2011 Lexus HS 250h


2010 Lexus HS 250h — Flash Drive

This 2010 review is representative of model years 2010 to 2012.
By Staff of MSN Autos

View Pictures:  2010 Lexus HS 250h

In many ways, the Lexus HS 250h is just an upscale version of the Toyota Prius. Like the Prius, the HS 250h works well in electric mode. I tested it at speeds up to 12 mph, which is great in bumper-to-bumper traffic, parking lots or small neighborhoods, and I had no problems. The difference is that the Lexus also drives well under normal propulsion. Plus, it is very plush, has a nice navigation system and a very cool heads-up display. Trunk space is plentiful, which was unexpected — most hybrids have small trunks because the battery pack usurps the space. Two digs: I wish that Lexus had made the design more interesting and the price tag more affordable. –Joe Chulick

The Lexus HS 250h is not what I want my next hybrid car to be. It feels like an overpriced Prius, perhaps because it has the same tiny gear lever sprouting from the dashboard. The 250h also feels no more powerful than a Prius, no more spacious than a Prius, and has the misfortune of being the first Lexus I've driven equipped with an idiotic "mouse" to control all basic functions such as climate control, radio and navigation. I can't think of a more attention-sapping control device. Choosing a new radio station, for example, requires you to pay attention to the display, not to the road, where your attention should be. –Paul Hagger

The first dedicated hybrid model from Lexus, the HS 250h is the result of Toyota setting out to create a Prius worthy of the Lexus name. The HS 250h is fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly, but it is also luxurious and comfortable, with a more powerful drivetrain that is essentially lifted from the Camry Hybrid. While the HS 250h carries the hybrid cachet, it just doesn't fit the bill for a driver looking for a sport sedan or true Lexus luxury. On the road, it feels heavy and the steering is vague. Unlike the Prius, however, the 250h has enough power to drive more like a conventional car than a gas-electric. –Mike Meredith

I had my doubts about this new Lexus hybrid. I'm not a big fan of how the Toyota Prius drives and assumed this would be just a nicer version of that best-selling hybrid. But I was pleasantly surprised. The HS 250h is one of the best-driving hybrids I've experienced, with reasonable acceleration and handling on a par with other compact premium sedans. I averaged around 30 mpg in combined driving, which may not be at the top of the hybrid heap, but is still impressive. The HS has nice styling, and while it is smaller than I expected, it still offers a comfortable interior. The new "mouse" interface that Lexus launched with this model is difficult to use. Selecting items on the display requires paying attention to the screen rather than to the road, and simple tasks such as choosing a preset radio station are much too complicated. –Perry Stern


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