Lexus UX 300e review

Category: Electric car

The fully electric version of the Lexus UX is good to drive but rivals have much better ranges

Lexus UX 300e front right driving
  • Lexus UX 300e front right driving
  • Lexus UX 300e rear driving
  • Lexus UX 300e test drive
  • Lexus UX 300e boot
  • Lexus UX 300e driver display
  • Lexus UX 300e front driving
  • Lexus UX 300e front right driving
  • Lexus UX 300e rear right driving
  • Lexus UX 300e front right static
  • Lexus UX 300e right static
  • Lexus UX 300e rear left static
  • Lexus UX 300e grille
  • Lexus UX 300e headlights
  • Lexus UX 300e alloy wheel
  • Lexus UX 300e rear detail
  • Lexus UX 300e rear badge
  • Lexus UX 300e front seats
  • Lexus UX 300e back seats
  • Lexus UX 300e steering wheel detail
  • Lexus UX 300e infotainment touchscreen
  • Lexus UX 300e air-con controls
  • Lexus UX 300e gearshift
  • Lexus UX 300e front right driving
  • Lexus UX 300e rear driving
  • Lexus UX 300e test drive
  • Lexus UX 300e boot
  • Lexus UX 300e driver display
  • Lexus UX 300e front driving
  • Lexus UX 300e front right driving
  • Lexus UX 300e rear right driving
  • Lexus UX 300e front right static
  • Lexus UX 300e right static
  • Lexus UX 300e rear left static
  • Lexus UX 300e grille
  • Lexus UX 300e headlights
  • Lexus UX 300e alloy wheel
  • Lexus UX 300e rear detail
  • Lexus UX 300e rear badge
  • Lexus UX 300e front seats
  • Lexus UX 300e back seats
  • Lexus UX 300e steering wheel detail
  • Lexus UX 300e infotainment touchscreen
  • Lexus UX 300e air-con controls
  • Lexus UX 300e gearshift
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by
Dan Jones
Published14 June 2024

Introduction

What Car? says...

The Lexus UX 300e looks, on paper, like a car destined for success. After all it’s an electric SUV crossover and cars don’t get more in vogue than that.

However, we must point out that Lexus doesn’t see the UX 300e as a rival for the likes of the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Niro EV – or even the VW ID 4. Instead it’s focused on the premium electric car segment, where it's up against the Polestar 2 and Volvo EX40.

That might seem like a bit of a leap at first, but when you consider that the entry-level UX 300e costs more than a Tesla Model 3 RWD (or Long Range if you add the Premium Plus Pack) it only seems fair to compare the UX 300e with premium-brand propositions.

It’s going to have its work cut out, so does it really have what it takes to come out on top against the best electric SUVs?

That’s what we’re going to find out, as we put the Lexus UX 300e through its paces in key areas such as performance, range and practicality. Read on to find out how it got on...

Overview

We can see how the Lexus UX 300e’s reliability, equipment levels and pleasant driving characteristics would make it a tempting proposition. However, its tiny range, slow charging and lack of practicality make it very hard to justify at the price

  • Well-equipped
  • Comfortable ride
  • Reliability record
  • Shorter range than rivals
  • Charges up more slowly than rivals
  • Cramped rear seat space and boot
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Strengths

  • +Peppy enough off the line
  • +Comfortable ride

Weaknesses

  • -Limited electric range
  • -Slower than rivals

The Lexus UX 300e's main battery has an increased usable capacity of 64kWh (earlier versions made do with 54kWh) and powers one electric motor driving the front wheels.

That delivers 201bhp and 221lb ft of torque, and its 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds makes it quicker than some cheaper electric SUVs such as the Peugeot e-2008 – but quite a lot slower than a Polestar 2, Tesla Model Y or Volvo EX40.

In other words, it feels peppy rather than downright rapid off the line, although if the road is wet, the UX 300e relies quite heavily on its traction control system to prevent its front wheels from spinning up. Once you get up to motorway speeds, acceleration starts to tail off a bit.

There are several drive modes to choose from (Sport provides the best accelerator response) as well as various regenerative braking modes that slow the car when you lift off the accelerator. You can toggle through the various levels of regeneration by using paddles behind the steering wheel, although none of them are strong enough to allow one-pedal driving.

Perhaps if the regen effect on the UX 300e was a little stronger, it might take you further on a single battery charge. In our Real Range test it covered 273 miles, finishing above only the Jeep Avenger Electric and Lexus RZ 450e. For reference, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range managed 390 miles.

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If charging up and worrying about range isn't for you, there is a hybrid version of the UX. To read about that, see our Lexus UX review.

To handle the extra weight added by the electric version’s batteries, the UX 300e has extra structural bracing and its dampers have been reworked to maintain optimum weight distribution.

Just don’t go into a test drive thinking this is a sporty option: it’s tidy enough through corners but there’s plenty of body lean and the steering is light and has little sense of connection to the wheel. The fat and squidgy steering-wheel rim doesn’t help that sense of disconnect.

Still, the soft suspension delivers a respectable ride, especially on a motorway, where the car adopts a pleasant relaxed gait. In town it struggles a little to round off the kicks and knocks generated by sharper-edged potholes and ridges, but it’s more comfortable than the Polestar 2.

Lexus UX 300e rear driving

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Strengths

  • +Decent driving position
  • +Infotainment has lots of features

Weaknesses

  • -Rivals seat you higher up
  • -Visibility could be better

The Lexus UX 300e provides an acceptable rather than outstanding driving position, although even the entry-level UX trim comes with eight-way electric seat adjustment including lumbar support.

If you want an elevated SUV driving position, you won’t find it here. Indeed, the UX 300e seats you barely higher than the Polestar 2. You’ll want to check out the Tesla Model Y, VW ID 4 or Volvo EX40 if sitting high up is your idea of bliss.

That doesn't aid rear visibility, and nor does the kicked up rear window line, all of which makes over-the-shoulder visibility very limited. All models come with front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera to help mitigate the problem. The top-spec Takumi Pack upgrades the camera to a 360-degree one.

While the UX 300e is designed to look distinctive inside, we’d prefer that to be backed up with a little more substance. While it feels sturdily made and there are plush, soft-touch finishes on the dashboard and doors, there’s also far too much scratchy plastic on display lower down for a car at this price point.

The standard 7in infotainment touchscreen you get with most trims is small by class standards (the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y get 15in screens) and its resolution isn’t as good as rivals'. Happily, the larger 10.3in display that comes as standard with the Takumi pack is better.

Both systems come with plenty of standard kit, including built-in sat-nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring (so you can bypass the Lexus infotainment software, which is a bit convoluted).

Lexus UX 300e test drive

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Strengths

  • +Plenty of space in the front

Weaknesses

  • -Poor rear-seat space
  • -Small boot

There's plenty of head and leg room up front in the Lexus UX 300e but rear passenger space is poor. Not only do the narrow rear door openings make it tricky to get in and out, but the footwells are very tight and anyone approaching 6ft tall will find their knees pressed up against the seat backs. 

That's with just two adults in the rear. Try fitting three adults in the back of a UX and it'll be a real struggle for the middle passenger. The middle rear seat is higher than the outer two, reducing head room. The Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y, VW ID 4 and Volvo EX40 all serve their rear-seat passengers far better.

The UX 300e's boot is a useful square shape, has no awkward load lip at its entrance and has a convenient hidden cubby for the charging cable under the floor. However, all that's undermined by the small main luggage compartment. 

Granted, it’s not as diminutive as the boot in the hybrid Lexus UX (the UX 300e's is 47 litres bigger) but it's vastly smaller than you get in most electric SUVs. We managed to fit a pitiful four carry-on suitcases beneath the UX 300e’s flimsy tonneau cover – many rivals manage seven or more.

Passenger storage is reasonable but not superb. There's a smallish glovebox and front door bins, along with a decent cubby under the central armrest and a couple of cup holders.

Rear-seat passengers are served with a couple of map pockets but no door bins. Indeed, most rival cars are more spacious and practical.

Lexus UX 300e boot

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Strengths

  • +Lots of standard equipment
  • +Plenty of safety kit
  • +Great reliability record

Weaknesses

  • -Rivals can charge faster
  • -Expensive to buy
  • -Depreciates quickly

As a cash purchase, the Lexus UX 300e is one of the more expensive propositions, costing way more than the Kia Niro EV and Peugeot e-2008. If you’re still set on getting one, make sure you get the best price by checking our Lexus deals page.

Before you do, it’s worth noting that the UX 300e is set to depreciate really quickly and far faster than any of its rivals. That can have an effect on PCP finance rates, pushing up the amount you’ll pay each month compared with cars that hold their value better. 

You do at least get a lot of standard kit. It’s a shame the entry-level model misses out on keyless entry, but most buyers will opt for our recommended Premium Plus Pack trim level, which brings luxuries such as leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outer rear seats, rear privacy glass, keyless entry and a wireless phone-charger.

Takumi spec is equipped with the larger, 10.3in infotainment touchscreen, more advanced LED headlights, an upgraded sound system, a head-up display, a hands-free tailgate and a sunroof, but it costs far too much to be recommended. 

Every version comes with Lexus’s Safety System Plus package, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, automatic high beam and road-sign detection. Takumi pack also brings blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert sensors to warn you of anything crossing your path as you reverse.

What is less ideal is the maximum charging rate. The UX 300e is equipped with a Type 2 socket that will allow you to plug into your home EV charger which should get your battery from empty to full in about 11 hours.

However, the UX’s rapid charging tops out at 50kW, which will get you an 80% charge in around one hour, 30 minutes. That’s very slow compared to the rapid charging offered by the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Polestar 2.

Not only that, but the UX uses a CHAdeMO socket for its DC rapid charging, which can be quite hard to find. CCS is far more prominent because it's the European standard for rapid charging, and is what you’ll find on all of the UX 300e’s rivals.

When the UX was tested for safety by the experts at Euro NCAP it scored the full five stars, and did well for adult and child occupancy protection. 

When it comes to reliability, Lexus gains some serious points: it finished top out of 32 brands in our 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey.

So while the UX's three-year/60,000-mile initial warranty is far from generous, you're unlikely to need it – plus you can extend it by having your car serviced at a main dealer. The UX 300e’s battery is covered for eight years, but a 100,000-mile cap applies.


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Lexus UX 300e driver display

FAQs

  • With a 64.0kWh battery, the UX 300e’s range is pretty disappointing compared with other electric SUVs. In our Real Range Test it managed to travel 273 miles before its battery died – a Tesla Model 3 went more than 100 miles further.

  • The UX 300e is pretty expensive compared to rivals, costing considerably more to buy than the Kia Niro EV and Peugeot e-2008. It’s also predicted to depreciate much more quickly. You can check the latest prices on our New Car Deals pages.

  • It’s certainly positioned that way, with a price that’s way above all of its electric SUV rivals. With that in mind, it doesn’t feel as premium as truly luxurious SUVs.

At a glance
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RRP price range £34,895 - £57,095
Number of trims (see all)9
Number of engines (see all)3
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)hybrid, electric
MPG range across all versions 47 - 56.4
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £95 / £2,942
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £190 / £5,885
Available colours