Lexus launched their small SUV the UX in 2019 & brought with it a touch of class to the sector. At the time, Lexus announced that an all-electric version of the UX was coming & in 2021 it arrived. Company Car & Van got their hands on one courtesy of Lexus Stockport, so were lucky enough to spend some time in what is Lexus’s first EV.
As with the petrol-hybrid UX, the UX300e is an extremely attractive car. UX makes a fine fist of standing out. Up front, the familiar Lexus spindle grille features a mesh pattern & there’s narrow LED headlights on the front corner’s, which are standard across the range. It also features large wheel arches & rear lights that span the full width of the hatch back, ending with a bulbous finish at either side. Unique aerodynamic alloys & some electric badging are all that mark the UX300e out from the rest of the range.
Battery & charging
The UX300e of course, adds a 54.3kWh battery located under the floor & rear seats, with a 201bhp electric motor in the engine bay. Lexus claims a range of 196 miles with models fitted with 17″wheels. Charge at home on a standard 7.4kWh charger like our own Rolec, means a full charge will take approximately 7.5 hours. Utilise a 50kWh charger & you can charge the battery to 80% in just 55 minutes.
To keep things simple, the UX300e is offered as a single model which retails at £41,745. This comes very well equipped with 17″ alloys, Lexus Safety System +, premium fabric upholstery, 7″ media screen with remote touch interface, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, reversing camera, front & rear parking sensors, bi-LED Headlights with Auto High Beam & 8-way electrically adjustable front seats
You can then add equipment via two packs to this. A Premium Plus Pack gives you smooth leather upholstery, a wireless smartphone charger, smart keyless entry, a card key, heated & ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel & privacy glass, increasing the cost to £45,245.
And the Takumi Pack, further adding 18″ alloys, 10.3″ Lexus Navigation, a 13-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround sound system, a sunroof, 360⁰ panoramic view monitor, Head-Up Display, a hands-free power back door with kick sensor & a Blind Spot Monitor. This model costs £51,345.
Interior & tech
The interior oozes class, taking literally, the steering wheel & clock straight out of the £50,000 LS saloon. Everything inside the UX300e is finished to the highest quality. Every surface you can see or can’t see. No corners have been cut. The switchgear is top notch too.
The Lexus infotainment screen sits in the centre top of the dashboard & allows access to all of the cars main functions. The UX features a touchpad control system, which can prove a little fiddly, especially when you’re moving. Design details include two cylindrical buttons above the steering wheel which jut out like horns from the dash, one of which controls the driving functions, Normal, Eco & Sport.
The automatic gear lever features Neutral, Reverse, Park & Drive with a brake regeneration function alongside. Simply push the gear stick to the left & back to engage. As far as this goes, it’s very unobtrusive compared to many regen systems we’ve encountered, but does work as it should slowing you down as you approach junctions or roundabouts & re-charging the battery.
There’s also some function buttons located at the front of the opening armrest, which are a little awkward to reach. Luckily, the climate controls are separate & are located underneath the screen for easy access.
The Lexus SatNav is pretty good, but as the UX range now offer’s Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity, utilising Google Maps & easier hands-free phone use is available too. Bluetooth connectivity means that accessing music or podcasts from your phone is easy as well.
Interior space up front is great, with the wraparound dashboard still leaving plenty of knee & legroom. You don’t actually sit as high up in the UX as many competitors & it doesn’t feel like you’re in an SUV. Rear passenger space is a little compromised, especially if you’re sat behind a tall front passenger. The centre most rear seat suffers the most, as it’s higher than the outer seats & is only large enough for a small teen or younger.
Cabin storage is also average. There’s a smallish glovebox, twin front door bins, a decent cubby under the central armrest which cleverly opens both ways & hides the USB connection plus a couple of cup holders. Rear-seat passengers get nothing other than two rear seat pockets. The rear seats spit 60:40 & the flat boot floor mean loading or unloading is easy. The UX300e offers 367 litres of space which is 47 litres more than in the hybrid version. You also get a bag inside in which fits two charging cables, so this does eat into some of that extra space.
On the road
The best thing about the UX300e is it’s handling. The UX although a crossover/SUV, sits quite low to the ground & even with the heavy battery, it’s small stature means it’s actually fun to drive. It hugs corners tightly & springs out of them quickly, putting a smile on your face. In the confines of metropolitan driving it’s also a hit. The cabin is well insulated from outside noise & in the city, especially at lower speeds or stuck in traffic, the car is amazingly quiet. At anything under 20mph progress is serene & the UX’s size makes it easy to park as well.
As a motorway cruiser, longer distances are eaten up with adaptive cruise control a real bonus when traffic gets heavier. You’d struggle to find a better quality cabin in the class to be in. As with other EV’s though, driving steadily at anything in excess of 70 mph means that battery range runs down quicker than you’d like. When fully charged, Lexus claim a range of around 190 miles for the UX300e. We’d say that driving conservatively , 160-170 miles is more realistic.
Rear passenger space is tight & the boot’s a little small. Mid & range toppers are expensive. We’d suggest leasing the entry level model as your company car makes the most sense.
BIK & fuel savings
For company car drivers looking at premium electric cars, the UX330e comes with zero CO2 emissions & a BIK in year one of 0%. Factor in the reduced cost of EV charging compared to buying petrol & a substantial saving per annum can be made. Set up a discounted night time electricity charging rate, such as Octopus Go & you can charge your UX300e from 12.30 am to 04.30 am at just 5p a kWh.
The electric Lexus UX300e is great to drive, is brilliantly put together & looks the part. Furthermore, the lack of a direct electric competitor, from the like’s of the Audi Q2, BMW X2, Mercedes GLA or Volvo XC40, means that in it’s category, it’s actually a first.
Thanks to Lexus Stockport for the UX300e loan