With the UX 300e, Lexus finally entered the full-EV segment. Now at last it offers a decent driving range. Jonathan Crouch reports.

Ten Second Review

From launch in 2020, the first Lexus EV, the UX 300e, was hobbled by restricted driving range. But with a new battery offering up to 280 miles between charges, it's now much better placed to reward a thoughtful buyer prepared to think a little more laterally. In the compact SUV segment, there are cheaper full-electric models than this one, some of which still offer greater driving range. But the all-electric driving distance you now get here will probably be sufficient for most suburban users and there are admirably few compromises in terms of interior packaging, plus a very high quality feel.


Lexus has been a pioneer in vehicle electrification since introducing the RX 400h in 2005, but back in 2020, this UX 300e model was the brand's very first battery-electric vehicle. It was based on a full-electric version of the Toyota C-HR only offered in China and was the first of a number of production vehicles the brand decided to make under its 'Lexus Electrified' banner.

The marque was certainly well placed in create EVs, having built over 1.6 million electrified self-charging hybrids in the last fifteen years. That means breakthrough Lexus technologies like the power control unit, the battery management system and the electric motor have been tried and tested over many millions of miles. The UX300e though, proved to be a bit of a disappointment in its original form, the early 54.3kWh battery only able to take the car 196 miles between charges, a distance easily improved upon by every serious class rival. Hence the upgrade that's given us the 72.8kWh version of this car that we look at here.

Driving Experience

The change from a 54.3kWh battery to one of 72.8kWh in size hasn't increased power: that's still rated at 201bhp. But of course it's done a lot for driving range, up from the previous feeble 196 mile total to a possible maximum of 280 miles, if your UX300e has 17-inch wheels. Lexus has also taken the opportunity to incorporate a few engineering changes. These include fine-tuning of the steering and shock absorber settings to sharpen dynamic performance, while additional spot-welding increases body rigidity.

Chief Engineer Takashi Watanabe and his team apparently engineered this car with driving fun in mind, building on inherently strong chassis rigidity and redeveloping the standard UX steering and suspension. To balance the EV powertrain, extra bracing has been added and shock absorber damping has been optimised to better match the specific dynamics and extra weight of a full-electric vehicle.

Design and Build

Lexus is one of those brands who believe that buyers of full-EV models want their cars to look as 'normal' as possible. So the visual changes that differentiate this UX 300e model from its ordinary UX 250h self-charging hybrid showroom stablemate are minimal. There's a subtly revised version of this model's 'signature' radiator grille, special 17-inch 'aero-ventilating' alloy wheels, different badgework and a sleeker front bumper with smaller air intakes.

Inside, specific UX 300e features are even harder to spot, limited to a bespoke auto gear selector and some EV-specific displays for this crossover's digital instrument binnacle and its centre-stack infotainment screen. According to equipment grade, models are fitted with either eight-inch (Lexus Link connect) or 12.3-inch (Lexus Link Pro) centre displays, with touchscreen technology replacing the previous trackpad control. As with an UX, the interior feels really high end, with design based around the Japanese architectural concept of 'engawa' where the inside and the outside of a structure are seamlessly connected.

Market and Model

You'll now need to think in terms of spending well over £45,000 for your UX 300e. Customers can also specify either of two option packs: 'Premium Plus' and 'Takumi', taking the asking figures up to and well over £50,000. All of which reminds us that full-EVs remain pricey purchases, even in the compact segment. Still, you get quite a lot of kit for that.

Key standard features include the latest generation Lexus Safety System+ package, which now includes Intersection Turning Assist for safer left and right turns across traffic at intersections; and Emergency Steering Assist, which helps the driver steer to avoid obstacles without departing from their traffic lane. The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control adopts Curve Speed Reduction, which automatically adjusts the vehicle's speed to suit the radius of a bend in the road.

Equipment across the range also runs to Bi-LED headlights with Automatic High Beam, heated, power-adjustable front seats, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, illuminated entry, smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), power steering wheel adjustment, automatic wipers, 17-inch alloy wheels and aluminium roof rails.

Cost of Ownership

As we told you earlier, the quoted WLTP driving range here is now 280 miles, which is 40% better than was possible from the old 54.3kWh.

You can maximise the range available to you by proactive use of the 'Drive Mode Select' function which allows you to manage smooth acceleration and deceleration, the latter variable by use of steering wheel paddleshifters you can use to scroll through four levels of deceleration regeneration. The charging time for the new 72.8kWh battery will rise of course. For reference, with the old smaller battery, using an AC (200V/30A) 7kW garage wallbox, the charging time was 8 hours. And at a DC public rapid charging point, with the old battery it was possible to recharge from 0-80% in 52 minutes.

By using the provided LexusLink app, UX 300e users can not only check battery charge and driving range but set charging schedules according to when the vehicle is next expected to be driven or to when energy prices are low, The app also allows the owner to remotely control the climate of the car.


Other rivals can still offer you more driving range. But in other respects, there's a lot to like here. It's all very Lexus. Which means that if you like this brand and want a compact EV crossover, you'll probably like this car very much.


CAR: Lexus UX 300e

PRICES: £47,495 - £57,095




PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph 7.5s / Max speed 100mph

BOOT CAPACITY: [litres] 367

WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length/width/height 4495/1840/1540 mm