Looking for all the world like a twin of the Toyota Corolla, this Lexus sedan is hybrid only. They'll say it's dedicated. Suggesting that the HS250h sits between the sporty little IS and the mid-size luxobarge ES, the HS carries no trademark name like "Prius" for the general populace to latch onto, but one can assume that the four-cylinder/electric powertrain won't be enough to turn away a certain swath of the entry-luxury market which is more prone to finding 300 horsepower.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
187 ponies ye will receive. When Lexus talks about dynamics that car enthusiasts are interested in, this is what they say: "The MacPherson strut front suspension is designed to achieve both straight-line and braking control, and a positive steering feel. A double-wishbone rear suspension provides excellent maneuverability, control and comfort with a low spring mount that contributes to better packaging and superior cargo space. Coil springs, anti-roll bars and shock-absorber rebound springs are utilized front and rear. The Lexus HS 250h will have uniquely designed standard 17- and optional 18-inch wheels. The rack-and-pinion steering system utilizes a brushless Electric Power Steering (EPS) motor on the steering column, which provides improved steering feel, a reduction in harsh feedback, and better emissions by not draining engine power like conventional hydraulic systems."
Lexus is known for building superior vehicles that bring no joy to the driver on a twisty road. So enthusiasts hear that the HS250h is extremely stable and steers accurately with no feel whatsoever. If excellent maneuverability comes in tandem with better packaging, maneuverability does not mean agility. Though not familiar with the intricacies of brushless EPS mounted on the steering column, one assumes that, while its designers wouldn't have intended to do so, EPS sucks the life out of the steering-wheel-road connection.
Enthusiasts have been wrong before. Perhaps this dedicated hybrid will be a blast and its fuel savings will make the Infiniti G37 look like a dinosaur. Perhaps not.