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Test Driving Hs Tomorrow

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I'll be test driving the new HS (as well as the IS convertible) at a Lexus event in Newport Beach tomorrow. I'll try to post impressions / pics (if they let me take pics) tomorrow. Looking forward to driving both cars......

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OK – so I’ll start by saying that I’ve never driven a hybrid before. So I went into this with really nothing to compare to and not quite knowing what to expect. But I think I can sum up the overall driving experience as “underwhelmed.” Perhaps it’s because I had just finished driving the IS convertible (which I liked very much), or maybe I was expecting too much out of a luxury hybrid. I’ll try to post pictures once I figure out how to do that, but I’ll give you both the pluses and minuses as I see it – just my 2 cents.

The appearance of the vehicle from the outside is “nice” – nothing more, nothing less. Some of the people there loved the looks, some didn’t – I could live with it. The car will come in three models – base, touring, and premium. All the same engine, they differ by options and leather – mine, the touring, had a nice 2-tone leather. Seats were comfortable. Size, I would estimate, between the ES and IS, but closer to the ES. Could easily get 2 adults in the back and briefly get three in there. I was not so impressed with the front cabin. The center console I thought was far too intrusive in between the driver and passenger (sorry, no pics of that – I was kind of rushed in and out since others were waiting). A screen pops up in the center when you start the car. There’s a dial (similar to BMW) to control the screen, different settings, etc. You can get a ton of info (maybe too much??), including minute by minute summaries of MPG and power output (electric, gas, or combo) so you can get a sense of how you’re driving.

So let’s start driving. Push button start simply turns the electricity on and powers up everything. The gas engine kicks in about 20 seconds later. When the gas engine did start up, it was rough (even the Lexus guy mentioned how rough it was) – it seemed to stutter quite a bit while just in idle. Not impressed at all by that. He of course stated that it’s never done that, but even if that’s true, it made me wonder why it was idling like that. They “joystick” to move it into drive or reverse, I thought was a little too small. I suppose maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but I think that a lever that puts a car in gear should look like it belongs to an automobile rather than a PlayStation. The car did drive well below 30 MPH. Unfortunately, over 30, it really drove like a 4 cylinder (and a weak one at that). The road that we test drove had a bit of an incline to it. The speed limit was 45 and I got it to 45 fine. But when I tried to get it to go from 45 to 55, it didn’t. I had it floored, and was in “power mode” which is the least economical, most powerful of this car’s three drive modes. This really ruined the whole experience. I realize that this is Lexus’s first attempt at using a hybrid engine for the benefit of MPG rather than power, but I really would like to know that I have the power to merge on the freeway, get out of someone’s way, or just kick it up a notch every now and then. This car simply can’t do any of that. The ride was very smooth, but so were the roads. I’d be curious how this holds up on the infamous Southern Cal aged highways.

Now for the big questions – MPG and pricing. I test drove this on the second day of the event, and they stated that after 1 ½ days of different people driving and “pushing” the car, it was getting 33-35 MPG. The rep states he got it in the 40s. Highway was rated in the low 30s. All on 87 octane. So certainly good mileage for a good sized sedan, but again this comes at a huge power expense over 30 MPH. Pricing is still up in the air. Car is due to come out in 3 months, and pricing won’t be set for another several months, but it’s estimated to start in low 30s for the base – add probably another 10K for premium with adaptive cruise control, etc.

Again, I’ll try to post pics later today or tomorrow, although they’re all exterior. Anyway, I hope that this is a good start for Lexus, but I think they still have a lot of work to do. For me it was just a little flat. I do plan on getting a hybrid for my next car – I just don’t think this will be it for me.

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It really does look like a Lexus Prius doesn't it?

Not my thing. I'd much rather have simply had an ES450h or something.

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You know, actually I didn't. I did for the IS-C with the top down (and you can fit a few sheets of paper in there), but I don't think they ever opened the trunk for the HS (they had one car that people weren't test driving where you could sit in the back seat, open, the hood, etc) and IIR they were having trouble opening the trunk (also not a good sign) so not sure how much room the battery takes up.

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I'll take the ES 350 over the HS. I hope with this design, Lexus is not trying to imitate GM, the two tone seats are so Malibu...and not very Lexus like. Let's keep it real Lexus, no need to dip into the American domestic cookie jar..... :o

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This car just isn't doing it for me. Lexus, leave the Prius to the Toyota name and do something innovative! An ESh would be nice...

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I agree. The Prius is a great car for what it is but it's no driver's car. I remember driving it and the Camry hybrid and kind of wishing there wasn't so much drone from the 4 cylinder engine. Especially at anything approaching a decent pace it seems to run much faster than an equivalent non-hybrid engine.

Sounds like your HS might have a couple gremlins; I see Prius (Prii?) charging up the Sepulveda pass all the time. The GS and LS hybrids have plenty of power; but also a much larger gasoline engine.

I wonder if the Atkinson cycle on the engine makes it noisier? It's too bad they can't make it sound like a Honda 4. Maybe they should have used a very small V6? I have to imagine Toyota has a ~2.5l V6 floating around somewhere.

I suppose Lexus birthed the idea for the HS when gas was (at least in CA) approaching $5 a gallon. Lexus claims that the car will appeal to people that think the Prius is a bit too spartan inside. Trouble is that the new Prius appears to be much more luxe than the outgoing model; although no fancy wood or Remote touch...but how much are those features really worth?

Sales for all hybrid cars are in the crapper right now (with the exception of the Prius and the RX). I think I saw on CNET that the GS and LS hybrids sold around 100 copies each Q1 of this year. I guess we'll wait and see if people take to the HS....what a time to launch a luxury hybrid!

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I like the 2 tone seats. They are kind of cool. I agree that the HS is too much like a Prius. Ultimately, I would like to see a LS hybrid in a V6 instead of a V8. I think that would be a nice compromise between power and mpg. An ES hybrid would be cool but the ES drives too much like a Toyota Camery IMO. The only true Lexus is the LS.

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I still can't help but feel like this is a slightly upgraded Camry Hybrid. I own an 09 and it looks very similar in size and somewhat the shape. I want to see it and thought I may be a possible buyer but now I may be more interrested in the RX hybrid even thou I didn't want to spend that much.

Bob

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Not my taste. But somebody might like it...

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I still can't help but feel like this is a slightly upgraded Camry Hybrid. I own an 09 and it looks very similar in size and somewhat the shape. I want to see it and thought I may be a possible buyer but now I may be more interrested in the RX hybrid even thou I didn't want to spend that much.

Bob

Its actually not an upgraded Camry Hybrid at all.

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Found this awsome website, www.autovin.de. Get a super cheap vehicle history report in no time. Easy to use and makes you feel more comfortable knowing you're buying a good "clean" car. Check it out!

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