Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
May 18, 2012
Lexus has a different philosophy on hybrids than their parent company, Toyota.
Toyota has opted to use hybrids to deliver maximum fuel economy above all else (see the Prius). Lexus on the other hand uses hybrids as a way to provide performance of large engine, while delivering the fuel economy of a smaller engine. For example, the GS450h delivers performance equal to that of a V8, but gets V6 fuel economy. However, it seems Lexus is changing their mindset.
Lexus ES and LS product planner Ketan Renade told AutoGuide that sales of the GS and LS hybrids have been extremely slow.
“We did studies and focus groups and people said, ‘hybrid equals mpg’”, says Renade. “Cars with 400 and 500 HP are great, but no one is buying them.”
Starting with the new ES300h, Lexus will put more of a mindset on fuel economy than performance. The ES300h uses a four-cylinder engine with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system to deliver 200 HP and 39 MPG combined.
As for other Lexus hybrid models, Renade almost confirmed the next generation LS hybrid will go down the same route.
“If we did a future hybrid Lexus LS, it would go V6 hybrid,” said Renade.