Lexus UX 300e
A leader in electrification for the past 15 years, Lexus has put its first all-electric foot forward with the UX 300e. Richard Gooding finds that the company has developed a highly usable premium compact SUV
What is it?
Based on the Lexus UX hybrid compact SUV, the UX 300e is Lexus' first all-electric car. It uses the company's 15-year heritage of developing and pioneering hybrid powertrains – of which it has sold 1.8 million examples – but adds a 54.3kWh lithium-ion battery and a 150kW electric motor.
What range does it have?
Depending on wheel size, Lexus quotes an official WLTP all-electric, single charge range of between 190 and 196 miles. On a full charge, we recorded a value of 186 miles.
How long does it take to charge?
On a home charge point (rated at round 7.4kW AC), the UX 300e can be charged from flat to full in around eight hours. A domestic 13A connection takes 19 hours. On the 50kW rapid charger network, an 80 per cent charge can be completed in 52 minutes.
How does it drive?
Externally, the UX 300e looks near identical to its UX hybrid sister. Only the twin 'fuel' filler flaps – here covering the AC and DC charging sockets – give the all-electric game away, and the sharp-edged design style gives the all-electric UX a smart appearance.
The Lexus' interior exudes a very premium air, but it should be, given its price. The material fit and finish is of a very high quality – UX 300e production is overseen by Takumi master craftspeople, hence the Takumi Pack reference – and most controls are grouped around the driver.
The 10.3-inch infotainment screen is controlled by a trackpad with haptic feedback, and it works much better than it does in the larger Lexus RX. The audio controls are also physically duplicated at the end of the centre console armrest, which works well.
Its 201bhp/150kW electric motor gives the UX 300e brisk performance. Three driving modes – Normal, Sport, and Eco – allow fine-tuning of the driving experience, and a real difference can be felt between them, from the pared-back efficiency in 'Eco', to the amplified dynamics in 'Sport'.
The UX 300e feels agile and body roll is kept in check. An enjoyable car to drive and be in, the Lexus is very refined with virtually no wind noise, and tyre roar only on the roughest of surfaces. The nicely judged ride is firm but not uncomfortable.
Aiding efficiency, there are eight modes of regeneration. Four settings in the 'D' gearbox mode, add to the same number in 'B' mode, which gives increased regeneration. Easy to moderate, the UX 300e sees a welcome return to adjustment of the regeneration levels on tactile-feeling steering wheel-mounted paddles. It can one-pedal drive, too.
What does it cost?
The electric Lexus is available in three trim grades. The entry UX 300e starts at £39,245 with the £2,500 Government Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) deducted. Standard kit includes 17-inch alloy wheels, Bi-LED headlights, parking sensors, a reversing camera, a seven-inch colour touchscreen and six-speaker audio system with USB, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity.
Move up to the £42,745 UX 300e Premium Plus Pack, and keyless entry, heated and leather-trimmed seats, privacy glass and a wireless smartphone charger are added. The UX 300e Takumi Pack tested here costs from £48,845, gaining an auto-dimming rear view mirror, blind spot monitoring, a hands-free tailgate, a head-up display, a sunroof and a 13-speaker audio system.
How much does it cost to tax?
The Lexus UX 300e is exempt from VED, in the first year of registration and subsequent years. The electric SUV is charged one per cent Benefit in Kind (BIK) rate for 2021-2022, the rate rising to two per cent in 2022-2023 and 2023-2024.
Why does my fleet need one?
Muscling in on the emerging electric SUV trend, it's no surprise that Lexus has taken its most popular car in Europe and fully electrified it. Drivers don't necessarily have to choose the top-spec Takumi Pack model tested here, as any UX 300e is a high-quality car, distilling the luxury found on the larger Lexus NX and RX models. With a range of almost 200 miles, the UX 300e's usability isn't in doubt, and drivers who choose it will revel in its sumptuous and serene personality.