- Comfortable to drive and well-equipped
- Impeccable build quality and very reliable
- Nicely styled inside and out
- Even the entry-level models are pricey
- The range is bettered by many rival EVs
- Rear legroom is fairly cramped
The Lexus UX is the company’s best-selling model in Europe so it made perfect sense for that car to be chosen as the Japanese carmaker’s very first fully electrified vehicle.
There are four models to choose from called UX 300e, UX 300e Premium Plus Pack, UX 300e Premium Plus Pack with 18-inch wheels and the UX 300e Takumi Pack.
All models feature a single-speed transmission along with a high-output 201bhp/150kW electric motor that gets energy from a high capacity 54kWh battery to deliver a driving range that is just shy of 200 miles between charges.
On The Road
Out on the road the UX 300e is really pleasant to drive with instant torque and silent running. The battery, electric combination works well to deliver plenty of zip out the starting blocks with a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.5 seconds and top speed of 100mph. The driving range, under strict WLTP testing, is 196 miles. When our test car was virtually fully charged it was showing a range of 186 miles which is possibly more accurate.
Performance impresses though without being too brutal. The UX 300e cruises at 70mph on motorways, is nicely grounded with confident body control on country lanes provided tight bends are treated with an element of respect, and it’s beautifully agile in town centre settings with well-weighted steering.
There are drive modes called Sport, Normal and Eco that alter the reactions of the vehicle and by choosing ‘B’ on the gear selector, it maximises the energy recouped during braking or cruising. This energy would otherwise be lost, but is captured to boost the battery levels on the fly.
We had the opportunity to fully test out the accuracy of the range on the UX 300e. When it was fully charged it showed 186 miles. We drove 161 miles non-stop and ended with 15 miles to spare.
The UX 300e looks dynamic in its styling and while the pace is not exactly blistering, it is a delight to drive. It weighs in at 1,840kg which is on the heavy side, but it feels nimble on the open road.
The battery pack is positioned beneath the cabin floor to help lower the car’s centre of gravity. That in turn, improves the all-round performance.
While there are more dynamic EVs out there, the UX 300e is beautifully refined and offers a perfect mix of performance and comfort … as is the Lexus way.
In addition, the highly effective suspension set-up does an excellent job of smoothing out the uneven road surfaces along the way.
EVs are quiet by nature but that can backfire a little as there is no engine noise to drown out the outside sounds such as road tyre rumble. However, Lexus has addressed that issue as the thickness and weight of the battery pack beneath the floor acts as a sound-insulating barrier. In addition, acoustic glass is fitted to reduce high-frequency wind noise.
When it comes to styling, the UX 300e has quite a road presence and the electrified model shares much of its DNA with its hybrid sibling, the UX.
So, expect to see the easily-recognisable hallmark Lexus spindle grille, arrowhead daytime running lights and sequential turn indicators, rear privacy glass, a coupe-like roofline, integrated roof rails plus 17-inch alloy wheels or 18-inch on the Takumi Pack model.
The interior is quality through and through and it’s impossible not to be impressed with its design. Inspired by traditional Japanese architecture, it boasts a driver-focused layout and the instrument display has been revised to offer all the electric-related data such as driving range, battery charge levels, plus a digital speedo.
There is a centrally dashboard-mounted infotainment screen, piano style buttons to access certain features, along with the Lexus touchpad controller which can take a little getting used to.
The rear seats have been designed specifically for the electrified UX and shaped to take into account the underfloor battery while still offering good levels of comfort.
Active Sound Control has been developed in collaboration with a professional music composer to produce the relevant BEV noise in the car which is acceleration sensitive. It can be turned off easily enough though if it’s not for you.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
With eight-way powered seats and plenty of steering wheel adjustment, getting a comfy position inside the UX 300e is a simple process. And it is a comfortable car even after many miles behind the wheel.
Our UX 300e with Premium Pack Plus includes additional kit such as smooth leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated seats, heated outer rear seats and illuminated door handles with puddle lamps.
Replacing the conventional gear lever is a shift-by-wire drive selector with Drive, Neutral and Reverse options. Otherwise the cabin is clutter-free, modern and very premium with top quality upholstery and materials throughout.
The level of on-board technology impresses too. There is a seven-inch media display screen with six-speaker sound system, a wireless smartphone charging tray, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, smart keyless entry, a reversing camera and parking sensors, plus four USB and Aux sockets.
If you take a step up to the range-topping model featuring the Takumi Pack, expect to see a Mark Levinson sound system, sunroof, Lexus Navigation, a head-up display along with some additional safety features.
Space & Practicality
The UX 300e stretches 4,495mn in length, is 1,840mm wide and 1,545mm high with a wheelbase of 2,640mm.
With clever packaging of the battery beneath the rear seats, the boot size on the UX 300e is actually slightly larger than the conventional UX with 367 litres of space - an increase of 47 litres. And there are a number of handy storage options throughout the cabin, such as a central bin beneath the armrest, door pockets, front and rear cup holders, a glovebox, pockets in the front seatbacks and some practical trays.
Just like most compact SUVs out there, back seat space is quite restricted and any adults will find it all a little cramped, especially if the front seats are pushed well back.
When it comes to charging the UX 300e, there is an AC port located on the right-hand rear wing of the car and a DC port for rapid charging is found on the left side of the car, where the battery can be boosted from zero to 80 per cent in 50 minutes. Obviously, using the AC system with home charging takes much longer, but is ideal for overnight plug-ins when some tariffs may be lower.
The Lexus UX 300e is priced from £42,645 to £52,245 and unfortunately the cost means it will not be eligible for any Government Plug-in Car Grant schemes that have a cap of £32,000.
But there will be attractive tax savings for business owners under the Benefit in Kind scheme of just 2 per cent. And it will also be free from Congestion Charge zone fees.
The zero carbon emissions make the UX 300e exempt from road tax, and whereas owners of petrol or diesel cars costing more than £40k would have to pay an addition luxury car levy of £335 for five years, EVs owners are spared that fee. That ruling was introduced as an incentive by the Government in 2020 and runs until 2025.
The Lexus UX 300e sits in insurance group 39.
Quality & Reliability
While the fully electrified Lexus UX has not been out long enough to properly assess any reliability issues, the company does have an exceptionally strong reputation throughout the industry.
Lexus and sister company Toyota both frequently feature in the top three when it comes to online customer satisfaction surveys and that is an achievement that the company is quite rightly very proud of. And that is also why many customers return time and again without questioning their brand loyalty.
The build quality of the UX 300e EV looks and feels premium and all the surfaces have been created to survive the test of time.
The UX 300e comes with Toyota’s new three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. This also includes an eight-year, 100,000-mile cover for the battery.
For added peace of mind, customers can sign up to Lexus Relax. This is an extended warranty scheme that can add up to 10 years warranty free of charge provided the vehicle is serviced regularly at approved Lexus centres.
Safety & Security
The Lexus UX 300e boasts a wealth of safety features and it shares a maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating with its hybrid sibling that was tested in 2019.
As standard the car gets Lexus Safety System+ with pre-collision system and pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane trace assist, road sign assist and automatic high beam lights.
Also standard across the line-up is traction control, hill assist, Isofix child seat anchors, a full suite of airbags, vehicle stability control, secondary collision brake and eCall for emergencies.
Blind spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert are optional extras unless you opt for the range-topping Takumi model.
An anti-theft system complete with alarm, intrusion, tilt and glass breakage sensors, plus an engine immobiliser will keep any thieves at bay.
With decades of hybrid expertise and know-how to draw on, it’s little surprise that the first fully electrified Lexus is an impressive all-rounder. It may not be the most dynamic to drive or boast the longest range between charges, but it will fit in perfectly with many of its owners’ day-to-day needs.