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Lexus HS 250h : Used

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Justin Pritchard
Despite a short sales life, Lexus' first hybrid-only car looks like a safe bet
History/DescriptionOf A Used Lexus HS 250h: Despite its very short sales life, the Lexus HS 250h had the important position of being the automaker’s first-ever “hybrid-only” vehicle -- rather than a hybridized version of an existing machine. Slightly larger than the IS sport sedan, the HS was a front-drive sedan available with features like a sunroof, navigation, premium audio, push-button start, heated leather seats, and plenty more.

All models were powered by a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine teamed with an electric motor drive system, resulting in 187 horsepower’s worth of total output. A continually variable transmission (CVT) was included on all models.

Low sales volumes and a hefty recall campaign effectively killed off HS sales momentum, which was strong at the start, but quickly faded. As a result, the HS faded into extinction after just 2 model years on sale.

2010 Lexus HS 250h interior
Low sales volumes and a hefty recall campaign effectively killed off HS sales momentum. (Photo: Justin Pritchard)

What Owners Like: Common praise for the HS came from its fuel mileage, solid ride, more-than-adequate power output, powertrain smoothness and a unique, functional interior. Outward visibility was also highly rated. The drive-selector, which allowed the HS to be dialed into various calibrations like “SPORT” or “ECO” was also appreciated.

What Owners Dislike
: Some owners wish for a quieter ride, citing higher-than-expected levels of wind noise at speed. Trunk space and knee room (for larger passengers) are other common complaints.

Common Issues With A Used Lexus HS 250h: As with any used hybrid, a full check-over by a trained mechanic and hybrid technician should be considered mandatory ahead of your purchase. That inspection can reveal any hidden issues concealed in the computer system, check the battery, electric motors and general hybrid drive system health. Purchasing a used hybrid without a qualified inspection is not advised.

The HS you’re considering was the subject of several recalls and service bulletins issued to correct vehicle-related issues with safety and drivability. With the vehicle’s VIN number in hand, your local Lexus dealer will be able to determine if the work’s been carried out on the model you’re considering.

Brake hard from a moderate speed, noting any unwelcomed sounds or sensations. Any heavy lurching or “grinding” type sound effects could indicate a problem with the brakes or brake actuator, which should be inspected to ensure they’re tied into the hybrid drive system.

Confirm proper operation of all interior electronics, paying special attention to the navigation and infotainment system, and all digital readouts. Check the lighting system too -- especially on models with the available LED headlamps. These aren’t likely to burn out for years, though they’ll be pricey to replace if and when they do.

Ensure the shifter works as expected, too. If it seems “sticky,” a broken or damaged spring mechanism inside may be the culprit.

2010 Lexus HS 250h side view
A full check-over by a trained mechanic and hybrid technician should be considered mandatory ahead of your purchase. (Photo: Justin Pritchard)

The Verdict Of The Used Lexus HS 250h: Toyota and Lexus’ success in selling millions of hybrids globally should lend themselves to shopper confidence here. The HS appears to be free of glaring issues thus far, and many owners on web forums report positively on the driving and ownership experience. A used model with up-to-date maintenance sold through a Lexus pre-owned program is your safest bet.
2011 Lexus HS 250h Premium
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2011 Lexus HS 250h Premium
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Justin Pritchard
Justin Pritchard
Automotive expert