Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The Lexus UX300e has a 54.3kWh battery and an electric motor that powers the front wheels. It delivers 201bhp and 221lb ft of torque, and its 0-62mph time of 7.5sec makes it quicker than cheaper electric SUVs such as the Peugeot e-2008, but significantly slower than a Tesla Model 3, Polestar 2 or Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric.
In other words, it feels peppy off the line – in fact, if the road is wet, the UX relies quite heavily on its traction control system to prevent its front wheels from spinning up – but once you get up to motorway speeds acceleration does start to tail off a bit.
There are several drive modes to choose from (of which Sport provides the best accelerator response), as well as various energy regeneration regimes that car slow the car down simply by lifting off the accelerator. You can toggle through the various levels of brake regeneration by using the paddles behind the steering wheel.
This makes it easy to use, as you can slow the car down progressively, as you might by downshifting in a car with an automatic gearbox. Even in its most aggressive mode, the UX300e’s brake regeneration isn’t pronounced enough to allow 'one-pedal driving' like the Volvo XC40 Recharge system does.
Perhaps if the 'regen' effect on the UX300e was a little stronger, it might make the power reserves of its 54.3kWh battery go a little further – as it is, we’d expect to see around 150 miles of range in mixed real-world conditions. We’ll be putting it through its paces in our Real Range test in the future.
To handle the extra weight added by the electric version’s batteries, the UX has received extra structural bracing, and its dampers have been reworked to maintain optimum weight distribution.
Just don’t go into a test drive thinking that 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. The fat, squidgy steering wheel rim doesn’t help that sense of disconnect, either.
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 Model 3 or Polestar 2.
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