Lexus is renowned for creating innovative and efficient hybrid vehicles, but they are unfamiliar territory for many drivers. We’ve put together this quick guide to help you get the best of your new car.
We know that many of you choose a hybrid for their environmental and fuel economy benefits, so you can monitor how the car is performing through the information display. Maximising the impact of the battery is paramount, so remember that ancillary items like wipers, lights and air conditioning all nibble away at the power reserves available. Turn them off if they’re not absolutely necessary.
Adjusting your driving style
Driving a hybrid is not like driving a normal car. The brakes and acceleration both feel different; the brakes recover energy to charge the batteries, and the engine is mated to a CVT gearbox.
Consequently, they reward a more relaxed driving style with gentle acceleration and braking – the longer you spend braking, the more energy can be recovered. It also makes sense to accelerate to your desired speed and then coast, limiting the amount of time you spend with your foot on the accelerator. You may want to use Cruise Control whenever possible, even for just short periods.
As a final note, do not move the car into Neutral when stationary in stop-start traffic. Electricity will not be generated and the hybrid battery will discharge.
Reading the road
Accelerating and braking are the points in driving that consume the most energy. So to achieve the best possible fuel economy, you ideally need to maintain as steady a speed as possible, reducing the frequency with which you slow down and speed up.
This means you should start paying attention to the road ahead:
- Reduce speed via coasting before corners, rather than braking at the last minute
- Carry as much speed as possible into hills
- Leave a suitable gap to the car ahead, so you needn’t brake as often or as hard
Choosing a driving mode
Every Lexus hybrid has four driving modes, and you can flip between them for different driving scenarios:
- EV Mode
- ECO Mode
- Normal Mode
- Sport Mode
EV Mode encourages the car to operate purely on electric power, and is especially well-suited to short city journeys – possibly allowing you to complete a short hop on electric power alone.
ECO Mode dampens the effects of acceleration, meaning progress is a little more leisurely but helping to improve fuel economy. It’s a great choice if you find yourself in a slow moving or heavy traffic.
Normal Mode is the standard, default drive setting.
Sport Mode uses the power from the battery to support acceleration, providing sharper throttle responses.
What does ‘B’ on the gear stick mean?
Lexus hybrids do not have traditional manual gearboxes, and instead use a CVT automatic. There are, of course, the usual ‘D’ (drive), ’N’ (neutral) and ‘R’ (reverse) options; the fourth, ‘B’, stands for ‘braking’.
This is not like a parking brake, but instead encourages engine braking. You can engage this when travelling downhill, for instance, to slow down using the engine’s revs instead of the footbrake. This is a great way of preserving every last drop of fuel.
New and Approved Used Lexus hybrids from Inchcape Lexus
Contact a member of the team at Inchcape Lexus to find out more about hybrid options.