Move over, Prius
With the new Lexus HS 250h, Toyota is taking on a niche it has left unexplored until now: the compact luxury hybrid sedan. This new, allegedly green car designed for eco-minded and various well-to-do consumers naturally resembles the Prius, with which it shares a platform, but it’s not just another garden-variety clone. For the targeted buyer, original styling and engineering are important.
Ironic, since the HS 250h has its own clone since last October: a Toyota called Sai unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show. But this model will remain exclusive to the Land of the Rising Sun, says Toyota Canada. The automaker’s strategists are no doubt looking to protect the prestigious image of the Lexus brand…
So the HS 250h is a Lexus through and through. Its well-balanced profile is pleasing to the eye. A tad stocky, it reminds some of the Lexus ES (the Camry’s cousin), while others see a bit of the Corolla about it. The more sarcastic mention a certain resemblance with the Ford Fusion Hybrid, with a large, striated metal plate plunked down in the middle of the grille. It is massive, I’ll give you that.
This hybrid is powered by a 2.4-litre, Atkinson-cycle heat engine. The Prius can only boast 1.8 litres. This 4-cylinder engine produces 147 hp, but coupling it with a NiMH battery-powered electric engine increases the stable to 187 ponies dispatched to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). A second electric engine acts as a starter for the heat engine and a generator for the battery.
Travelling over 1,000 kilometres behind the wheel of an Ultra Premium model, mainly on the open road, we consumed on average 7.5 litres per 100 km (the automaker touts 5.9 L / 100 km). Mainly urban driving would undoubtedly see consumption hovering around the 6-litre mark.
That doesn’t stop the HS from churning out impressive performances, as the 0-to-100-km/h dash takes barely more than 8 seconds.
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