2010 Lexus HS 250h

2010 Lexus HS 250h

Last summer, when we first drove the 2010 Lexus HS 250h luxury hybrid--and then did a full test drive--we were quite puzzled by it.

Neither as fuel efficient as a hybrid nor as elegant and refined as other Lexus models, it seemed neither fish nor fowl. And in the end, while we appreciated its virtues, we weren't sure it particularly made sense as a Lexus line extension.

Well, it seems like the U.S. market agrees with us. While Lexus had expected to sell 20,000 or more HS models a year--down from projections of 30,000 before the recession--Ward's Auto now reports that the total may be considerably lower than that.

Demand in Japan has been high for the car, so high in fact that  early reports suggested U.S. supplies of the car might be affected. But Ward's projects U.S. sales of less than 14,000 units.

Part of the problem may be that upper-end models of the 2010 Toyota Prius not only offer a higher level of luxury equipment than on any previous Prius, but also get considerably higher gas mileage: 51 mpg city, 48 mpg highway versus 35 mpg city, 34 mpg highway for the HS.

The situation could change if fuel prices rise again, but so far this spring, increases have been moderate.

You can check out a full review of the 2010 Lexus HS 250h on our sister site TheCarConnection.com.

[Ward's Auto via Motor Authority]