The interior layout, fit and finish
Slip behind the wheel of the UX300e and you'll find an acceptable, rather than outstanding, driving position. Entry-level UX trim comes as standard with eight-way electric seat adjustment and variable lumbar support. However, the seat is narrow and doesn't grab you at the sides to hold you in place through corners like the sportier pews in the Polestar 2 do.
If you crave the elevated driving position that many do from an SUV, the UX300e won't quite fit the bill. You sit barely any higher from the ground than you do in a Polestar 2, and lower than you do in a Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric. That fact doesn't aid rear visibility either, and nor does the kicked-up rear window line; it limits over-the-shoulder vision. All models come with front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera to help mitigate this problem, and bright LED headlights are at hand, too.
While the UX300e is designed to look distinctive inside, we’d prefer this apparent attention to detail to be backed up with a little more substance. While it feels sturdily made, and there are plush soft-touch finishes to the dashboard and doors, there’s also far too much scratchy plastic on display lower down for a car at this price point.
Another major sticking point, and one that’s common to other Lexus models, is the UX’s infotainment system. The standard 7.0in screen is tiny by class standards (for reference the Tesla Model 3 gets a huge 15.0in system, while the Polestar 2 gets an 11.0in screen), and both it and the 10.3in display that comes as standard with the Takumi pack are of low resolution next to the sharp and clear screens found in nearly every other rival.
Then there are its convoluted menus to deal with, which are made even more frustrating by the fiddly laptop-style touchpad via which it's navigated. It's more distracting to use than a touchscreen, and it's far less intuitive than the rotary controller of the iDrive infotainment system in the BMW i3.
At least there are some shortcut buttons around the centre armrest that make it easier to swap between the main functions, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring are standard, allowing you to use the navigation software on your phone. That’s handy as you need to spec the Takumi pack if you want in-built sat-nav. The Takumi pack also brings with it a head-up display and a 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound system that sounds very good.
Practical, good to drive and has a longer range than its close...