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First Drive: 2010 Lexus HS250h

World’s first dedicated luxury hybrid.

by on May.26, 2009

The 2010 Lexus HS250h is the world's first dedicated luxury hybrid.

The 2010 Lexus HS250h is the world's first dedicated luxury hybrid.

The Toyota Prius is the world’s most popular hybrid-electric vehicle.  It’s also the most distinctive.  Indeed, it may be one of the easiest cars on the road to recognize, a factor that’s definitely played well to folks who like to make their “green” leanings as obvious as possible.

So it should come as no surprise that Toyota decided to use the same strategy when it began working up the design for the fourth hybrid offering from its luxury division, Lexus.  The 2010 Lexus HS250h is also the brand’s first HEV-only model.  Unlike the RX400h, LS600h and GS450h, the new HS is being offered with only a battery-electric powertrain.

To get a better feel for the 2010 Lexus HS250h, we headed out West to drive the sedan along the environmentally-friendly, in sentiment anyway, Los Angeles coast.  The new sedan isn’t quite as distinctive as the love-it-or-hate-it Prius design, though it’s decidedly different from anything else in the Lexus line-up, inside and out.

Despite some earlier reports, the HS250h isn’t a rebadged Prius. In fact, it shares much of its underlying platform with Toyota’s midsize Avensis – essentially a European version of the Camry. So, while it’s designed to slot into the Lexus line-up alongside the IS sedan, the HS is actually a wee bit longer, and a fair bit taller.