Just because The Cold War is over doesn't mean that all cold wars have come to an end. Two protagonists in the auto industry – once again, East vs. West – are currently embroiled in an in-car safety and technology arms race that is beginning to look more like NASA vs. Roskosmos than a battle between luxury sedans. The latest master weapon comes from Lexus in the form of its HS 250h hybrid, claimed to be not only the world's first hybrid-only luxury sedan, but also the most fuel-friendly luxury vehicle extant. If Lexus has it, they put it on this car. Our question was: Would we want to put one in our driveway? Follow the jump to find out.
Frugal hybrids are here, sports car hybrids are here, and luxury hybrids are dipping wheels in the waters. This car marks the first luxury-only hybrid to make its acquaintance with the public. During the launch, Lexus was at pains to make sure we did not confuse this car with the Prius, informing us that the HS' closest sibling is the Euro-market Toyota Avensis. Fitting in between the IS and ES and GS in brand placement, the HS 250h "was developed as an answer to customers looking for an environmentally conscious premium vehicle."
What about the GS 450h and LS 600h? In addition to the HS 250h being hybrid-only, it's the first Lexus hybrid tuned with the primary goal of delivering superior economy. While Lexus' GS and LS hybrids are meant to provide power above their weight class with the same fuel efficiency, the HS is meant to provide economy with a decent dollop of power.