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My Extended Lexus 250 HS Test Drive

Discussion in 'Lexus Hybrids and EVs' started by efusco, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    A few months ago the members of Priuschat as well as friends on FB and Twitter helped me win a contest (a consolation prize anyway) that included a 1 week free extended test drive of a Lexus 250 HS Hybrid. I just picked up the car today and thought I'd start a thread to share my experience, answer questions and check things out as suggested by PC members.

    So far I have only ~26 miles on the car and that's mostly city and ALL cold. It was 30F when I pulled out of the Lexus garage and 23F when I finally started home on the 3rd commute of my short experience with the car. I'm currently at ~35mpg over that 26 miles...not terrible, but I certainly expect to improve on that during the week.

    First Impressions:
    Very "tight" fit and finish. Everything feels a bit more solid than the Prius. Handling feels very sure and refined. Driver's seat is very comfortable. It's very quiet and soothing to drive.

    On the negative side, there's really no feedback on what the ICE is doing, hypermiling has, initially, been a challenge. It's much harder to get the idle check for S4 and much harder to tell when I'm in a glide. EV mode is sort of a joke and it seems there are very few conditions where it will engage compared to the EV mod on my 2004. I think the dash seems cluttered. I'm sure, with time, that one would get used to it, but right now there are still buttons I'm not exactly sure what they do.

    The car I have is a "Premium" package. It has NAV and XM. It has SKS for the power button inside the car, but there's no SKS for the exterior?! You have to use the fob to lock/unlock the car. I do NOT like that. I don't have LKA or dynamic CC.

    My kids find the back seat significantly less roomy than the Prius...I had all 3 back there with my youngest in a middle booster...they had a difficult time getting all 3 secured back there compared to the Prius.

    I could be spoiled by the luxury amenities. The seat/steering wheel memory thing...nice.

    My iPhone music connection kept saying that the "accessory" (the car) was not compatible. Both of the sales creatures that helped me said they'd never seen that problem before and that usually it hooks right up. That said, the Bluetooth paired very easily and intuitively and the entire contents of my contacts list uploaded in a matter of seconds via BT very smoothly.

    I have to program the HomeLink (can't remember how to do it so will need to look that up). I need to play with some of the other features as well.

    I'll miss having an EBH in this cold weather, but I'll do my best to see just what kind of MPG is possible.
     
  2. Rokeby

    Rokeby Member

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    Evan,

    What do the Lexus' readouts look like? Anything like the Gen II or
    Gen III Prius?

    IIRC, don't you have CANVIew in your Prius? Is that transferable to
    the Lexus?

    If not, do you have access to a ScanGauge? I doubt the XGauges
    would work, but some of the generic stuff should be helpful; rpm,
    coolant temp, etc.
     
  3. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    The dash readouts/display are somewhat different, though the MFD display is similar. It uses analog gauges instead of digital. No touch tracer either.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I do have CANView, but it won't work in the Lexus and it involves tapping wires and stuff I don't think the dealer would approve of me doing. I do not have access to a ScanGauge either, unfortunately. I want to buy one, but just don't really need it and my wife doesn't want it in her car. It would be very helpful though.
     
  4. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    Update and corrections...
    I got out in the light of day and found that the car does, indeed, have SKS for the door lock/unlock. There's a very subtle indentation and the front top edge of the door handle that you touch to lock, and a standard sensor inside the handle for unlocking. That's very good news.

    Also, I got some advise from another PC member who's a 250HS owner (he PM'd me privately, so I don't know if he wants it public) who advised just ignoring the warning screens about my iPhone incompatibility. I thought we'd tried that yesterday, but today I got in, plugged up, ignored the screens, hit the AUX button and sure enough, it started playing my music right away!

    I demonstrated the Lexus version of On-Star called Lexus Destination Assist to my kids this morning...they loved it!

    Funny thing, when I took the kids to drop them off at school in the car this morning I pulled far forward along the sidewalk where I drop them off, a bit away from the entrance to allow other cars to pull in behind me...like I always do. The said "Aw, Dad, nobody will see us getting out of the Lexus way up here!" They think it's very cool, if still a bit cramped in the back seat. My wife is yet to have a ride in it.
     
  5. Danny

    Danny Admin/Founder
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    Evan, they've changed from the SKS buttons found on the 2004-2009 Prius to a "sensor" system. It'll look like air vents on the door handle.

    Looking forward to your updates!

    I still have all my notes on my HS 250h drive, but need to write them up.
     
  6. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    This is different than the Prius, it's a single line/divot, I'll try to get a picture.

    I'll just try to keep my notes as a running dialog here.
     
  7. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Nice! So you get the semi-aniline leather. LED headlights??


    I drove both the base (Premium) and Ultra Premium and in Canada, we have a Cdn$9k difference between the two. Our top-spec doesn't have DRCC, LKA, IPA, PCS or WideView. Grrr....

    Anyway, yeah I agree that it's hard to tell on the HS. They've really isolated the system from the occupants. In addition, I found that the power delivery in PWR mode is a lot smoother than in the Prius. I akin the HS' PWR Mode to a Roll-Royce - a smooth powerful surge. I akin the Prius to a Bentley. It kicks you back in the seat, chirps the tyres and "roars" off. Two different beasts.
     
  8. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    Creaping the MPG up a bit, approaching 38mpg, but have some highway driving today that'll probably bring it down a little. The iPhone/iPod connection thing is still very iffy.
     
  9. exbauer

    exbauer Active Member

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    any more updates on your test drive?
     
  10. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    38mpg . . . not too shabby. I think the epa average is 34/35. So you're doing about 10%. Just imagine if it was broken in, the tires were jacked to 50psi, and you had an EBH! You'd REALLY be way above the curve.

    :rockon:

    .
     
  11. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    Woke up an old thread eh! Yea, I'm pretty sure I could keep the average, even in the winter, around 40mpg, and in summer wouldn't be surprised to push 50 with some serious hypermiling. But it's a heavy car with performance prioritized over efficiency. But I don't think the average driver will get much over the EPA numbers in normal driving.
     
  12. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    Good review. I test drove the hs250 before I bought the prius. I came from a lexus gs so tastes are a little different. To me they did not lexus up the hs250 enough. It seemed a little compromised, not as quiet or as powerful as it could be. I think they will get it right in other iterations, especially if they can make the electric side more powerful and make it a plug in. To me the 2010 did a better job with the design compromises. It would be nice if there were aftermarket seats that I could throw in the prius that are as nice as my lexus seats were.