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2012 Lexus HS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Lexus HS was new.


Performance: 7.5

Most upscale midsize cars, including upscale hybrids, place performance above fuel economy. According to reviewers, the 2012 Lexus HS does the opposite and doesn’t do that great of a job. They say fuel economy for the HS is average, when it should be excellent. Auto critics suggest that if fuel economy is a true priority for you, check out the Toyota Prius, which gets significantly better fuel economy. Overall, the Lexus HS offers decent power and compliant handling. Critics say its regenerative brakes are touchy, but once you get used to them, are hardly noticeable.  

  • "The hybrid system, which should be its trump card, delivers what we consider mediocre fuel economy. Toyota's own Prius offers far superior mileage and can be equipped nearly as lavishly, all for much less money." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Employing our best hypermiling techniques in eco mode for many miles, we eked the HS250 to over 42 mpg-although we assure you we made few friends among our fellow drivers along the way." -- Car and Driver
  • "How to describe the HS driving experience? ‘Efficient’? Yes. ‘Soothing’? Maybe. ‘Luxurious’? Mostly. ‘Exciting’? No. It's just not the car's mission." -- Motor Trend

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 Lexus HS combines a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine with a pair of electric motors for a total output of 187 horsepower. The EPA says the 2012 Lexus HS will get 35/34 mpg city/highway.

Reviewers say that since the purpose of the Lexus HS is to conserve fuel, it won’t throw you back in your seat when you punch the gas pedal. It’s a hybrid, not a performance car. They note that it hesitates from a stop, but this is typical of hybrids, whose engines shut off to conserve fuel and have to start up again, causing a lag. Once up to speed, the HS is adequately powered in city driving, but struggles a bit on the interstate. Test drivers like that the transition between the gas and electric power is seamless.

  • "Power is fine for normal driving, though highway merging and passing muscle is limited. Transitions when the gas engine and electric motor turn on and off are not obtrusive but are no smoother than Toyota's own Prius." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Transitions between gasoline and electric propulsion are seamless and smooth, though throttle response is a bit leisurely." -- Edmunds
  • "The HS never feels slow, not even in Eco mode, which was our favorite and coincidentally the slowest driving mode possible." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

Reviewers think the handling of the 2012 Lexus HS is good for daily commuting. They say the HS is well-controlled and its regenerative brakes are sensitive, but once you get used to them, the grabbiness isn’t as noticeable. Test drivers mention that the HS’ electric power steering is accurate and light, but a little lifeless at times.

  • "Potholes and bumps in the road are soaked up by the compliant suspension, which is also pleasantly composed when taking curves. Behind the wheel, this Lexus feels lighter than it really is, cornering flat with crisp turn-in. The electric power steering is precise, but lacks feedback. Initially, some drivers may find the brakes overly touchy, but that impression fades as they quickly acclimate." -- Edmunds
  • "Body lean is well controlled in fast turns. Steering feels somewhat dead and slow on-center and lacks road feel, but is light for good low-speed maneuverability." -- Consumer Guide
  • "After driving it in the hills surrounding Los Angeles, the handling gets a thumbs-up from us. If you get the Touring Package, the suspension is tuned for even sportier handling. And if the truth be known, the package added up to a car that we thought handled better than the rear-drive IS Convertible." -- Autoblog

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