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The Lexus UX 300e is a compact luxury crossover SUV from Lexus that happens to be their first all-electric car. Oh, how very wrong it is to be prejudiced. The UX—emphatically—proves to be quite the complete car.

Lexus UX 300e

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

Lexus UX 300e

Admit it. We’ve been hearing a lot about Lexus cars over time and a lot more about electric cars over the recent years. After spending time with the premium Japanese models, however, any prejudice tends to vaporise. With the latter in terms of a “fuel”, there is still a lot left wanting. Electric charging is still in a nascent, chicken-and-egg stage. However, as a power source, there are some inherent—and undeniable—benefits. Electric motor cars are quick!

Lexus UX 300e

The Lexus UX is the smallest model with an SUV body style in the premium Japanese brand’s line-up. At less than 4.5 metres long with a 2,640-millimetre wheelbase, the UX has a rather compact footprint. Yet, it’s wide but low, making for good road presence and an aerodynamic form. The new take on the Spindle grille, the Lexus logo with the blue surround, and LED lighting are joined by a flowing profile with prominent lines and creases and sharp 18-inch wheels in 225/50 rubber. The low-slung but wide design wraps up in a neat tail with protruding tail-light clusters. It’s a strikingly attractive package.

Lexus UX 300e interior

The Lexus UX 300e interior is among the highlights of the car. The seats are wide and supportive at the front. The ergonomics are excellent and the overall comfort is high, albeit a little snug. The rear is not as spacious but can fit two average adults with space in the centre seat available. The UX is not based on the new electric architecture, but is one that is shared with its combustion and hybrid siblings; hence the centre tunnel. Snug comfort combines with unique material and intuitive control elements. Lexus have—thankfully—incorporated buttons, knobs, screens, and a touchpad for access to car functions. It has a nicely sized wheel with controls on the spokes as well as paddles to trigger energy recuperation.

Lexus UX 300e motor

Bringing the power is a 355-volt lithium-ion battery pack with an energy density of 54.35 kWh. The electric motor driving the car is a 150-kW unit good for 204 hp and 300 Nm; figures on a par with a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine these days. The motor drives the front axle and can get the Lexus UX 300e from standstill to 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 160 km/h. At 1,840 kilograms, the UX 300e is not all that heavy. Then again, it’s not all that large either. The size puts it in the league of the Volvo XC40 Recharge and the forthcoming BMW iX1.

The WLTP-rated range for the Lexus UX 300e is just over 300 kilometres and, with an indicated 260 km on a full charge—which took 23 hours, almost an entire day, on an AC trickle charge—it should be good for that figure plus about 20-30 per cent more with recoup as I have learned from experience. That is spot on with the WLTP figure. Just to clarify, there are two chargers, one on either side: CHAdeMO under the right flap, and CCS (Combined Charging System) under the left one. It can charge at up to 50 kW DC, which takes just about half an hour for 50 per cent capacity.

To enter, the keyless entry is cool, but one needs the key in hand to tap against the start button on the dashboard. Only then does the car unlock itself and prepare for “ignition”. Push the start button and there’s silence as the screens and systems power up and the air-conditioning is the only sound there is, with a buzz from the seatbelt reminder chiming in.

Lexus UX 300e

More on page 2 >

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible future.
t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia

 

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