We never thought we'd be won over by Lexus's cheapest vehicle, the UX. It's oddly styled, underpowered, and can't decide if it's a hatchback or a subcompact crossover. But who really cares. It's fun, different, and built better than vehicles costing twice as much. Now the brand has electrified it and created the UX 300e. It just showed up in electric blue at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition in China where it will sell first.
The UX 300e blends the best of both worlds: electrification and the hot small crossover segment. The UX line strikes a great balance between relatively affordable premium brand cache, edgy design, and manageable compact dimensions that appeal to young urban buyers who care about lifestyle and the environment at the same time.
Though many details remain obscure right now, we do know the Lexus UX 300e has a 54.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that's mounted below the floor and provides approximately 248 miles of driving range (likely a bit lower based on EPA estimates). The electric motor drives the front wheels only and provides 201 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, which tops the UX 250h's 181 horses.
The DC fast-charging capability is on the meagers side, only 50kW, while the less expensive Kia Niro EV can do 100 kW. We don't know how quickly the battery will charge based on this, nor are we aware of the percentage it will charge in a relatively short period of time (e.g., 80 percent in 30 minutes).
The UX 300e gets driving modes, excellent build quality for quiet driving conditions, and regen braking feel levels that adjust via the paddle shifters. Lexus's new Active Sound Control (ASC) feature “transmits natural ambient sounds to allow for a greater understanding of driving conditions, and provides a natural feeling for the cabin's occupants.” In a nutshell, Lexus is trying to make it sound more like a regular car instead of nearly silent like most EVs.
The UX 300e will start selling in China and Europe in 2020 and then in its home country of Japan in 2021. We don't yet know if the UX 300e will make it to our shores, but it's safe to say the brand is interested in pursuing more electrification just like almost everyone else (BMW, Jaguar, Infiniti). We hope it comes here because the Lexus brand is making some important changes that should throw a wider net in terms of buyer appeal.