Inside Story: 2010 Lexus HS 250h luxury cars lexus inside story hybrids
Inside Story: 2010 Lexus HS 250h luxury cars lexus inside story hybrids
Inside Story: 2010 Lexus HS 250h luxury cars lexus inside story hybrids
2010 Lexus HS 250h. Click image to enlarge

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Inside Story is a review of interior comfort features, cabin controls, storage options, trunk space and under-hood accessibility based on a seven-day evaluation. For driving impressions, please see our Test Drives section.

Review and photos by Michael Clark

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2010 Lexus HS 250h

Now that is one sexy Corolla.

While its Prius architecture tells a very different hybrid story, it’s hard not to see the familiar design cues of a very vanilla Toyota in the flanks of the HS 250h, the entry-luxury hybrid so nice, they named it twice.

Though Lexus states that 60 per cent of those shopping in the entry-luxo camp want a hybrid option under 40 large, we’re willing to bet that they want it to look good too. Thankfully, the very attractive CT 200h, currently on display at the 2010 New York International Auto Show, should arrive around similar MSRP bread. Until then, you’ll have to settle for the HS 250h, which starts at an MSRP of $39,900.

This week’s IS tester is the Premium Sports Package bump, with an MSRP of $41,400. (Pricing shown does not include freight, taxes, regional or promotional incentives.)

The Cockpit/Centre Stack
Inside Story: 2010 Lexus HS 250h luxury cars lexus inside story hybrids
Inside Story: 2010 Lexus HS 250h luxury cars lexus inside story hybrids
Inside Story: 2010 Lexus HS 250h luxury cars lexus inside story hybrids
Inside Story: 2010 Lexus HS 250h luxury cars lexus inside story hybrids
2010 Lexus HS 250h. Click image to enlarge

The HS 250h’s leather-wrapped three-spoke wheel holds control tabs for audio, Bluetooth phone access, and the ability to modify everything from door locking preference to approach lighting, through an instrument panel display. The instrument panel carries the expected charge/power hybrid sweep, plus CVT gear selection, and the status of ECO and EV (Electric Vehicle) performance, when selected. The drive mode preference switches are found below the vehicle Power-Up push-button. For those keeping score; Power mode is fun, Eco is painful, and EV will cancel itself out at anything beyond drive-thru speeds. The gear selector is Uptown Prius style, leather wrapped, and can be put into Neutral while at speed. Here’s how; move the lever to the left and hold for two seconds; you’re now free-wheeling. (This message presented for the benefit of Toyota/Lexus hybrid phantom acceleration fraidy-cats everywhere.)

HVAC is dual-zone, with top-mount digital temperature and mode display. The audio head unit is a six-CD stacker, with satellite radio capability. We’ve had requests regarding Bluetooth phone voice quality, so who better to ask than The Inside Story Mom! Quote: “You actually sound pretty natural in this car, a lot better than some of the others you’ve had,” un-quote. Thanks, Mom.

To the left of the driver is the control pod for the exterior power heated mirrors, traction control, IP dimmer, and the best electric windshield de-icer experienced to date. Speaking of glass, the HS uses water-repellent side glass, which assists with defroster performance. Headlamps are auto detent-equipped, while the cruise control is the typical corporate Toyota stalk, at the four o’clock wheel position. The driver’s door pod houses auto window lifts for all positions of pane. The exterior mirrors up the safety ante, with LED turn indicators, and underbelly puddle lamps, with approach illumination.

Cubbies!

At the bottom of the centre stack sweep is a rubber bed flip-top cubby, easily accommodating smartphone-sized wireless devices. The locking glove box provides reasonable space, with a shelf for the owner’s manual wallet. Note the trunk opener lock-out switch. The centre console cubby has a coin holder, though no powerpoint or audio ports. Those are kept topside, at the front of the tunnel, with USB and standard audio jack ports. The flip-top dual cupholder employs a removable cincher biscuit, which never seems to get close enough to grab standard coffee cups. The top of the console lid slides for armrest comfort. The rear centre armrest gets a flip-top dual cupholder of good depth, with no cinchers. Strangely absent are rear seatback pockets. Front and rear door panels are bottle holder-equipped.

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