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LEXUS HYBRIDS IN 3D
The second dimension: HS 250h

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Jan 16, 2012

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

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Lexus HS 250h

By Zoran Segina “How come you listen and follow directions when She gives you instructions, but not when I do.” This assessment of my auditory and navigational abilities by the Tall Girl is offered shortly after we get on the freeway for a Saturday visit to Palos Verdes. The She is represented by a pleasant female voice emanating from the center console of our dashboard. She provides far more than just navigation guidance. We are on the freeway, in moderately heavy weekend LA traffic, and the cruise control is set. She is equipped with a radar sensor in the grille, and can control the distance between us and the car ahead. If the traffic slows down, She will engage the brakes until the speed dips to twenty miles per hour, at which point a chime warns the driver that the cruise control is disengaged. If the roadway has embedded electronic lane markers (I did not even know this existed!) She will ask the guidance system to emit a cautionary beep any time the driver veers from the center of the lane. She has rear view camera, front and rear parking assist system, automatic collision notification, voice command, and a slew of other features that are far beyond technical comprehension of the guy who apparently cannot follow his wife’s instructions on the road.

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She is a part of the new Lexus HS 250h, which is a luxury hybrid cousin of the Toyota Avensis model in Europe. I prefer the HS250 to the sportier CT200h, because this car does not suffer from false pretenses. Despite a total of 187 horsepower from a 2.4 liter four-cylinder Atkinson engine and the electric motor, the HS250h is not the hot racer. Rushing from downtown to the Westside and back in the “power” mode proves that the HS250 can be reasonably nimble in heavy traffic accelerating from 0-60 in 8.4 seconds. But this is not the way to enjoy the hybrid technology, especially after a glance at the fuel consumption display. My aggression equates to less than twenty miles per gallon. For the Saturday outing with the Tall Girl, the HS250h glides in the “eco” setting with every electronic driver assist device turned on. Eco mode accelerates battery recharging and retards throttle response to maximize efficiency. The speed is displayed on the windshield. The Tall Girl travels comfortably on semi-aniline leather seats. She finds the contrasting color pattern between cream leather and black carpeting aesthetically pleasing . We are searching for holiday music on the Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system, but the satellite navigation remains elusive. Upon our arrival at the destination, after about an hour the Tall Girl exclaims: “This car civilizes the uncivilized. I am not a nervous wreck, which I usually am with your driving style.”

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The uncivilized one has to admit that the Tall Girl has a point. Once the driver engages all automatic systems in eco mode, a certain serenity takes over. The electronics do lower the driver’s anxiety over rear end collisions in stop-and-go holiday traffic, and, since the HS250 is not a hot-rod, especially in the eco mode, one tends to adjust his driving style accordingly. She can do that to her operators. During a biblical downpour two days later, the uncivilized one attempts to spin wheels on the wet pavement, followed by abrupt braking—all to verify the handling of the car. She reacts to this abusive behavior by yanking the seat belt as if to say: “This is not the way I want to be driven.” On the rainy freeway, however, the HS 250h turns into a battle cruiser, its 225/45 R 18 Toyo Proxes cutting effortlessly through massive puddles of water. Closing the door produces an un-Lexus metallic sound revealing the engineering objective to make the car lighter rather than luxurious. The trunk is small because the battery pack is located behind the rear seats.

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I still cannot figure out how to keep the satellite display permanently on. The owner’s manual is a Tolstoy-esque 594 pages, with an additional 388 pages for setting up the navigation system. If this seems too time consuming, the Owner’s Quick Guide Manual is only 93 pages. Does anybody really need a six-hundred page manual? I could not find the place to put the trash. The interior seemed too nice to just leave it anywhere. And She might get really upset. To view "The Third Dimension: Lexus GS 450h", click here To view "The First Dimension: Lexus CT 200h", click here To view the introduction to “Lexus Hybrids in 3D”, click here

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SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2012 Lexus HS 250h Price: $37,030 (base) $47,882 (as tested) EPA fuel economy rating: 35 mpg city/34 mpg highway Engine(s): 2.4 liter in-line DOHC 16-valve, variable valve timing with intelligence sequential multiport fuel injection four-in-line gasoline engine Permanent magnet, synchronous AC 650V electric motor Batteries: Sealed nickel-metal hydride 244.8V Horsepower: 147 hp (100kW) @ 6010 rpm (gasoline) 141 hp (105kW) from 0 rpm (electric) (?) Combined: 187 Torque: 138 pound-feet at 4400 rpm Transmission: Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission with manual/electronic shifting EV, ECO and POWER ‘on-demand’ drive modes Drive configuration: Front-wheel drive Steering: Electric power rack and pinion Front suspension: MacPherson strut, coil springs, stabilizer bar Rear suspension: Double-wishbone with trailing arms, coil springs, gas-charged shocks, stabilizer bar Wheels and tires: 18-inch aluminum alloy, with 225/45 R18 W all season tires front and rear, with tire pressure monitoring system Brakes Front: 10.8 inch ventilated discs with ABS anti-lock, brake assist and power assist Electronically Controlled Braking-Regeneration (ECB-R) system Rear: 11.1 inch discs with ABS anti-lock Overall length: 184.8 inches Overall width: 70.3 inches Overall height: 59.3 inches Curb weight: 3,682 pounds Performance 0-60 mph in 8.4 seconds Top Speed: 112 mph

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