Tokyo Teaser: Toyota Sai
By KBB.com Editors on October 23, 2009 12:55 PMA lower-cost and modestly restyled variation on the Lexus HS 250h currently on sale here, the new domestic-market-only Toyota Sai is a front-drive near-luxury sedan powered by the same Hybrid Synergy Drive system used in its Lexus-badged cousin. Like the HS 250h, the Sai places the same focused emphasis on high-efficiency operation and environmental friendliness. It's spacious and well-appointed passenger compartment is a consummate study in green think whose various surface-area elements are composed of approximately 60 percent plant-based Ecological Plastic material, which Toyota says represents the most extensive use of that substance in any vehicle it has built to date. In addition, recycled and recyclable materials were used wherever possible to help the Sai step out while leaving the smallest carbon footprint possible. Whether a suitably repackaged version of this hybrid newcomer ever makes it to the U.S. as part of the Toyota lineup or wearing some kind of Prius sub-brand badging remains to be seen, but it does offer some interesting possibilities.