With the Obama administration's new alternative and renewable energy plan—which includes efforts to put 1 million plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015—Lexus found an opportune time to unveil the HS 250h at the Detroit Auto Show. This is the luxury automaker's first hybrid designed for the entry-level luxury market. "Did you know that more than 60 percent of entry-luxury car buyers would have considered buying a hybrid if one had been available?" said Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager of Lexus after unveiling the new model.
The automaker says the HS, which shares a number of components with the latest-generation Toyota Prius, is the most fuel-efficient model currently in the Lexus lineup. Thirty percent of the interior and cargo area utilizes "carbon-neutral, plant-based" plastics, and 85 percent of the sedan, including the battery, is recyclable.
Slotted between the IS luxury sport sedan and ES luxury sedan, the HS 250h will have a four-cylinder 2.4-liter engine that produces 187 horsepower. Some of the technologies adopted in the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine are cooling piston oil jets; an optimized balance shaft rate for improved noise, vibration, and harshness characteristics; and a hot-air venting system mounted behind the radiator. The HS 250h is expected to retail in the mid-$30,000- to low-$50,000 range when it's available in late summer.
Toyota yesterday unveiled its third-generation Prius hybrid, targeting U.S. sales of 180,000 cars in the first 12 months and 400,000 globally in 2010.