2021 Lexus UX300e
Isolation station Posh EV’s relaxing silence gives you space to think of where else your money could go.
Once proudly pioneering, now more of a follower, long-time hybrid champion Lexus has finally built a full-electric car – and it looks exactly like a normal UX. Whereas Lexus show cars tend to be bracingly weird, this is very much a case of replacing the internal-combustion hardware with an electric motor and a battery under the floor. It has the same interior as the familiar hybrid UX, too, with the same excellent comfort, impeccable build quality and fiddly touchpad- based infotainment system.
The logic is clear enough. Lexus is killing off the CT hatch and IS saloon in the UK, a market favouring SUV body styles. So the UX is its entry model, and having a full-electric version in the line-up gives buyers an alternative to the likes of the Tesla Model 3.
The qualities already associated with Lexus – luxury, comfort, tech – are relatively easy to deliver with an electric powertrain. So the 300e is even quieter than the already quiet UX hybrid, and you get the bonus of a bigger boot.
Drive with restraint and it is supremely relaxing. All very grown-up and sensible – until you floor the throttle, and the e-motor’s 221lb ft of torque is more than enough to get the front wheels scampering and scrabbling for grip like a greyhound leaping out of its starting box. That can be fun, so long as you can ignore the angel on your shoulder telling you to save e-range. So it’s a pity that the chassis isn’t really interested in fun. The steering has an artificial feel, and there’s gentle (yet still unsettling) pitching and leaning during acceleration or vigorous cornering. And be wary of Takumi spec, which brings 18-inch wheels that make the ride border on firm and inject some road noise.
You can adjust brake regeneration on the fly via wheel-mounted paddles or the B mode on the gear selector. A range of 196 miles, and a fast charge that can be complete within an hour, minimise the two biggest faffs of EV ownership. The £44k price (pre-government grant) puts it up against the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2. Optimistic. Go un-premium and you can get a top-spec Peugeot e-2008 for far less, and Ford’s Mustang Mach-E promises a larger car with bigger range for £40k. All that is hard to ignore.
Nippy, refined and makes more sense as an EV than a hybrid, but Peugeot will do you a stylish EV crossover for £10k less
PLUS + Refined interior; zippy powertrain; boot bigger than the hybrid version
MINUS — Floaty handling; ride a bit lumpy; rivals better value.
As close to the hybrid as Lexus could make it, but even quieter
POWERTRAIN 54.4kWh battery, single e-motor, front-wheel drive
201bhp, 221lb ft, 7.5sec
ON SALE First deliveries
Data early 2021
EFFICIENCY 3.7 miles per kWh, 196-mile range, 0g/km CO2
THE FIRST HOUR
2 minutes Irritating Lexus infotainment, we meet again
13 minutes ESC light working overtime on traffic light drag races
18 minutes Eco mode seems to do absolutely nothing
20 minutes Extra regen via the paddles is only temporary, too
38 minutes It’s truly quiet in here… let’s just relax
54 minutes Calming and unobtrusive, but less appealing than the Polestar 2