IS? ES? Prius? No…it’s the HS 250h.

2011 Lexus HS250h ConceptThanks to years of building a luxury brand, when most people think of Lexus what springs to mind are images of sleek, luxurious performance cars – fuel economy, not so much. Though Lexus has put out three other hybrids (the GS450h and LS600Hl sedans and the RX450h SUV), this newest one seems to be the one on which they have pinned their dreams. At the 2009 North American Auto Show in Detroit this month, Lexus unveiled a car that aims to change that notion. Its first dedicated luxury hybrid, the HS250h was on display and may be in showrooms as early as 2010.

This article from has lots of great photos and explains that many of the car’s hybrid components actually come from the Toyota Camry hybrid and Lexus’ hybrid SUV, the RX450h. Meanwhile, the interior and exterior of the car are designed to fall between Lexus’ current IS and ES models. A 2.4 liter, 4-cylinder engine runs the front wheels and offers up to 187 horsepower. The same heat-recovery system found in the RX450h is found in this hybrid car, and uses heat from the exhaust as power, thus allowing he engine to shut off gas power more often.

Little is known about the potential gas mileage for this car, but Lexus maintains that it will best the fuel economy of the Smart Car (those tiny two-seaters you see zipping around) – meaning that it will get more than 33 miles per gallon in the city.

Get a few more pictures right from the show in Detroit here, on Jalopnik. It is called the “Prius for the country club,” a name that is more than fitting for this sleek hybrid sedan as it starts off near the $30,000 mark.

But, it wasn’t all praise for the car touted as the world’s first luxury hybrid. A blogger on MotorTrend awarded the HS250h with “Best Disappointment” at the Detroit show because of the car’s supposedly lackluster exterior. The same blog also bestows the HS250h with the “Most Redundant” award because the model name contains two Hs, both presumably standing for hybrid.

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