Save fuel with these Lexus hybrid driving tips

Driving a self-charging Lexus hybrid car offers many benefits, including quieter running and lower tail-pipe emissions. Our hybrid driving hints and tips will help ensure you get the very best from your car’s engine and save fuel.

These Lexus models available in the UK are available as a self-charging petrol-electric hybrid. However, whichever of these you have set your heart on, the following guide will help you maximise the vehicle’s range.

The basics

It’s not just hybrids that benefit from the first seven tips – these will help you to save fuel in any type of car:

1. Tidy the boot! Removing unnecessary weight from the car will boost performance immediately
2. Consult the handbook. Ensure the car’s tyres are correctly inflated
3. Plan your journey – avoid jams or getting lost
4. Close windows and sun roof at higher speeds (above 45mph)
5. Remove unused roof racks, boxes and bike racks
6. Maintain a steady speed, and do not exceed speed limits
7. Avoid sudden braking and acceleration

Save fuel: Lexus Hybrid driving advice

The following tips are for hybrids only:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the hybrid information display so you can monitor how much energy is being used
  2. Be gentle with the accelerator – press it lightly but consistently to help keep the car in EV mode
  3. Use ECO mode for improved efficiency – this evens out aggressive use of the throttle
  4. Gentle, early braking boosts regenerative braking, which allows you to use EV mode for longer periods of time
  5. Do not shift the gear selector into Neutral when stationary as this will stop the hybrid battery from being charged
  6. Consider using cruise control to maintain a steady speed
  7. If using climate control, recirculation mode can reduce energy use
  8. Maximise your use of EV mode when it is appropriate to do so
  9. Heavy use of ancillaries such as air conditioning, lights and windscreen wipers will increase energy consumption
save fuel

Hybrid driving: Drive modes

The Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain provides four drive modes in Lexus hybrid cars. When you first turn on your hybrid, the car will be ready to drive in a default drive mode. This will automatically choose the most efficient use of both the engine and the battery. Using the car’s different ‘on-demand’ drive modes (see image below) will help achieve better fuel consumption.

When you first turn on the car, the hybrid system automatically begins in the default drive mode, which automatically chooses the most efficient use of both engine and battery. However, the driver can opt to select different one of the four on-demand drive modes to suit prevailing conditions: EV Mode (encourages the car to be powered solely by the battery when city driving), ECO Mode (the car reduces A/C output and dampens harsh acceleration), Normal Mode (the default drive setting in everyday motoring) and Sport Mode (which uses the battery to help boost acceleration along with the use of the engine).

The shift lever offers four positions: R (Reverse), N (neutral), B (engine braking) and D (drive). Position B introduces engine braking and can be used to help slow the vehicle, such as when descending a hill. But we do not recommend leaving the car in this mode for normal driving as it can use more fuel over time. For normal driving we recommend you move the shift lever to D.

Lexus hybrid driving, save fuel

Save fuel: Read the road ahead

When driving your hybrid, the aim is to utilise the car’s electric power as much as possible. A way to do this in urban driving is to accelerate to your required speed and then come off the accelerator before gently easing it back on again. In many conditions, you’ll see the ‘EV’ light come on to inform you that the petrol engine is switched off and you’re maintaining momentum on electric power.

The trick is to try and maintain a constant speed, so it is important to read the road ahead. This will reduce the amount of unnecessary braking and accelerating and will therefore use less fuel. Slow and gentle braking will best utilise the regenerative braking system on the car to help keep the hybrid battery topped-up.

save fuel

Other factors to consider

If the weather is cold, your car will use more fuel to warm up and reach optimum operating temperature. This means you will usually achieve better fuel economy figures in summer rather than winter, traveling on the same route. During winter months you are also more likely to use accessories such as the air conditioning system, radio, lights and windscreen wipers, all of which use electric power drawn from the battery.

For further advice on hybrid driving tips, we recommend visiting the Hypermiler website.

Please note that these hybrid driving tips are published as a general guide on how to get the best fuel economy from your Lexus hybrid. Lexus encourages and supports safe driving at all times, so please adhere to the rules of the road.


    1. when i was an ardent cyclist we learned early to cash-in on things like free wheeling down hills, using tailwinds if available,building momentum to drive you to then freewheel again anything to use natures gifts to your advantage all except tucking yourself into the back of a lorry to shield you from headwinds , which, even with adaptive cruise control would not be advisable in a hybrid car

    1. Hi Yekini,
      Thank you for your comment. Please can you provide us with a little more information on what you are referring to. Many thanks.

  1. What has become clearer for me in reading your info is that the benefit of a hybrid stems from the energy gains from regenerative braking compared to the associated losses in carrying the extra weight of that additional hybrid system. This is of course pre-supposing a similar optimal driving style and terrain for both hybrid and conventional powered vehicle. The regenerative braking is the only ‘free’ extra energy entering the hybrid system. The other conversion of energy from fuel to electrical involves losses during the conversion. Thanks, I did look at hybrids but am happy with my Tesla.

    1. In the event the driver becomes incapacitated how does the front passenger best bring the car to a halt, assuming they can help steer?

  2. Hallow scientists.

    I am a Kenyan citizen and I have a problem with my hybrid Lexus RX450. The car has continued to display the codes C1259 and c1310. I have tried to contact Toyota Kenya but they are unable to resolve. All the mechanics I have contacted in Nairobi are also unable to resolve. The car stops the engine until I remove and reconnect the battery. Kindly assist with advise by checking the attached.

    1. Hi Wilfred,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Unfortunately, we are only able to comment on the UK market. We would advise contacting Toyota in your local region again to see if they are able to provide any more assistance.


  3. I have just bought a RX450 , 2011 (61) reg from a used car dealer. I am getting conscious about the batter level indicator very often, especially when i drive around towncentres and nights (when use of lights is necessary) , last weekend i took it to central london , held up in traffic than usual mean, battery level gone down to single bar. My worry is whether this is normal or someting wrong with the car hybrid system.

    If the battery level is dropping to bottom, driver become more conscious of battery rather driving , as i read i wont be able to start the engine without hybrid battery power.
    Any advice is highly appreciated . I am sure there any my Rx450 users around for some comments.

  4. How long can I leave a hybrid vehicle without driving it? We spend time out of the UK which can be up to 3months at a time during which time the vehicles will not be driven.

    1. Hi Keith,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us and apologies in the delay in getting back to you. Our hybrids do require additional steps to maintain the battery, as the hybrid vehicle battery and auxiliary battery will discharge and their condition is liable to decline.

      To prevent excessive auxiliary battery drainage, charge the battery at least once every two weeks by powering on the hybrid system for 20 minutes with all non-essential electrical accessories (such as air conditioning and audio equipment) turned off. It is not necessary to drive the vehicle, but do not start the hybrid system in an enclosed area unless the tail pipe is connected to an exhaust hose to prevent harmful buildup of fumes. As an alternative, you may disconnect the negative terminal of the auxiliary battery.

      For the hybrid vehicle battery, charge the battery at least once every two months by starting the hybrid system for about 30 minutes*. Check that the “ready” light is on and all lights and electrical accessories are off. As with the auxiliary battery charging, it is not necessary to drive the vehicle, but the steps to prevent exhaust buildup must be taken.

      * If the auxiliary battery was disconnected, it will have to be reconnected before the hybrid system is started.

      We hope this helps and do get back in touch if you have any further questions.

    2. We have a RX450h from new (16 plate). For the first 3 years we were out of the country for the 6 winter months and left the car with an intelligent battery charger on the normal car battery, just as we did on our previous, non-hybrid Lexus (GS). We never had any problems with our car when we came back to the UK each Spring. Still got the same car 3.5 years later although we’ve sold up our foreign property and now back full time in the UK.

  5. Hi,
    I drive a 2014 is300H. How do I switch off (reset) the tire pressure light showing on the dash (even after inflating all tires to the required gauge) ?

    Also, while driving, I hear a whistling noise from the back, any advise on that please? thanks

    1. Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us. There is a button under the dashboard on the driver’s side that you can use to rest the light. You can find out more about this here:

      Regarding the noise, we would recommend visiting your nearest Lexus centre to have the car assessed. You can find your nearest dealer via this link:


  6. This morning stared my Lexus ct up , car running whilst de icing, got back in car to flashing lights would not restart why ?

  7. Do I take it that I will not be allowed to drive my 2012 Lexus 450 GS Premier from 2035? Because my beloved vehicle is emaculate and well maintained I would be appalled to have to scrap my vehicle with the knowledge that being a Lexus make, it will be good long after Boris Johnson’s bizarre idea to cease Hybrids even after the government convinced motorists to ditch diesel & petrol for hybrid vehicles. Regards Stuart Watson Scott. TORQUAY.

    1. Hi Stuart,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Lexus has long been embracing the challenge for low emission mobility. We believe a range of both low-emission and zero-emission technologies such as hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles will all be required to support this necessary transition.

      Together these technologies can help make a significant contribution to overall emissions reduction today and tomorrow whilst at the same time meet the mobility demands of consumers.

      We continue to believe hybrid electric vehicles offer an important, affordable and practical low emission option to everyone – reducing impact for CO2 and improving air quality today and for the coming years, as our own leading contribution to CO2 reduction across the UK and Europe clearly demonstrates to date.

      We need to understand the details of the Government’s announcement before we can comment further.


    2. I just bought the same car 2012 gs f sport 450h yesterday car insurance is eye watering high though. My 1st cvt car coming from a money pit Audi A4 me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *