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Lexus UX300e: Long-term test review


It’s early days for Lexus, but it looks like the car has a good mix of dependable practical range and a surprising level of practicality. The public charging network is also doing well – so far.

Thanks to a relatively early push towards hybrid powertrains, Lexus perhaps the best known premium manufacturer of electrification. And now Toyotaenemy of Audi, BMW car and Mercedes is about to embark on a big move towards pure electric propulsion. You’ll read in this issue about the brand’s ambitious plans for the rest of the decade – but the process has already begun, with UX300e.

It may seem like a hesitant toe in the water in the face of what’s to come, but this is Lexus’ first full-fledged EV – although one is sold alongside another. common hybrid version. The UX300e is a kid’s SUV designed primarily for urban use, so it’s compact – just 4.5 meters long – and battery and range. relatively modest (54kWh and 196 miles). And I will decide to put these raw specs to the test in the coming months.

I live in south London and like many potential tram buyers, I don’t have a wall box at home. So the challenge that lies ahead is to see how convenient life with an EV can be when you’re using public charging points most of the time – though Lexus’ life won’t be limited to trips. Go around the outskirts of the capital.

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Over the summer I shared part of an apartment near the south coast, and after a few months of renovations and decorations, it’s finally time for me and my partner Dave to start enjoying the place. The loose plan is to drive down to the apartment with a full battery, then use some nearby charging point to top up the 54kWh for the journey home and the following days.

The Lexus has a fairly straightforward range of trim levels, and our version is the third one up the ladder – essentially the same specs-average, but with 18-inch alloys – so it’s has the full Takumi version on top of it. There’s still more than enough standard kit though, with four USB ports, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and soft leather upholstery.

Initial impressions are positive, but not as common. The UX300e is very smooth driving around town and even on the highway. The brake energy recovery system is simple to use, while the car’s cabin also impresses me; indeed, the UX closely resembles the Tardis in its ability to shrink the body around a relatively spacious interior. I noticed another example of a car on the road the other day, and thought it was a different model than the one I was sitting in; it’s really spacious, at least for a couple and their luggage for a weekend.

Something else that has gone down well is the styling. While I’m still not quite sold on Lexus’ oversized grille, even as we took the pictures you see here, three separate passersby commented on how good the UX looks. – especially in the £570 Terrane Khaki paint option. I pay particular attention to the rear, with its dramatic taillights and sharp, intricate bodywork.

The biggest draw we have by far is the infotainment. For many years, Lexus has enjoyed a reputation in this area, but Auto Express road testers assure me that it has been and is making big improvements.

Even so, the screen isn’t the largest in this class, nor is it the sharpest. I’m also living without the built-in sat-nav because the Lexus connect service app on my smartphone has stopped working.

At least we can connect our iPhone to navigate through Apple CarPlay – a useful alternative that Lexus didn’t offer on any of its vehicles until a recent comparison.

Of course, having an electric car delivered as soon as UK winter kicks in is probably not ideal. But while the Lexus’ range is indeed modest, the car is at least honest about it. After driving including highways and, yes, some miles with the heating up, the UX300e still predicts just over 180 miles on a full charge. That kind of accuracy and reliability could prove very important in the coming months.

On the fleet since: November 2021
New price: £45,995
Engine: 1 x electronic motor, 54kWh
0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
Max speed:
CO2 / tax: 0g/km/£0
Option: Paint Terrane Kaki (£570)
Insurrance*: Group: 38E Quote: £510
Mileage: 3.141
Any problems? Far-out

*Insurance quote for a 42-year-old living in Banbury, Oxon, for three points.

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