Lexus UX 300e: Minimum risk taking
Ok, that’s a bit cliché, but the choice of this color is not so trivial. An electric blue is, I find, rather suitable for this type of vehicle. At the same time, the differences with the thermal version can be counted on the fingers of the hand. Because apart from a badge on the sills and the blue strapping of the logo, nothing more.
The brand’s design (like that of Toyota) has always been apart. Despite everything, it remains recognizable by this gaping X-shaped grille and its taut lines, contrasting with a rather sober light signature. Although the whole looks tortured, we must admit that it imposes in the rearview mirror.
In profile, the UX 300e looks pretty slender, but honestly, I’ll never get used to the square shape of the wheel arches. The 18-inch rims, standard on our top-of-the-range finish (Executive), seem to be drowned there.
The rear is visually more successful, with shapes reminiscent of the X of the front face, while integrating a large light strip. The latter connects the lights to the worked design and overflowing on the rear fenders.
Once the culture shock has passed, stylistically speaking, a second shock is offered to us with the interior and its ergonomics. The dashboard is visually loaded and shows a certain blow of old, compared to the competition.
We suspected that by resuming the base of theUX, Lexus was not going to revolutionize his vehicle, but rather propose a slight evolution of the latter in order to limit costs. After all, if Bmw was able to succeed with the iX3 (read our essay here), why not.
But this only works if the database is already up to date. However, the main complaint when you take a seat on board comes from the central console and its screen. Because in 2021, not offering a touch screen is disturbing. We must therefore manage the commands via a keypad with haptic feedback, located on the central tunnel. If the feeling is pleasant, it quickly becomes boring to use, forcing you to take your eyes off the road too often.
In addition, in the manner of the Volkswagen ID.3, the dial for managing the driving modes (which are Eco, Comfort and Sport) is located behind the steering wheel. For the nod to the Lexus LFA, it’s nice, but practical side, it is to be reviewed.
Despite these points, the Lexus UX 300e still has arguments to seduce. Starting with a comfortable driving position, thanks to the softness and support of the leather seats, but also to a good quality of finish. There are foamed materials and serious assemblies. The only difference with the thermal version is a less imposing gear lever.
The space in the rear seats undergoes the grafting of the batteries under the floor, with 16 mm less at the level of the heads while the trunk volume is increasing. Strangely yes, the latter gains 47 l and now reaches 367 l. But compared to the size of the vehicle (4.50 m long all the same), it remains little when the Volvo XC40 and the VW ID.4 offer more than 400 liters…
Lexus UX 300e: A generation behind
Yes, and that’s the problem Lexus is having. Because the technical part is simply taken from another vehicle, with battery technology from the Toyota prius. Still, theUX 300e has 204 hp, which is enough to move this type of vehicle, with a 0 to 100 km / h shot in 7.5 s.
In use, it blends into traffic without too much difficulty, taking advantage of 300 Nm of instantaneous torque and popular driving aids such as blind spot warning or emergency braking. There again, one would have thought that this 1st electric vehicle would bring its share of innovation, but it is satisfied only with the minimum.
Good point however for this UX300e which makes the effort to treat all interior noise as well as soundproofing. At low and high speed, this electric SUV protects your ears and your lower back. It’s a pity that he ignores the piloted suspension which would have allowed him to be a little more agile in intense driving.
Simple traction, the front axle is a little lazy, lacks agility in the bends and collects the torque moderately when you press seriously on the accelerator. Braking, however, is better and more reassuring than on other electric vehicles, with quick pedal response and good bite.
Still, with a top speed restricted to 160 km / h, we will not be able to ask a lot of it and that would harm the battery even more. And we must keep it, because if it is approved at 315 km in WLTP cycle, we were only able to get out of it 250 km, and that by making concessions on the air conditioning. In short … our average consumption is good, but the capacity of the accumulators frankly limits its range.
The management of the electrical part and the battery goes against the grain of what is being done, immediately reducing 10% of the remaining autonomy when you activate (even at a minimum) the air conditioning … and which reappears as if by magic as soon as you deactivate it. Thing that does not happen if you use the seats as the heated steering wheel …
The UX 300e is definitely not like the others, because it should be noted that it offers paddles on the steering wheel in order to manage energy recovery (unlike some manufacturers). Unfortunately, this brake does not make it possible to bring the vehicle to a complete stop and therefore to play the eco-driving card to the full.
In fact, a playful side is sorely lacking in this electric part, because this SUV is stingy in settings and information. This also means that it does not translate the energy that you recover and does not offer automatic energy recovery as much. In short, it is the minimum union.
Finally, for recharging, Lexus allows you to use different outlets, but is satisfied with a quick recharge to 50 kWh where some competitors are cash 100 or even 120 kWh on a Volkswagen ID.4.
This is still sufficient, however, as you will be able to recharge up to 80% of the battery in 50 minutes. It was possible for us to do this without incident on charging stations implemented in town using the Chargemap application. Of course, the Lexus GPS can suggest and find the charging stations, but this will remain less precise and practical than on the mobile application.
Lexus UX 300e: Watch out for the painful
Theoretically, the Lexus UX 300e does not have a direct competitor, if we compare size, positioning and price. But with prices starting at 49,990 euros, the prospect will perhaps look twice, especially when we know that the ecological bonus is reduced for vehicles over 45,000 euros.
Available in 3 finishes and only in 2-wheel drive (where the UX250 offers 4WD), the first trim level has dynamic cruise control, line-keeping assistance or even the reversing camera and dual-zone automatic air conditioning.
Our test model in high “Executive” finish sees its prices start at 61,990 euros. Certainly, you have a maximum of equipment…, but that is almost the norm with other manufacturers.
Comparatively, the new VW ID.4 Max (admittedly with a slightly less qualitative finish) has a 77 kWh battery (announced range of 500 km in WLTP cycle) and a plethora of equipment for this finish (panoramic roof, massaging seats, touch screen of 12 inches…).
Volvo side, the recent XC40 offers a range of 416 km and a 0 to 100 km / h in 4.9 s for a price starting at 56,150 euros, or an equivalent to the mid-range of the Lexus, billed him, 54,990 euros. No need to go further to understand that the UX 300e will suffer from too high a price positioning.
But, it keeps a trump card up its sleeve, with 8-year (or 160,000 km) battery warranty, 3-year vehicle coverage and 5-year (or 100,000 km) powertrain coverage. Also knowing that Toyota and Lexus no longer have their reputation for reliability, it is perhaps this last asset that could interest you the most.