European automotive outlets have driven the Lexus UX 300e, the first full-electric offering from our favorite Japanese luxury brand. Reviews are a mixed bag, let’s start off with a positive look from Top Gear:
A solid effort at a full pure electric vehicle from Lexus. It’s quiet, efficient enough, makes good use of the advantages of the drivetrain and is a relaxing car to drive. There’s not a huge amount of surprise and delight – it feels like ‘just’ an electric UX, and you wonder what Lexus might be able to do with a bespoke EV platform given the opportunity. Which it likely will have in the not-too-distant future.
Interestingly, Lexuses have always suited slick and quiet motivation, so the application of electric feels entirely in-keeping with the brand – it feels very natural to be piloting a Lexus BEV.
Autocar was less enthusiastic:
To handle the extra weight of the batteries, extra bracing has been added over the regular UX hybrid and the dampers reworked to maintain optimum weight distribution, but don’t go thinking the UX 300e is a ‘sporty’ proposition. The steering is accurate enough but lacks feel, the brakes are a bit mushy, and although it changes direction keenly enough, there’s plenty of body roll if you go thundering in to a tight corner. This soft set-up does at least deliver a respectable ride, especially around town.
Auto Express ran counter to Autocar, with a seemingly opposite experience:
On the road, that 201bhp output and the electric motor’s instant torque feel nicely suited to a car of the UX’s size – even one that now weighs 1,840kg. The delivery is punchy enough for the front wheels to scrabble a little under hard acceleration, but it’s easy to avoid this while still enjoying swift pace.
The steering has a pleasing weight to it and it’s direct; the UX’s body roll is kept nicely in check, too. Were it not for the usual shortage of communication from the front wheels, this would be a mildly entertaining car on a twisty road.
Car Magazine liked the UX 300e well enough, but was hung up on the price:
Lexus’ (soon-to-be) smallest car is a great place to start for offering an EV, and we’d even brave saying the UX makes better sense as one than a hybrid. It’s powerful enough, range is plentiful enough and you’re treated to a small and fashionable crossover with a supremely well put-together interior. But there are plenty of cheaper, longer reaching or more practical small EVs out there for similar dosh.