The Lexus HS250h is essentially an upscale Prius.  It carries numerous components that are similar to those found in the Prius, but it does carry one additional detail not found on the Prius, the Lexus name.  Lexus, a make that is synonymous with luxury, coddling the driver, and offering an isolated, serene driving experience has failed to hold true to its high standards with the new Lexus HS250.  It's not that the vehicle is a total disappointment just that is doesn't live up to the Lexus nameplate and doesn't do enough to justify its price increase over the Toyota Prius.

Consumer Reports recently published a full review of the 2010 Lexus HS250h and some aspects of the review are provided below.

Though the Lexus HS does manage to return 31 mpg overall, the numbers are simply not up to the competitor's standard.  The Ford Fusion Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, and Prius all post better mpgs.   Gas mileage aside, this Lexus has a jittery ride and a cabin that allows high amounts of wind noise for a Lexus.  The steering is vague and lacks feedback while the high stance of the vehicle contributes to a feeling of insecurity around sharp turns.  Inside, the HS is full of Lexus touches, but its narrow cabin, odd center console design, and obstructed outward visibility detracts from the driving experience.

Enough of the pitfalls, Consumer Reports did find a few words of praise for the Lexus.  Of course, fuel economy is strong for a car of this size and it does have the Lexus fit and finish that cannot be found on a Prius.  The engine is fairly responsive providing better acceleration than a Prius and the interior controls are easy to access and well laid out.

Is the Lexus HS 250h better than a Prius?  It depends on what you want out of your car.  A Prius returns nearly 20 mpg more than the Lexus and does so at a price of $15,000 less.  However, the Prius lacks the Lexus fit and finish and interior materials. If you have to have a hybrid with the Lexus badge, the HS is a solid choice, however the Prius delivers more benefits that hybrid drivers seek for a fraction of the price.

Consumer Reports concludes, "Though pleasant overall, the HS doesn't have the refinement, quietness and ride comfort we associate with the Lexus brand.  The cabin is narrow and handling is unexciting."  The magazine does list the Lexus HS250h as a "Recommended" product.

Source:  Consumer Reports Print Edition February 2010