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Posts Tagged ‘lexus hybrid reviews’

Bye-Bye Lexus HS250h, We Hardly Knew Ye – nor Cared

Lexus hybrid quietly slips into oblivion.

by on May.17, 2012

Oh, they're not building it anymore?

You might not have noticed.  Indeed, it seems pretty much everyone but the folks on the assembly line missed the fact that the Lexus HS250h went out of production back in January.

And no surprise.  Even at its launch in mid-2009 normally upbeat U.S. officials for the Toyota luxury brand were already making apologies for what was billed as the first dedicated Lexus hybrid.  It was cramped and slow, with a strangely laid-out interior that hardly supported the marketing claim that it was a high-mileage luxury car.

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Consumers all but ignored the Lexus HS250h, sales plunging to a marginal 2,864 last year, down a whopping 73% from 2010’s already anemic numbers.

Lexus allowed the HS to go gently into the automotive equivalent of that good, dark night and its departure might not have been noticed had it not been for a question posed by Inside Line.


First Look: Lexus LF-Gh

Japanese luxury maker lifts the kimono prior to NYAS preview.

by on Apr.12, 2011

Lexus provides an advance look at its new grand touring concept, the LF-Gh.

It’s going to be a busy week for the motoring scribes heading to New York for the upcoming New York Auto Show, which may be why Lexus has decided to stage an early, online reveal of the all-new LF-Gh hybrid.

Set to replace the aging Lexus GS450h hybrid, the new rear-drive model is expected to see the maker try to balance both performance and fuel economy with the latest version of its hybrid synergy drive system.

Officially described as a “concept” vehicle, the Lexus LF-Gh is nonetheless expected to reappear in a form very similar to that of the prototype formally debuting at the Big Apple’s Jacob Javits convention center.

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The name, the Toyota division reveals, is short for Lexus Future Grand Touring Hybrid.  Its styling, says the marque’s design chief, Kengo Matsumoto, is an evolution of the Lexus L-Finesse design theme that has been used for such current models as the LS600h and CT200h hybrids.

“For this concept,” he notes, “Lexus designers studied characteristics that are often considered contradictory and difficult to execute together. The captivating design of the LF-Gh concept examines the possibility of balancing what are normally opposing qualities, such as style and functionality.”


Lexus Teases Upcoming LF-Gh Preview

More aggressive design to replace current GS hybrid.

by on Apr.05, 2011

Lexus offers a hint of what's in store when it launches the new LF-Gh Concept at the New York Auto Show.

Lexus is providing a first look at the new hybrid model it plans to introduce at the New York Auto Show, later this month – or, more precisely, a pair of teaser shots that give just a wee hint of what’s in store when Toyota’s luxury brand brings its latest gas-electric model to market.

The name, LF-Gh, we’re told, stands for Lexus Future Grand Touring Hybrid, and indications are this new model could replace the aging GS-450h hybrid that’s been around for half a decade.

What seems certain is that the maker wants to pump a little more passion into a brand that is showing some signs of trouble.  The luxury sales leader in the U.S. market for a number of years, demand has been slipping, in recent months – embarrassingly, Buick outsold Lexus during January and February – and may reflect what critics contend is the plain vanilla nature of much of the Lexus line-up.

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If the front-end close-up is any indication, this latest exercise in the Lexus L-Finesse design language is moving in a more European direction, the hockey stick-like LED driving lights clearly influenced by Audi’s latest offerings.

“Through this exercise,” says the text accompanying the two teaser shots, “the marque’s design philosophy…has been refined and evolved to include a bolder, more distinct projection of what a luxury car could become in a modern world.”


Lexus Increasing Dependence On Hybrids

But luxury maker struggling with flaws HS250h.

by on Dec.09, 2010

Lexus is betting heavily on hybrids, like the CT200h, despite some setbacks.

As it races to the wire, Lexus is once again aiming to end the year as the nation’s leading luxury nameplate – and its heavy dependence on hybrid-electric technology is one reason it would get there.

The first high-line brand to introduce a hybrid-electric vehicle, Lexus now has more HEVs in its line-up than any other luxury brand – and the list is about to grow, with the launch of the new CT200h. (Click Here for a review of the 2011 Lexus CT200h.)

But not all of the Toyota subsidiary’s hybrids have performed equally well.  Insiders lament the lackluster performance of the first dedicated Lexus model, the HS250h, while the LS600h, the most expensive model in the Lexus line-up – other than the limited-edition LF-A supercar – has been lagging initial expectations.

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Nonetheless, Lexus manager Brian Bolain says the trendline is moving in the right direction, and that hybrid sales are expected to surge from around 30,000 to 42,000 with the addition of the 2011 CT200h.  Measured in terms of share, the technology accounts for about 13% of the brand’s overall volume, with Lexus aiming to boost that to at least 18%.

“We’re looking at the CT200h being a game-changing opportunity for us,” said Bolain, during a recent preview of the new hybrid.


Lexus Bringing CT200h to U.S. for 2011

First dedicated hybrid in premium compact segment.

by on Mar.22, 2010

The 2011 Lexus CT200h will be the first dedicated hybrid in the compact luxury segment.

Lexus will add a second hybrid-only model to its line-up for 2011.  The CT200h will be the first dedicated gas-electric entry into the premium compact segment.

The 2011 Lexus CT200h made its debut, early this month, at the Geneva Motor Show.  The maker described it as a perfect fit for a small but growing segment of “eco-conscious” European consumers who want hybrid power, rather than the diesel drivetrains that have come to dominate the Continental market.

There was some question about if and when the small hybrid would make it to the States, but Lexus now confirms the CT200h will roll it into showrooms here for the coming model-year, and will make its public debut at the upcoming New York International Auto Show.

“The CT200h is expected to lead the class in fuel economy and deliver low emissions,” claims Mark Templin, general manager of Toyota’s luxury marque.

The new hybrid, he added, will be positioned to young buyers as an “eco-conscous” offering that will “xymbolize urban, luxury living.”

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The 2011 Lexus CT200h will be the smallest of the brand’s expanding line-up of hybrids, a list that already includes gas-electric versions of the GS, RX and LS models, as well as the first dedicated Lexus hybrid, the HS 250h.

The CT200h will be powered by a 1.8-liter inline-four cylinder gasoline engine that uses the more efficient Atkinson cycle, and which features Lexus’ Variable Valve Timing with intelligence, or VVT-I, system.  It will be mated to the Lexus Hybrid Drive technology, which features two motor generators.