Lexus have finally made a fully electric car after a long time of just making hybrids to try and appease the green drivers. There has been little effort shown in their fight to welcome the green revolution. It reminds me of Rocky Balboa preparing for his first fight against Clubber Lang in Rocky 3. It was half-hearted and it didn’t end well (spoiler alert).
So, is the new fully electric any good? Have Lexus decided to take the electric revolution seriously or is it just another piecemeal offering to appease the eco crowd? There is only one way to be sure and that’s to review this vehicle. So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you… the Lexus Ux 300e.
Lexus has an excellent reputation when it comes to building really solid looking luxury vehicles. The Lexus Ux 300e is certainly of this mould. The car looks pretty awesome. The sharp edges may not be to everyone’s taste, but I personally like it. The front grille as well looks nicely sculpted and suitably aggressive. One thing it isn’t is aerodynamic, as you would normally find on the front of modern electric cars.
Some of the looks on the Lexus Ux 300e are a bit deceptive. The massive wheel arches, for example, automatically lead you to believe that this SUV crossover will make an excellent off road vehicle. However, the battery is really low lying on this Lexus so you will most likely either get stuck or end up damaging the car if you tried.
So, overall impressions of the outside? It is definitely a well built, solidly put together electric car, which is what you would expect from a manufacturer like Lexus. The car looks, albeit subjectively, very nice. However, it isn’t a car that would automatically wow you, plus the big wheel arches with no practical application is a little disappointing.
Getting Inside the Lexus Ux 300e
The inside of the Lexus Ux 300e is non-offensive. There is little more that you can really say about the decor. Everything seems to be a little dated, from the steering wheel to the strange denim patch on the dashboard. The seats aren’t uncomfortable but they aren’t the height of luxury that you would expect in a car with such a hefty starting price tag (just over £40,000 if you were to get the very base model).
The rear of the cabin is equally bland and devoid of joy that you would hope for in an expensive electric vehicle. So many little things are missing. There are no rear door pockets for storage and the rear of the driver’s seat is missing the storage sleeve that you would normally expect to see. There are also no USB ports for rear passengers.
All-in-all, the decor and layout of the Lexus is… meh. There is not a lot of head room in the rear seats either, and not to mention that, if you are of any height, you can expect your knees to be close to your chin due to the high floor. The shape of the rear and the positioning of the rear window makes rear vision quite restricted for the driver. It’s a good job there are rear parking cameras to help you see where you are going.
Overall, the interior feels like a job half done by Lexus. There is little to write home about.
The Lexus Tech
The dashboard, the steering wheel and pretty much everywhere else in the front is cluttered with more buttons than the runway during button week on RuPaul’s Drag Race. You get the impression. There’s lots of them.
The infotainment screen (excuse me while I let out an exasperated sigh) is possibly the lowlight of the Lexus, matched only by one other feature that I will get to soon. I can only imagine that the designer was playing with a Nintendo Gameboy from the early 90’s and thought that this would be a good graphics look for a state-of-the-art vehicle. The low resolution looks cheap.
You will also find with the infotainment screen that it is not touchscreen. Why on earth Lexus decided not to use touchscreen technology is beyond me. The screen is controlled by a touchpad which is, to put it mildly, glitchy. The screen navigation is not very responsive and the layout very confusing.
And one more thing, the Sat Nav is not included as standard on the Lexus Ux 300e. If you want the model with Sat Nav you will have to fork out a whopping £53,000 for the privilege. However, if you get the top spec model you will also get the heads up display included.
Charging – What Were They Thinking?
Normally I wouldn’t discuss the charging of an electric car under its own separate sub-heading. However, the Lexus Ux 300e deserves a “special” mention. Welcome to my second lowlight of this vehicle.
First of all, there are two charge ports. One on either side of the car. Whoever came up with this idea should have been given a final warning. However, they should definitely be fired for their next “genius” idea.
Okay, so one of the charge ports is for a type 2 charger. This is absolutely fine. It’s the standard and what we would expect from any electric car in the UK. However, and let me catch my breath before I continue, on the second charge port Lexus decided to go with a Chademo charge port and not CCS.
The decision to go for Chademo rather than CCS is absolutely maddening. Firstly, CCS is now the standard for DC charging. Even many of the Asian manufacturers that previously used Chademo are swapping to CCS, and for very good reason too.
The charge from Chademo can only reach 50kW on a good day, whereas CCS currently reaches up to 350kW and could possibly go further than this in the future. There are Chademo charge points in the UK. However, no more will be built as this technology is being phased out in favour of the much more practical CCS. Lexus have shot themselves in the foot with this ludicrous decision.
Will there be a glimmer of hope in the dying Lexus Ux 300e embers when we look at the performance capabilities of the car? Well, yes and no.
For an electric car that starts at just over £40,000 and puts itself in the same category as the Tesla Model 3 and the Polestar 2, for example, you would expect a good range on the Lexus. You would be wrong though. This Lexus electric car has a WLTP range of 196 miles. However, 196 miles is even more wildly over optimistic than an England football fan during every World Cup Finals since 1966. A real world range of 150 miles in good weather and a mere 120 miles in winter is what you can expect in real world terms.
The top speed of the Lexus is a respectable 100mph. Yes, other cars can go a lot faster. However, after 70mph this figure becomes largely irrelevant. The acceleration is also pretty good on the Lexus. It’s not earth shattering, but it does the job.
The steering in the Lexus Ux 300e does feel solid on the straight roads. The car is also more comfortable over potholes and imperfections in the road than a lot of rivals. The car blocks noise out really well too. Nice.
However, when cornering or driving in wet conditions, the wheels can feel quite slippy. Even with traction control on, your heart will skip beats in certain conditions. There are three driving modes to choose from. Eco, normal and sports. Sports mode, unfortunately, is not very sporty at all.
The Lexus Ux 300e does have regenerative braking. However, if you were hoping for one pedal driving you will be hugely disappointed. This car will not come to a complete stop using the regen. This is another feature you would expect from a premium luxury electric car on the current market.
What is Left to Say?
Something Lexus is well known for is their excellent customer service. We are sure that this will continue to be the case for any car they produce. However, it takes a lot more than good customer service to make a good electric car.
Lexus have come in late and they have come in with a whimper. The Lexus Ux 300e has 1992 graphics in a 2012 style car that is being sold at 2022 prices. To put it in layman’s terms, they need to give their head a wobble and start from scratch. Lexus is a great legacy car maker. They are more than capable of producing a top level electric car. Unfortunately, the Lexus Ux 300e is not it.
There are many electric cars in the same price bracket or cheaper that are so much better. The Tesla Model 3, the Polestar 2, the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Kia EV6 just to name a few. All of these alternative cars are available to hire from EVision Electric Vehicles and they never disappoint.
Sorry Lexus. You’ve lost the eye of the tiger and, metaphorically, Clubber Lang has knocked you to the canvas in the first round. Let’s see if you come to the rematch better prepared.
* All information correct as of 13/05/2022.