Well the Hondas are 1/2 the weight to begine with, and have 1/2 the power! That's why.
So in light of that, doesn't the Lexus seem MORE efficient?
My point - The Lexus has MORE potential than the Honda in relation to where it starts. The Honda is already light, and designed for efficiency. The Lexus is designed for luxury and has over 1000 pounds of easily removable weight. It also has a decently agressive tune on the ECU wich could be fixed with some cleaver EPROM changes.
That's why it's an underdog, or less common FE vehicle project. It's extreme pig nature and image makes people assume it won't be a very FE vehicle, when in actually it's not bad for what it is already, and much can be done to imrpove it.
I was chatting with some friends last night who have more "well endowed" pocket books than me, and we're serious talking about building a LeMons racer, which rules say has to be under $500. We're thinking the SC400 would make a good candidate. If I can find one around $1500 or less (not TOO uncommon, but not easy to find) with good interior, we can sell all the nice inside bits to get the cost down to $500.
If we DO go that route for the car, I'll see what MPG I can achieve before the modifications get to the point of being illegal.