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It’s important to estimate the vehicle’s cost of ownership before you purchase a new compact luxury hybrid like the Lexus HS. Although hybrids like the HS do help owners save on fuel costs, there are lots of hidden costs associated with vehicle ownership like repair and maintenance, financing and car insurance. By comparing not just the sticker price of similar vehicles, but also the total cost of ownership, you can get a better idea of where the best value truly lies. You can get individualized car insurance quotes by typing your zip code into the box on this page, but first, read on to learn about how the Lexus HS ranks compared to other luxury hybrid cars.
Key Facts About the Lexus HS
The Lexus HS was introduced to the Lexus lineup in 2009 to fill the gap between the larger Lexus ES and the slightly smaller Lexus IS. This 4-door luxury hybrid is the only front-wheel drive in the Lexus lineup, and Lexus says the “HS” stands for “Harmonious Sedan.”
Lexus certainly tried to achieve harmony with this vehicle by pleasing everyone, but reviewers like U.S. News and World Report suggest that it ultimately ends up pleasing no one. While sales were brisk in Japan, U.S. sales never quite took off, and they hit a slump in early 2010 when the Lexus HS was recalled due to braking problems. The vehicle is currently ranked 21st out of 21 upscale midsize cars and 3rd out of 3 luxury hybrid cars by U.S. News and World Report.
Lexus HS Performance and Fuel Economy
When it’s pitted against comparable luxury hybrids like the 2011 Lexus CT200h and the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, the Lexus HS’ fuel economy is not competitive at 35 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. With a starting MSRP of $28,334, the Lexus HS is a bit more affordable than the #2-ranked Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, but the CT200h is about $4,000 cheaper.
Both Motor Trend and Road and Track give the Lexus HS high marks for handling and power in everyday driving, but Motor Trend says the Lexus HS’ ride is far from exciting, and it just doesn’t compete with sport sedans in terms of acceleration. According to U.S. News and World Report, the Lexus HS shares a powertrain with the Toyota Camry Hybrid. Its twin electric motors combine with a 2.4 liter, 4-cylinder engine to deliver up to 187 horsepower. Drivers can select the amount of power they want by choosing one of three modes: Power, Eco and EV (all-electric).
Lexus HS Interior and Exterior Styling
Although reviewers have no particular gripes about the exterior styling of the Lexus HS, they do not find it particularly distinctive, either. U.S. News and World Report goes so far as to call it “nondescript.” The car’s interior is distinctly more luxurious than the typical hybrid, according to Hybridcars.com, but Road and Track points out that it is not up to Lexus’ usual standards. Plant-based plastics make for a slightly less refined interior, and thinner seats and less insulation from outside and engine noise contribute to the vehicle’s fuel economy.
Lexus HS Technology
The Lexus HS’ control system wins points from reviewers for being more intuitive than Mercedes’ COMAND system and BMW’s iDrive system. It can be operated by either voice command or a mouse-type device, and Lexus also offers drivers the option of upgrading to a “heads-up” display that can be operated without looking down. Other available options on the Lexus HS include the following:
- Mark Levinson surround-sound sound system
- Heated, ventilated front seats
- Bluetooth and MP3 connectivity
- XM Satellite Radio
- HDD GPS Navigation System
- All-electric climate control
Lexus HS Safety Features and Ratings
Safety features that come standard on the Lexus HS include active head restraints and ten airbags. Most luxury vehicles have just six airbags, but the Lexus HS is equipped with additional side-knee airbags to help increase the effectiveness of seatbelts in the event of a crash. Optional safety features on the Lexus HS include Lexus Enform with Safety Connect, which automatically contacts emergency responders when it senses a crash. Lane Assist and Pre-Collision System technologies are also available to help prevent and lessen the severity of crashes.
Neither the federal government nor the insurance industry’s ratings organization has crash-tested the 2011 Lexus HS yet, but the similar 2010 model earned strong ratings from both. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2010 Lexus HS a “Good” rating for front- and side-impact crashes, while the federal government gave the vehicle five out of five stars in these tests. In rollover tests, the federal government gave the Lexus HS four stars, and the IIHS gave it a rating of “Acceptable.” The vehicle’s scores were weaker in rear-impact testing, though. The IIHS rated it “Marginal” in this category.
Car Insurance Rates for the Lexus HS
Despite the lower fuel economy provided by its hybrid powertrain, the Lexus HS still has a relatively high cost of ownership. According to Edmunds, the average Lexus HS owner will spend over $32,000 on repairs, maintenance, fuel costs, financing, taxes and car insurance during the first five years the car is on the road. The car also depreciates by just over $20,000 for a total five-year cost of ownership that tops $52,000.
Car insurance for the Lexus HS costs the average owner slightly more than $8,000 for the first five years. This averages out to around $1,600 per year, or $133 per month. It’s important to remember, though, that car insurance rates depend on both the characteristics of the car and the owner, so enter your zip code in the box for personalized rates.