New Lexus UX 300e vs new Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric: costs

Both of these family SUVs promise to combine zero emissions with luxury. But which should you choose: the first ever fully electric Lexus or its equally fresh-faced rival from Volvo?...

Lexus UX300e 2021 instruments

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

Neither electric SUV qualifies for the Government’s £2500 EV grant, because both are well north of the £35,000 cut-off, and you’re not likely to get any discounts at this stage. The Lexus UX 300e starts at £41,745, but we’d recommend going for the Premium Plus Pack model that we’ve tested. The Volvo XC40 Recharge is even more expensive if you’re buying outright, and we’re testing the cheapest version available.

Both cars will be relatively cheap to run, though. A full charge at home will cost around £8 for the UX and £11.50 for the XC40 on a standard single-rate tariff of 14 pence per kWh. Add up all the costs a private cash buyer is likely to face over three years and the UX comes out cheaper, despite being pricier to service, although there isn’t a great deal in it.

There’s no PCP finance option on the XC40. Instead, you can opt for the ‘Care by Volvo’ subscription. The monthly payments cover servicing, routine maintenance, tyres and roadside assistance, although insurance is extra. There’s no deposit to pay, but it’ll cost you £649 per month with a 10,000-mile annual allowance.

Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge 2021 charging port

That seems teeth-suckingly expensive, especially given that those payments don’t contribute to you actually owning the car; you can’t buy it at the end of the three-year term. On the other hand, the UX costs £572 per month on a 36-month PCP deal with a 10,000-mile annual limit, but that’s after a £5000 deposit, and it doesn’t include servicing and tyres. You can buy the UX at the end of the term, if you wish to.

Company car tax is hilariously cheap on both cars until at least April 2024; most buyers will spend more on frothy coffee each year.

When it comes to equipment, the XC40 is kitted out with niceties such as cruise control, climate control, keyless entry, wireless phone-charging, ambient lighting and LED headlights. The £650 part-leather interior is worth adding, but you have to go for Plus trim to get a reversing camera and heated seats while – disappointingly – only the seriously expensive Pro model gets adaptive cruise control. The UX is more generously equipped, adding heated seats, leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control and the reversing camera we mentioned earlier.

Lexus UX 300e vs Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric costs

A full battery top-up from a typical home charger takes a bit over eight hours in the UX and 12 hours in the XC40). Rapid charging is quicker in the XC40, which can handle a rate of up to 150kW, compared with the UX’s 50kW. That means a 10-80% charge can be dispatched in just over half an hour in the XC40 and 50 minutes for the UX, despite the XC40’s bigger battery.

As for safety, neither car has been specifically tested by the experts at Euro NCAP but the cars on which they’re based are among the best in class. Both come with automatic emergency braking (AEB), traffic-sign recognition and lane-keeping assistance.

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