Lexus’ new 2013 ES 300h will be arriving at dealerships this August but Toyota has confirmed that this won’t be a "replacement" for the poor-selling Lexus HS 250h hybrid, which was discontinued in January 2012. In response to Inside Line’s query, Lexus said that it is continuing to monitor product sales and making adjustments to ensure that the company meets the demands of the market.
Lexus clarified that ending the HS’s run was a part of that adjustment and that the HS isn’t being replaced with the ES 300h. Lexus explained that this move is simply one aspect of the hybridization of many of its current vehicles in the Toyota and Lexus lineups. Sales of the Lexus HS 250h fell 73% in 2011 to just 2,864 units.
In comparison, it sold 10,663 units in 2010. The 2012 HS 250h has a starting price of $37,905 (inclusive of shipping costs). Pricing of the 2013 ES 300h has yet to be unveiled. The HS 250h was powered by a 147hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor. Powering the new ES 300h is a slightly bigger 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. However, it is likely to offer better EPA fuel-economy figures than the HS 250h.
Introduced at the 2009 North American International Auto Show, Lexus HS 250h is the first luxury full hybrid car. This is the brand’s fourth hybrid, and it has the best fuel economy among them. It is also the first Lexus to use carbon-neutral environmental plastic in a new ultramodern cockpit and interior.
A welcome newcomer to Lexus' entry-level luxury sedans, the Lexus HS 250h is perfectly slotted between the IS luxury sport sedan and the ES luxury sedan. Studies reveal that over 60% of those first entering the luxury car market would prefer a hybrid option, so the HS will meet this need.
Its 2.4-litre Atkinson-cycle engine, Lexus' first four-cylinder and part of the newest Lexus Hybrid Drive System, creates 187 total horsepower. The Atkinson-cycle engine is very efficient because of its variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) system, allowing a longer expansion and power stroke than the compression stroke for more effective use of the combustion energy to power it.
The HS 250h’s fuel efficiency should be at least 30% better than the most fuel-efficient Lexus now, with an SULEV emissions rating using regular 87-octane gas. The 2.4-litre four-cylinder’s technologies include cooling piston oil jets; a maximised balance shaft rate for better noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) traits; and a hot-air ventilation system behind the radiator.