Launched at the Tokyo motorshow, the long rumoured SAI, which at one point was being considered for Europe, slots in above the Prius as Toyota’s new 2.4 litre, front-drive hybrid saloon.
Essentially, a reworked version of the Lexus HS250h that’s already on sale in the U.S and Japan, SAI has the same overall profile with those long, sloping A and C pillars and broad shoulder lines running along the top of the doors, but is 4 inches shorter and 70kgs lighter than the HS 250h. The SAI gets a revised front fascia, rear doors and windows. The interior includes redesigned air vents, gauges and steering wheel.
Power comes from the same 2.4-litre hybrid system as the HS. This sees the 2.4 litre VVT-i 4 cylinder engine, with 150bhp (now with Atkinson cycle) team up with an electric motor and reduction gear, with nickel-metal hydride battery pack mounted beneath the boot floor. Combined power is rated at 187bhp. However, although it’s smaller and lighter, the SAI achieves the exact 56-65mpg as the plusher HS250h in Japan’s economy cycle, while C02 is an equally low at 101-107g/km.
Inside, the SAI is more dull and plainer than its HS 250h counterpart. Sales start in December with prices starting at ¥3,380,000 (£24,000/$37,275). Standard equipment includes a 10 speaker sound system w/ retractable LCD touch screen and HDD navigation, leather interior w/ heated front seats and memory, wood & leather steering wheel, x4 electric windows, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and more.
2010 Lexus HS 250h