[ Background music ] >> Sometimes it seems like the world's just lousy with Prius's so its no wonder the Lexus division wanted one of their own and here it is, the hybrid only HS250H. Based on the Prius but a very different animal. You can tell because it costs almost twice as much as burns a whole lot more gas but it does have some cool tech. Let's check it out. ^M00:00:20 [ Music ] ^M00:00:25 >> While the HS 250H is based on the Prius it's a different car, the dimensions are different and right away you can spot that it doesn't have that hunch back look and does have a trunk. Now the fun begins with a pop up LCD is the cabin. Here you've got the completely new Lexus remote touch interface. That interface on screen and this controller down here in the console. It's kind of a fingertip palm thing and it has haptic feedbacks so as you bump around for example on these tiles you feel it. When you want to enter something you've got enter buttons on either side of this palm sized controller right here. Now of course the position of the screen and the fact that you've got this nifty controller tells you it's not a touch screen, it wouldn't be there if it was. The map quality is really good, you've got large clear buttons along the bottom here. Doesn't mean that it's the most intuitive though. You're gonna have to get used to this combination of controller and onscreen icons and it's a pretty speedy system in terms of getting things entered because it's hard drive based. I've got to say when it's down to really small fine resolution moves like this I find this remote touch controller a little less than optimal. It's a little touchy you know you push it to go to the next letter and then you jump over 2 letter sometimes. Your sources for this guy are relatively advanced but not all the latest stuff AM/FM, no HD radio, your satellite radio choice on Lexus is XM. We have an upgraded head unit which gets a CD and DVD 6-disk in dash changer with 7.1 surround sound. It's Levonson [assumed spelling] gear. If you connect a USB drive down here you're going to get the USB menu to wake up and read out of track and folder that sort of thing including final name along side track and artist is really quite good. You've also got a standard analog aux jack down here and this rig can be used to connect your iPod. You do have live traffic on this guy because you've got the XM system, that's where they're getting it, an XM nav traffic. And we've got a rear view camera here for backing up of course that happens when you've got the nav system which is optional in this car, without that no back up camera obviously. As much as this entire car is based on the Prius platform so is the power plant but it's a little different. Its hybrid synergy drive which means you can run on gas engine, electric or a combination of the both just like a Prius and it will run ED mode at low speeds around town for decent distances you know part of a mile. What's different here is placement 2.4 liter versus 1.8 liter on the gas engine side. This car has more power. The downside is it has lower gas mileage 35/34 are the numbers where the Prius of course currently gets up around 50 so you're paying for the additional weight, luxury and performance of this car in reduced fuel efficiency. The HS can be had with a head up display that shows speed, nav arrows, some audio information and even images of the steering wheel buttons on the windshield so you can feel your way to them. There's optional lane departure warning technology as well that can also nudge the steering rack to keep the car in its lane. Perhaps most intriguing is the driver attention monitor, an infrared camera of sorts that monitors the direction of the drivers face and if it senses the driver is not facing forward and the car is about to run into something, it can go nuts with a warning tone and a flashing light to say hey, look where you're going. On the road this car has power delivery similar to a generation 3 Prius, just a bit more of it but not dramatically so. 0-60 is about a 8 1/2 second jump and like the gen 3 Prius I found the HS kind of hard to keep steady at a fixed speed. Something in there tends to pulse and surge. Like the Prius, putting the HS in power mode improves mid range throttle response and eco mode goes the other way making the throttle a little more numb and it runs the AC system more judiciously and of course EV mode makes the car run in pure electric the most often. The driving experience is noticeably more plush than a Prius as you might expect and certainly quiet enough to appreciate the generally good Levonson audio rate. In sum the HS doesn't feel like a rebadged Prius with some nicer leather, it's a different feeling kind of car. That wide angle front camera can be set to come on automatically when you come to a stop in traffic and then to stay on until you get oh about 3 or 4 miles a hour and overall the remote touch interface system is intuitive and easy to figure out though I do miss having a plain old back button on the controller itself. An HS 250H premium trim starts just shy of 38 but to do it up CNET style you gotta add about another 7 grand, since all the tech like nav, Levonson, the cameras, radar cruise and that lane departure technology is lumped into a couple of chunky packages. It's a lot to spend on a hybrid with MPG numbers that aren't exactly eye popping but for many luxury car buyers a Prius was just never in the cards.
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