Hybrids Go Luxe

If you’re the kind of person who would like to embrace your inner environmentalist but can’t quite see yourself in a Prius, redemption has arrived. Along with a $104,000 price tag, the Lexus LS 600h comes with all the luxury you’d expect from a top-of-the-line sedan. But this car offers more than just roomy seats and leather trimmings. Thanks to a hybrid engine that relies on a regenerative braking system to keep its electric batteries charged, the LS 600h promises to reduce harmful emissions by 70 percent, though it does little to decrease our fossil fuel dependency. It compares slightly favorably with other sedans in its class at 21 miles per gallon (the Prius, by contrast, gets 55 mpg). The model is the greenest luxury car avail-able and demonstrates just how far the market has come in the last decade. The test track proved that the V-8 gas engine and its two electric motors can work together to hit speeds of up to 130 miles an hour in a matter of seconds. And with all the add-ons, the LS 600h is also one of the safest sedans around. The only downside is that the two battery packs reduce the vehicle’s trunk size to about the two-golf bag range. But keeping your third set at the clubhouse seems a small price to pay for cleaner air.