2012 Green Car Buyer’s Guide, Lexus

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2012 Green Car Buyer’s Guide, Lexus

2012 model year highlights from Lexus: the CT 200h and HS 250h.


Compiled by Megan E. Phelps,
John Rockhold,
Hannah Kincaid, Emily Glover,
Bradley Berman and Zach McDonald

See “What the Numbers Mean” in The Ultimate Green Car Buyer’s Guide, 2012 for a full description of the metrics we collected for each model.

Lexus CT 200h

Hybrid, Compact Hatchback

Price Range: $30,000 – $32,600
City/Hwy/Combined MPG: 43/40/42
Annual Fuel Cost: $1,350
Air Pollution Score: 7
Greenhouse Gas Score: 9
ACEEE Green Score and Class Ranking: 51/Superior
Safety Ratings: IIHS Top Safety Pick; N/A
Space: 86.1 cu. ft. p.v./seats 5
Drive Score: 4
Similar Used: 2011

Good to Know:

  • The CT 200h hatch is the first and only luxury hybrid to break 40 mpg in combined fuel economy. It’s the top-seller among five Lexus hybrids.
  • Maximum combined output for the CT 200h’s gas-electric drivetrain is 134 horsepower, which falls behind most competing luxury compacts in performance.
  • As with Toyota hybrids, drivers can switch between four distinct driving modes: normal; eco, which constrains the engine for maximized fuel economy; sport, which provides maximum power and handling; and electric vehicle, which allows the car to operate on battery power alone for short distances.
  • The CT 200h features an expansive, joystick-controlled navigation and infotainment system.
  • It can travel silently on electric power alone at speeds up to 25 mph. Lexus has equipped the CT 200h with a pedestrian warning system, which makes a pitched whirring noise to replace the engine noise that isn’t there.

What the Press Says:

  • “The Lexus CT 200h is a premium hybrid hatchback targeted at younger demographics, with a more sporty character than the Prius.” — Green Car Journal
  • “Positioned as the gateway to the Lexus brand, the CT 200h may just find a sweet spot in the market. Though designed primarily for Europe, its price and performance make it a perfect step up for affluent Prius owners who want a luxury brand more than they want the extra 8 mpg.” — Motor Trend

Lexus HS 250h

Hybrid, Sedan

Price Range:
$37,900 – $40,700
City/Hwy/Combined MPG: 35/34/35
Annual Fuel Cost: $1,600
Air Pollution Score: 7
Greenhouse Gas Score: 8
ACEEE Green Score and Class Ranking: 46/Average
Safety Ratings: N/A
Space: 90.2 cu. ft. p.v./seats 5
Drive Score: 4
Similar Used: 2010, 2011

Good to Know:

  • The HS 250h was first released in 2009 in an attempt by Lexus to balance power and luxury with fuel economy and relative affordability.
  • The sedan’s 2.4-liter engine provides more power than most gas engines used in hybrid systems. As a result, the HS 250h’s fuel economy is nearly 20 percent lower than that of the CT 200h and 30 percent below that of the Prius.
  • The HS 250h may strike a balance between power and fuel economy, but shoppers have been disappointed with both — and underwhelmed by its humdrum appearance. Sales of the HS 250h dropped by 73 percent from 2010 to 2011.
  • Even with a combined gas-electric output of 187 horsepower, the HS’s performance doesn’t feel on par with that of many other luxury sedans.

What the Press Says:

  • “While the idea of an environmentally responsible luxury car may sound like a contradiction, the Lexus HS 250h sets out to show that the two ideas aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. … The result is performance that’s fairly lively, though EPA fuel economy estimates (35 mpg city/34 mpg highway) aren’t quite as impressive.” — Edmunds.com
  • “The driving experience is pretty close to awesome, this being a hybrid that’ll seat four grown men with luggage and get you at least 34 mpg combined, probably more with a conservative right foot.” — Autoblog
  • “The smart and comfortable HS 250h satisfies buyers who want a socially conscious vehicle with elegant features and top quality.” — Kelley Blue Book

More 2012 green cars: Find details about many more green cars from other automakers in The Ultimate Green Car Buyer’s Guide, 2012.

Photos from Lexus