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Lexus UX 300e (2020 - )

The UX is the Lexus’ best-selling model in the UK and in 2021 the appeal was strengthened with the launch of the UX 300e.

Starting price:
£57,095 (as tested)

Why we love it:
  • Vastly improved driving range and infotainment system
  • Beautifully styled and refined interior
  • Excellent reliability and warranty package
Where it could be better:
  • Quite expensive with prices starting from almost £40k
  • Rear legroom is a little limited
  • Will it attract buyers from the main German marques?

Introduction

Lexus UX 300e

The UX is the Lexus’ best-selling model in the UK and in 2021 the appeal was strengthened with the launch of the UX 300e. It was the company’s first battery electric vehicle developed with the aid of the Japanese carmaker’s 15 years of electrification expertise in the industry.

It was offered with a 54.3kWh battery, but as part of a raft of upgrades for 2023, this has now been increased to 72.8kWh and, as a result, the driving range has been extended by about 40 per cent up from 196 to 279 miles between charges. 

In addition, there have been a number of improvements to the UX 250h hybrid model with its combination of a 2.0-litre petrol engine along with two electric motors which also gains a new trim level called F Sport Design.

But it’s the fully electrified UX 300e that we are concentrating on and this now boasts enhanced insulation for an even quieter cabin, fine-tuning of the steering and shock absorbers to sharpen the dynamics, along with a new multi-media system offering improved connectivity, easier operation and faster performance.

The vehicle is available in an entry-level UX 300e trim, along with versions called Premium Plus Pack, Premium Plus Pack with 18-inch Wheels and Takumi Pack. We opted for the range-topping UX 300e Takumi Pack.

Lexus UX 300e

There’s no denying the Lexus UX 300e has a strong road presence with its huge black spindle grille housing the company badging, along with sweeping arrowhead daytime running lights and sequential turn indicators. A sunroof, privacy glass, roof rails and 18-inch alloy wheels complete the styling.

Open the doors and you are greeted by a beautifully-designed cabin that oozes high-end craftsmanship and features luxurious fixtures and fittings throughout. The seats are crafted from the softest leather upholstery and they are power-adjustable along with the steering wheel so it’s easy to get comfy. The front seats can be heated or cooled while the steering wheel and rear seats can also be warmed against the winter chill.

But the most welcome news inside the cabin is the vastly improved infotainment set-up. The clunky outdated touchpad has thankfully been ditched and the car now features a 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia display with embedded navigation. It has sharp graphics and the reactions are far quicker than on the outgoing set-up.

On-board technology is impressive with a pitch perfect 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, full smartphone connectivity with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a head-up display, reversing camera with guidelines, a 360-degree panoramic view camera, plus four front and rear USB-C ports to stay connected on the move.

You also get the Lexus voice recognition system which will help you adjust the temperature, make a phone call, switch radio stations and lots more without taking your hands from the steering wheel.

All controls, dials and readouts are perfectly positioned for ease of use and we really liked the separate controls to adjust the climate and activate seat heaters etc.

On The Road

Lexus UX 300e

Handling & Performance

The increase in battery size from 54.3kWh to 72.8kWh sees a considerable improvement in driving range with the latest model able to cover a WLTP-tested 279 miles (on 17-inch wheels) or 274 miles if riding on 18-inch wheels.

With 204bhp and 300Nm of torque, the UX 300e can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in just 7.5 seconds and tops out at 100mph – that’s not bad for a car weighing in at 1,785 to 1,840kg.

With its low centre of gravity, the front-wheel drive vehicle feels confidently grounded when pushed hard along twisting country lanes and the instant torque means overtaking can be accomplished in the blink of an eye.

Lexus engineers have fine-tuned the electric power steering and shock absorbers and this has sharpened up the dynamics of the car significantly. It feels more planted and responsive but still delivers a cushioned ride and, thanks to improved insulation, all occupants are well protected from outside noise. 

A drive selector offers three options called Eco, Normal and Sport and the steering wheel paddles can be used to adjust the level of regenerative braking with four settings to choose from. When Sport mode is selected, the car does develop a slight edge, but it’s not as fearsome as some of the German rivals out there.

However, the UX 300e is a very capable motorway cruiser and the extra range means you won’t have to hold back quite so much. And then in busier city centres, the great all round driver visibility, combined with a wealth of driver assistance aids, are a great benefit to help spot cyclists and other cars darting out from all directions.

Lexus UX 300e

Space & Practicality

The Lexus UX 300e is a five-door compact SUV that stretches 4,495mn in length, is 1,840mm wide, 1,545mm high with a wheelbase of 2,640mm. With the battery pack positioned beneath the floor, rear seat passenger space is not compromised and there is a decent amount of legroom provided the front seats are not pushed back too far. Adults may find it a little cramped on really long journeys, but it would be just fine for youngsters.

The boot is accessed via a powered tailgate and can hold 367 litres of luggage. This is actually 47 litres more than the hybrid model and the limit can be increased further by folding down the 60:40 split-folding rear seats. There is no official figure from Lexus what the maximum capacity is though.

There are hooks in each corner of the boot so awkwardly-shaped items can be secured properly and a separate compartment beneath the floor is perfect for storing the charging cables out of the way.

Elsewhere, there is a lockable glovebox, door bins with space for a bottle, front and rear cup holders, a charging pad, central cubby and a single seat back pocket.

Charging the 72.8kWh battery from 0-100 per cent takes 9 hours, 30 minutes from a 7kW wallbox, or 1 hour and 20 minutes from 0-80 per cent if using a faster charger.

Ownership

Lexus UX 300e

Running Costs

The fully-electrified Lexus UX line-up is priced from £47,495 for the UX 300e and rises to £57,095 for the UX 300e Takumi Pack as tested.

With its larger 72.8kWh battery pack, the latest vehicle can deliver up to 279 miles between charges (dependant on wheel size) and, with energy costs finally starting to drop a little, there could be a number of tariffs to negotiate with suppliers so the vehicle can be charged at home at the least expensive time – often during the night.

With its zero carbon emissions, the Lexus UX 300e is an attractive car for business drivers thanks to its Benefit in Kind tax rating of just two per cent and it’s certainly a very accomplished motorway cruiser if long miles behind the wheel are needed.

At present, owners of EVs are exempt from road tax charges, congestion and low emission zone fees and are not penalised for purchasing a car costing in excess of £40k. However, that will all change in 2025 with the Government reducing or withdrawing incentives completely. 

The UX 300e Takumi model, as tested, sits in insurance group 42.

Lexus models boast an excellent warranty package with owners able to extend the standard package of three years and 60,000 miles to 10 years or 100,000 miles, provided the car is serviced regularly at an authorised Lexus workshop. 

In addition, the company has an enviable reputation for reliability, so when you consider the fact that EVs have fewer moving parts than a traditional combustion engine-powered car, the UX 300e should deliver years of trouble-free motoring.

Verdict

Lexus UX 300e

It’s always reassuring when manufacturers listen to customer feedback and react to any gripes and niggles that have been unearthed and highlighted. An area where the previous UX 300e came under fire was its limited driving range between charges. That has been addressed by fitting a larger battery. 

There were also concerns about the infotainment system being a little sluggish and the dated trackpad too clunky. Once again, that issue has been rectified with an upgraded set-up that’s both faster and more intuitive to operate.

There are more dynamic electric SUVs out there but the all-round Lexus package is certainly worth exploring if you want to stand out from the crowd in a beautifully-designed model that’s big on performance and refinement. 

By Maxine Ashford
Jul 27, 2023

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