By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 2/28/2012
When the Lexus HS 250h debuted in 2009, it was heralded for being an eco-conscious luxury-hybrid sedan that was a more upscale alternative to the Toyota Prius. And while the HS 250h hit its mark as being just that, it wasn't a hit with consumers and was constantly outsold by its younger brother, the CT 200h. 2012 marks the last year for this entry-level luxury hybrid, but for those looking for a socially-conscious vehicle with elegant features and top quality, the 2012 Lexus HS 250h continues to provide.You'll Like This Car If...
The 2012 Lexus HS 250h offers a solution for those seeking the comforts of a luxury sedan while remaining environmentally conscious.You May Not Like This Car If...
Standing next to others in the Lexus lineup, the HS 250h is a bit of an odd duckling. Compared to its brethren like the upscale GS or LS, the HS looks more like an economy car than a high-end luxury cruiser, which could prove a turn-off to some shoppers.What's New for 2012
For 2012, the Lexus 250h is offered in a new color, Nebula Gray Pearl, which replaces Smoky Granite Mica.Driving It Driving Impressions
Setting itself apart somewhat from other hybrid models, the 2012 Lexus HS 250h offers Normal, Eco and Power driving modes, which allow the driver to adjust the responsiveness of the accelerator and the efficiency of the hybrid system. Don't let the hybrid label fool you – considering its fuel economy, the HS 250h is quite responsive and smooth, if slightly lacking in gusto and a little less than silent in the cabin. The HS sedan also includes several toys that allow the driver to monitor its efficiency, including the Hybrid System Indicator, which shows when the batteries are being charged or depleted, and the Eco light, which illuminates when the car is being driven most efficiently. And while you can't expect a hybrid vehicle to outperform its non-hybrid counterparts, you can expect a reasonable ride and driving experience from the 2012 Lexus HS 250h.Favorite Features
The 2012 Lexus HS 250h features the option of Lexus' Intuitive Remote Touch interface, which allows the driver to control a cursor on the display screen with a conveniently placed mouse-like interface in the center console. The mouse gives touch-based feedback when the cursor is placed over an icon, giving the user control and navigation over the system's functions.
INTELLIGENT HIGH BEAMS
The available Intelligent High-Beam headlights on the 2012 Lexus HS 250h can detect oncoming vehicles or those traveling closely ahead, and will switch from high-beam to low-beam mode until the other vehicle is no longer in range.
Surprisingly roomy and well-appointed, the 2012 HS 250h's interior captures elegance and comfort almost on par with other Lexus vehicles. Creature comforts abound, including a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat. Complementing its earth-friendly hybrid powertrain, parts of the passenger and cargo areas are made out of ecological plastics and other sustainable materials.Exterior
The 2012 HS 250h neutralizes many the Lexus sedan design themes. In the presence of the HS 250h, you'll remember the chrome-accented grille and modern-looking headlights. The aero-styled shape does its best to improve the car's fuel economy. To emphasize the Lexus hybrid technology, blue highlights are added to the front and rear Lexus logos and a badge designating the HS 250h's hybrid origins is incorporated into the side moldings of the rear doors.Notable Standard Equipment
The standard equipment list for the 2012 Lexus HS 250h is extensive and stylish. It includes 17-inch aluminum wheels, LED brake lights and taillights, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and upholstery, SmartAccess keyless entry and push-button starting, dual-zone automatic climate control, and rear air-conditioning vents. The 10-speaker audio system features a 6-disc CD changer, a USB port, MP3, iPod, auxiliary audio input and Bluetooth audio streaming.Notable Optional Equipment
Opting up to the Premium version of the 2012 HS 250h adds 18-inch alloy wheels, driver's-seat memory, heated and ventilated front seats, upgraded leather-trimmed seating and a wood-trimmed interior, plus auto-dimming side-view mirrors with memory and tilt-down, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. There are several standalone options, including a Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound System, a rear spoiler, a wide-view front monitor and backup camera, front and rear parking sensors, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, a voice-activated navigation system, and a pre-collision warning system.Under the Hood
The 2012 HS 250h features a combination of a gasoline engine, a high-voltage battery, and an electric motor. Working together, this trio delivers 187 horsepower with a 0-to-60-mph acceleration time of 8.4 seconds, according to Lexus. When the HS 250h is stopped or moving slowly, the engine will shut down and run on battery power to conserve fuel. The hybrid system uses an Electronically-Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission to find the most efficiency.
2.4-liter inline-4 (plus hybrid drive motor)
147 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (187 hp total hybrid system)
138 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 35/34 mpg
A standard model 2012 Lexus HS 250h starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $38,000, while its upgraded Premium trim will be over $40,000. Add some more to the bill for any more of the optional deluxe features, though, and you'll quickly find yourself approaching $50,000. Considering those prices, the less luxurious (but also less-expensive) Lincoln MKZ hybrid might be worth a second look. And while the Lexus brand has traditionally strong resale values, the HS 250h is one of the weaker-performing Lexus models out there. To get the best deal locally, be sure to take a look at the New Car Blue Book Value to see what consumers are currently paying for the HS 250h.