2010 Lexus HS 250h
2010 Lexus HS 250h. Click image to enlarge

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Long term test: 2010 Lexus HS 250h, Part one

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2010 Lexus HS 250h

Winnipeg, Manitoba – I’m now half way – and more than 1,500 kilometres – into my winter test of the newest hybrid sedan from Lexus.

The reason I have a Lexus HS 250h in my driveway for the season is to find out how Toyota’s hybrid technology fares in our extreme Prairie winter conditions. I know, I know: it’s a dirty job, but…

Now, I don’t know if Toyota has an “in” with Mother Nature, but it just so happens that during two weeks in January, Winnipeg experienced daily temperatures right around the freezing mark. While this would be (and was) bad news in Orlando, we quite enjoyed it up here.
The other half of January was much colder, so I did have a good chance to evaluate this hybrid’s performance in what we would consider to be normal winter conditions.

Fuel consumption in the Lexus HS 250h is officially rated at 5.6 L/100 km in the city and 5.9 on the highway. The lower consumption in the city is a common trait of hybrid vehicles because at lower speeds and in stop-and-go traffic – where the power boost and propulsion provided by the battery-powered electric motor is most effective – is where hybrid systems thrive.

2010 Lexus HS 250h
2010 Lexus HS 250h. Click image to enlarge

The official fuel consumption numbers are achieved by following federal test procedures on a vehicle that has been placed in a laboratory on a chassis dynamometer. While these are hardly real-world conditions, they allow the figures generated to be compared directly from vehicle to vehicle without needing to consider the countless variables that come into play out on the road. Things like weather, road conditions, and driving style top that list of variables.

Now, let’s step out into the real world and see how the HS did with yours truly behind the wheel. But first, full disclosure: no matter what I drive, I hardly ever achieve the fuel consumption figures published for a given vehicle. Part of that is my driving style, of course, but another culprit is the design of our road systems in Winnipeg – a design that discourages free traffic flow and instead accepts constant stop-and-go as a fact of life. I beg to differ, but that’s an argument for another time.

Even so, I’ve found that the fuel consumption numbers I generate during test drives of hybrid vehicles stray to a higher degree from their published figures in comparison to gas-powered vehicles.

And now, the results:

I started by driving the car in “Econo” mode; a setting the retards throttle response and reduces the performance of the climate control system in the interest of saving fuel. Most nights I kept the car in my attached garage, which is up to 10 degrees warmer than it is outside, but I did leave the car parked outside on a few cold nights. I also park in a heated underground garage during the day, which is kept consistently above freezing.

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