Test Drive: The New Lexus UX300e
Ian Lamming sparks up a new relationship with the Lexus UX300e
THIS must be what it is like to be hard of hearing as I pull away in Lexus’ new all-electric UX with absolutely no sound – it’s eery, but in a good way.
Battery-powered Electric Vehicles are not just coming our way, they are here and the UX300e is an absolute beauty.
I always loved the Lexus UX hybrid for its total lack of bulk, its pristine build quality and super dynamics. Lexus love to do things differently and the UX is no exception, it feels unique and the all-electric version takes that to a new level.
Gliding along silently is nothing new to UX owners as the hybrid switches on to EV in towns and when cruising. Only when pressed does the petrol motor come to play.
Moving that one step further to the full electric will come easy to all concern with no internal combustion engine under the hood to spoil the quiet.
UXe really is supremely smooth and quiet. It is also very, very swift with power coming instantly the second you breathe on the throttle. The power is very controllable too, in fact, it’s more of a dial than a throttle.
By selecting ‘B’ there is little need to brake either as the car slows markedly when lifting off the accelerator regenerating the kinetic energy from this retardation into the bargain and shoving it straight back into the battery.
So there’s no noise from the motor and no vibration either. That just leaves road and wind noise to ruin the party. Not a problem with UX as there isn’t any of that either. The super-streamlined modern looks also cheat the wind and somehow engineers have been able to filter any interference from the road. Bump thump is completely swallowed whole and there’s next to nothing transferred from the grainy nature of asphalt so the cabin is an oasis of calm.
Range; everyone is obsessed with it and a 100 per cent charge of the UX equates to 165 miles…or does it? Well? Turn off the climate control and anything else that requires juice and that figure easily jumps up to almost 200 giving UX a decent enough range.
It is fast becoming time to stop worrying about the nation’s infrastructure, or lack of it. Will I find a charger, will it be working, will it be available or will there be a long queue. Enough is enough for me. I’m just going to get a home charger fitted. Then the car becomes another appliance to be charged at the end of the day, in fact through the night when the tariffs are lowest, like the phone, the MacBook, the iPad, the camera batteries, so it is ready and willing for the following day during which I will enjoy sailing past petrol stations and their ransom holding prices-per-litre.
UX300e looks like the Hybrid and there’s nothing wrong in that. I saw one in black the other day with black wheels and it was even more eye-catching and sporty. It remains thoroughly modern and distinctive and you will be proud to see it on the drive.
The interior is like the inside of an obsessive’s brain and is simply magnificent. Quality is like no other and better than all-comers, it reigns supreme. Ergonomics are perfect and the dash appealing to the eye. The mousepad takes a bit of getting used to but becomes fine once you do. It is so tactile and even boasts aural qualities such as the correct ‘thunk’ of the door. Love it!
UX benefits from an army of Takumi craftsmen who check every facet in a dedicated quiet room and adjust if necessary, before the car is allowed out. Fastidious or what? Why aren’t all cars made this way – but they are not.
Build quality uses the principles of ‘engawa’, a Japanese architectural concept connecting the inside and outside seamlessly, ‘and kansei’ engineering, aiming to create an emotional bond between the customer and the product. And do you know what? It does.
Lexus UX300e makes you doubt your senses, particularly your hearing, yet in so many ways heightens your others – it is eery but in ever such a good way.
Engine: Twin electric motors
Power: 204bhp combined
Max speed: 99mph
Transmission: CVT Automatic
CO2 g/km: 0
Price: from £51,345.00