The 2012 Lexus HS 250h is compromised by its low roofline, which clashes with the odd high seats. The high-mounted front seats are slightly short on headroom, and it's worse in the rear. In front, the sharp edge of the center console presses uncomfortably on a driver's leg, and tall drivers will find they can't lower the seat enough to be truly comfortable. In back, the HS suffers in comparison to its Camry relative--and even compared to a compact Corolla--due to the limited headroom. Getting three adults in the rear requires staggering their shoulders, so it's effectively a four-seater for any endurance travel at all. There's plenty of interior storage, though, with a big box in the console and several other bins, cubbies, and trays.
Interior materials are luxurious, despite 30 percent of them being derived from "green" plant sources, but the impression is more of an upscale sedan than a true luxury car. It's tight and quiet inside, though, with triple-layered door seals and an acoustic windshield among the many details added to suppress noise and vibration. Unfortunately, the engine noise under hard acceleration is far more obtrusive than you'd expect from a Lexus. There's no obvious vibration, but the high howl of the specially tuned engine being asked to move this heavy car swiftly isn't a pleasant one. Lexus may have "perfection" in its slogan, but this is far from perfect--or even preferable.
The advantage to the high-tail styling, in addition to better aerodynamics, is that the Lexus HS provides an impressively large trunk. The capacity is officially 12. 1 cubic feet, but it looks and feels larger. It will fit four full golf bags, which is pretty good for what's really a compact car. There's a compromise here, too, though: Because of the battery pack placement, the rear seat doesn't fold down--or offer even a pass-through for skis and the like--so it's the trunk or nothing.
The ride quality is acceptable, but the HS offers neither the pillowy suspension of the Lexus ES 250 nor the flatter, measured sport-sedan handling of the IS series. At times the ride is busy, with lots of vertical motion over rough surfaces, railroad tracks, and the like. Those same rough surfaces also produce an inordinate amount of road noise, more than in any other Lexus--possibly due to harder, low-rolling resistance tired. Then, once the HS enters a corner, it leans over with lots of body roll. Overall, it's simply not up to the caliber of the rest of the Lexus line.