2010 Lexus HS 250hEnlarge Photo
The Prius comparisons are inevitable, and as such the HS 250h’s standard feature set is a little less techy than you might think and more luxury, security, and image-oriented instead. That includes LED brake and taillights, water-repellent front door glass, SmartAccess keyless entry, Bluetooth calling features, power seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, steering-wheel audio controls, footwell illumination, a garage door opener, and a ten-speaker sound system with CD changer, MP3, aux input, and Bluetooth audio streaming. Then there’s safety: The little HS 250h will come with TEN (not seven) airbags, including seat-mounted side airbags for all four outboard passengers, side-curtain bags that cover front and back, and knee airbags for both front occupants. Front-seat occupants also get active headrests. Electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist are also included, and then there’s a one-year subscription to the suite of Safety Connect features, covered in our post yesterday.
The options list is lumped into several large packages but includes a Premium model with leather ventilated seats, memory side mirrors with reverse tiltdown, wood trim, and larger 18-inch alloys. The navigation system is grouped with a backup camera, the Remote Touch controller, the Enform suite of infotainment services (see earlier post), and NAV Bluetooth, which will download addresses from a personal device. Adaptive Front-lighting (AFS) and Intelligent High-Beam, and upgraded 330-watt Mark Levinson sound with DVD audio/video, are other items definitely not offered on the Prius.
It comes down to priorities. If the tech gizmos and fuel-efficiency are what matter most, and you’re on a budget, the 2010 Toyota Prius will probably make you happiest, but if you want more of a true luxury feel, a more confident feel on the road, and the Lexus badge, go for that HS 250h.
How should the HS 250h be priced? Is $35k too high, or is it worth the price of entry for the Lexus brand? And is the HS too compromised as both a hybrid and as a luxury car, or does it strike just the right balance for affluent Prius owners who could have spent more? We're still mulling over the answers; let us know what you think!