
Cars

Ford teams up with Walmart to study consumer response to autonomous delivery

Last week it was Ford and VW, and this week Ford and Walmart are signaling a desire to work together on autonomous vehicles solutions. Ford and the giant retailer will study consumer reactions to self-driving delivery vehicles.
Cars

Out of juice? Learn how to jump-start a car with this quick guide

Jumping a car is a simple procedure, but not everyone knows how to properly do so. To make things easier, we've put together a quick-hit guide on how to fire up your vehicle using jumper cables and a second power source.
Cars

Prep your car for the coming snow and sleet with these cold weather tips

Driving in the winter, whether downtown or across the country, is rarely easy. Luckily, we've put together a quick rundown of a few things you should do to winterize your car before the snow officially hits.
DT Daily

DT Daily: Waymo’s driverless cars, ‘Fallout 76’ tips, and Racella

In today's episode of DT Daily, we discuss Waymo's foray into the ridesharing sector, along with various tips for making the most of the recently launched Fallout 76. We also sit down with singer Racella to chat about her new EP, Waves.
Cars

Want to keep connected on the road? Here are 5 ways to add Bluetooth to your car

The best way to make an old ride feel young again is to bring it up speed with the 21st century. Here's how to properly add Bluetooth to your vehicle, via independent kits, vehicle adapters, or aftermarket head units.
Cars

Many adults believe fully self-driving cars are already traversing U.S. highways

The American Automobile Association tested cars with features such as lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control and found them lacking in real-world conditions. Forty percent of surveyed U.S. adults think self-driving cars exist now.