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2010 Lexus HS 250h Preview

2010 Lexus HS 250h Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2009

Critical Knowledge:
  • First dedicated Lexus hybrid model
  • Most fuel-efficient model in the brand's lineup
  • Uses plant-based, carbon-neutral "Ecological Plastics"
  • Features the latest generation of Lexus Hybrid Drive propulsion system
  • Exhaust heat recovery system for better efficiency
  • Standard Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system and optional Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
  • Available Lexus Hard Disk Drive (HDD) navigation system
  • Optional Lexus Enform and Safety Connect technology
  • Windshield features infrared-ray (IR) reduction properties
  • Claimed 0.27 drag coefficient (Cd)
  • Available wide-view front monitor
  • Can operate on 87-octane regular unleaded fuel
  • Arrives in U.S. dealerships in late summer of 2009
Introduction
Announced at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the 2010 Lexus HS 250h is an all-new hybrid car model from Toyota's luxury brand. Lexus touts the new HS 250h as the "world's first and only dedicated luxury hybrid vehicle, an unprecedented blend of advanced technology and sustainable materials unrivaled in any other production vehicle," according to the company. Packed with state-of-the-art vehicle technologies and featuring carbon-neutral "Ecological Plastic" materials, the new HS promises to be a rolling showcase of the latest advancements in Lexus design and engineering.

The new 2010 Lexus HS 250h, the brand's fourth hybrid model and the most fuel-efficient according to the company, will use the latest Lexus Hybrid Drive system, featuring a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine coupled to an electric motor (total output will be 187 horsepower). The new HS will slot between the entry-level IS 250 sport sedan and the brand's top-selling ES 350 luxury sedan. The new HS is scheduled to be in U.S. dealer showrooms in late summer/early fall of 2009.

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Ecological Design
When creating the new HS 250h, Lexus designers and engineers made a conscious effort to incorporate the latest vehicle technologies in their design, and to do so in an environmentally responsible manner. As a result, the new 2010 Lexus HS 250h makes use of plant-based, carbon-neutral "Ecological Plastics," or bio-plastics, in specific interior areas-the first Lexus model to incorporate the leading-edge material into the vehicle's design, according to the company.

Ecological Plastic emits less carbon dioxide during a product's lifecycle than plastic made solely from petroleum, the company claims. Lexus says the environmentally friendly plastic will be used in the luggage-trim upholstery (an industry-first, according to the company), cowl-side trim, door scuff plates, tool box area, floor-finish plate, seat cushions, and the package tray behind the rear seats. Overall, approximately 30 percent of the interior and cargo area is covered with Ecological Plastic. Over the estimated lifecycle of the vehicle, the HS 250h will produce approximately 20-percent fewer carbon-dioxide emissions as a result of utilizing the Ecological Plastic trim pieces, the company claims. Additionally, the HS 250h incorporates the very latest in sustainable materials, including more recycled content than likely found in any other production vehicle.


Interior and Exterior Design
The all-new HS 250h sedan's 0.27 drag coefficient (Cd) makes it among the most aerodynamic in its class, according to Lexus. Airflow management over the exterior, under the vehicle, and through the air passages was extensively examined. For example, a unique gull-wing-shaped roof-panel design reduces mass and overall vehicle height, thus reducing drag and improving fuel efficiency, the company says. The front spoiler, rear spoiler, rear under spoiler, and diffuser fins all reduce turbulence, and Lexus claims that the HS 250h's smooth A-pillar shape and the optimized angle and curvature of the bumper side panels also reduce wake turbulence. Furthermore, the under-floor covers have been optimally positioned for reduced drag, while airflow restriction in the engine compartment has been lowered by optimizing the air-duct profiles around the radiator. Aerodynamic design has also contributed to decreased wind noise, the company says.


Model Lineup
Although a complete list of standard and optional features has not been announced, Lexus has said the new HS 250h will come with leather seats, a moonroof, premium audio systems, and a new standard multi-media package. Media features will include Bluetooth technology, integrated satellite radio, voice recognition technology, and USB iPod connectivity controlled via steering-wheel controls or a display screen. A high-contrast multi-information display, located in the instrument panel's hybrid system indicator gauge, is manipulated via steering-wheel-mounted controls, allowing the driver to easily control various functions and information, according to Lexus.


Hardware
The new HS 250h will be equipped with the latest generation of the Lexus Hybrid Drive System. The Atkinson-Cycle propulsion system mates a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder gasoline engine (the first 4-cylinder for a Lexus vehicle) to an electric motor. Total output is 187 horsepower.

Among the technologies adopted in the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine are cooling piston oil jets; an optimized balance shaft rate for improved noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics; and a hot-air venting system mounted behind the radiator. The highly efficient engine features Lexus' variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) system. According to Lexus, the HS 250h sedan's expected fuel efficiency will be more than 30-percent better than the most fuel-efficient model currently in the brand's lineup, and will earn the model a SULEV emissions rating. Better yet, the HS can run on regular 87-octane gasoline. According to Lexus, shifts between the gasoline engine and the electric motor will be virtually imperceptible to the driver.

According to Lexus, the MacPherson strut front suspension is designed to achieve both straight-line and braking control, and a positive steering feel. A double-wishbone rear suspension provides excellent maneuverability, control and comfort with a low spring mount that contributes to better packaging and superior cargo space, the company claims. Coil springs, anti-roll bars and shock-absorber rebound springs are utilized front and rear. The HS 250h will have uniquely designed standard 17- and optional 18-inch wheels.


Safety
The all-new 2010 Lexus HS 250h will feature the latest in vehicle safety technologies. An available wide-view front monitor will help the driver to check hard-to-see areas. Using a camera mounted in the grille, the monitor provides a 190-degree front view on the navigation screen with the push of a button on the steering wheel. Also helping to reduce driver eye movement is an optional Heads-up Display (HUD). The HUD uses high-intensity LEDs to make the display bright enough to be read even in direct sunlight, the company claims.

No fewer than 10 air bags will be standard on the 2010 Lexus HS 250h. The new model will also feature active front headrests, which help passengers in case of certain types of rear-end accidents. The HS also will feature Lexus' Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system and optional Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.


Technology
As indicated, the 2010 Lexus HS 250h features a comprehensive list of state-of-the art vehicle technologies. Among them, a new exhaust heat recovery system, designed to improve overall efficiency. The system works by reducing engine warm-up time, thus allowing it to engage idle-stop mode earlier, more often, and for longer periods, Lexus says. Also, a windshield with infrared-ray (IR) reduction properties, which helps keep the interior cooler, has been adopted in order to decrease the amount of air conditioning needed to lower the cabin temperature. In addition to the exhaust heat recovery system and the IR windshield, available power-saving LED headlamps also contribute to improved fuel efficiency and emissions, the automaker says.

Also available is Lexus' new Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Navigation System, which features a retractable navigation screen located in an optimal position-up front in the dash. According to Lexus, the positioning helps improve visibility and reduce driver eye movement. Similar to the new RX, the HS 250h's system features the all-new "Remote Touch" controller that is both intuitive and ergonomic and allows for easy use of the navigation system. The controller is positioned on the center console and falls naturally to the driver's hand, like a computer mouse, the company claims. The navigation system also includes a new casual-speech voice recognition feature. This allows drivers to give more flexible, conversational commands for easier access and control of the audio, climate and navigation functions. Also included are XM NavTraffic and NavWeather, along with XM sports and stock information.

The HS 250h will also offer Lexus' next-generation telematics systems, Lexus Enform and Safety Connect. Safety Connect will provide automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, and 24/7 emergency and roadside assistance. Lexus Enform's Destination Assist features operators who will help drivers look up points of interest such as shopping centers or other business locations like Zagat-rated restaurants, and then wirelessly send directions directly to the vehicle's navigation system. Lexus Enform's eDestination service will allow customers to pull up multiple points of interest on any computer and send them directly to the car's navigation system. This innovative new feature will allow drivers to send a total of 200 destinations at a time to their vehicles.

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