Lexus HS250h: Going green the Lexus way

Published on August 9th, 2009

It’s a quietly understood and accepted notion that if we don’t cut down on our use of the dinosaurs’ remains, the earth will turn into a Turkish bath and we will all roast to death, or so the politicians and tree-huggers want us to believe.

No doubt there is more than an ounce of truth to those statements and heed it we must but the alternative to petrol-powered vehicles seem so boring. Nonetheless, the alternative to petrol-powered cars brings about a smile to our faces in the same way lettuce for dessert would. Additionally, not everybody can afford a Tesla as well.

Hence, the hybrid was birthed and it seemed a sensible compromise for those that can’t seem to live without the power of a petrol burner and yet still toss and turn a wee bit longer at night before finally falling into a deep sleep.

Now just before you loose all interest in my ramblings, the reason I’m going on and on is that the hybrid market lacks choice. Globally, the two most renowned hybrids are the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius, the latter of which finally made the trip to our shores. However, Honda was the first to introduce a hybrid locally in the form of the Civic Hybrid and multiple hat tips go out to them for having the guts to pull off such a brave move in a market relatively lacking in hybrid exposure.

Moving on now, Lexus has decided to up the ante by launching the Lexus HS250h that they have dubbed the world’s first luxury dedicated hybrid, not that anybody was going to raise a red flag to that statement anyways.

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A 2.4-litre garden variety internal combustion engine is mated to an electric engine that gives the HS250h a combined cycle reading of 23km on a litre of fuel.

The 2.4-litre 2AZ-FXE engine pumps out a respectable 148hp together with 187Nm of torque and when the need arises, a 141hp electric motor with a very impressive 270Nm of twisty force comes into play. As is the norm, a CVT channels power from both motors to the front wheels with the combined output maxing out at 187hp.

Highlighting the interior of the haute hybrid is a central LCD screen system referred to as the Harmonious Driving Navigator. It displays information regarding the car’s hybrid system, fuel consumption, and energy regeneration.

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Interestingly, the system also awards points for environmentally-friendly driving that the owner can convert into donations for charities under the Project Mirai Isan banner that is managed by the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan.

Keeping safety close to heart, the HS250h comes with a Pre-crash Safety System that utilizes millimeter-wave radar to detect the driver’s focus and alertness. A buzzer and automatic braking are applied to jolt the driver awake if deemed necessary.

Taking luxury a step above on the golden ladder, the HS250h incorporates G-Link, a sort of concierge on the go. In the event of an accident, G-Link will communicate with the Lexus Centre to notify the boys in blue and even the medic staff. Furthermore, if you have trouble locating a certain place, the call centre operator can assist in locating the place and send over the GPS coordinates to your sat-nav system. G-Link will even notify you of an intrusion to the vehicle through your handphone.

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If you have trouble setting up an appointment for your next oil change, G-Link has your back there too. It can monitor certain car components and book and appointment with your Lexus Centre.

Exterior wise, the HS250h does plenty but apparently not enough to shade its Toyota roots. The front resembles a Corolla on steroids with a sweet grille while the rear scream IS250 all the way. Of course, being a luxury brand, that will never stand so in go LED headlamps and tail lights to polish up its worth.

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In conclusion, although the HS250h doesn’t push out impressive figures, and by that we mean the fuel consumption, not the hp (yes, our heads are still screwed on right) it still leads its field by default, being the first dedicated luxury hybrid and is bound to find a home in the garages of celebrities that live green. It might seem like just a Prius in Armani but undoubtedly it opens the door to a whole new segment of hybrid vehicles that illuminate a bright path towards a greener future.

Interestingly too, my.IS have just highlighted that Lexus has trademarked the names CT200h, CT300h and CT400h, fueling news from the grapevine that the Lexus C-segment hybrid to take on the Audi A3 and BMW 1-Series will indeed be brought to life.

Don’t be surprised to find a reworked version of the 1.8-litre engine from the Prius with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive under the hood of the CT200h as the entry level model. Logic dictates that the CT-series will be based on the Toyota Auris underpinnings although to qualify it as a Lexus, sufficient sound-deadening and ride comfort has to be added to the mix.

text: Dinesh Appavu  pix: Lexus

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