We find ourselves at the helm of the inaugural all-electric Lexus, the UX 300e. Before delving into our initial driving impressions, it’s…

We find ourselves at the helm of the inaugural all-electric Lexus, the UX 300e. Before delving into our initial driving impressions, it’s worth noting that this model has yet to make its debut in the Indian markets.

Shot by: Siddharth Dadhe

The official word on the launch of the Lexus UX 300e remains elusive. Much like us, Lexus is eager to conduct thorough testing before venturing into India’s premium EV segment. Renowned for its luxurious hybrid offerings that have set benchmarks against German competitors, Lexus ventures into new territory with the UX 300e, signalling a clear intent to elevate its game. However, the true measure of its prowess on the road awaits our evaluation, as does its comparison with other premium EVs. But before we embark on that comparison, let’s explore our first impressions from behind the wheel.

Drawing inspiration from its sibling, the UX 250h, the UX 300e spans 4495mm in length, 1840mm in width, and stands 1545mm tall. For perspective, it slightly surpasses the dimensions of India’s popular mid-size SUV, the Hyundai Creta. Despite its crossover silhouette, the UX 300e sits approximately 90mm lower than the Creta, courtesy of its sloping roofline. Beyond its dimensions, the UX 300e exudes the bold and sharp design language synonymous with the Lexus lineup.

At the front, the signature spindle Lexus grille, adorned with a distinctive bluish accent on the brand logo, sets it apart as an EV. Flanking the grille are Katana dagger-like LED headlamps that contribute to its aggressive stance. Moving to the sides, muscular wheel arches and 18-inch wheels enhance its crossover aesthetic.

The rear features a sleek strip spanning the width of the trunk, connecting the tail lamps. While the UX 300e commands attention with its design, its numerous creases and character lines leave an unmistakable impression of encountering a Lexus.

Initial impressions of the UX 300e’s interior might suggest a dated appearance to prospective buyers. However, this apparent drawback reveals a clever innovation—physical buttons replace touchscreen controls. This decision, a throwback to traditional control interfaces, alleviates concerns about navigating touchscreen controls amidst traffic or adverse conditions.

The driver-centric 12.3-inch infotainment screen presents essential information clearly, albeit lacking touchscreen functionality—a potential downside for tech-savvy consumers. Nevertheless, the UX 300e boasts high-quality materials and meticulous stitching, contributing to an upscale cabin ambience.

Beyond its conventional control layout, the UX 300e incorporates modern amenities, including support for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless charging, and a Mark Levinson sound system. However, rear passengers may find limited legroom and headroom due to the sloping roofline, although this shouldn’t pose a significant issue for shorter individuals during extended journeys. Additionally, the UX 300e offers a modest 367-litre boot capacity, requiring strategic packing for family vacations.

Powered by a 54.3 kWh battery pack, the UX 300e delivers 201bhp and 300Nm of torque to the front wheels. Accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.5 seconds and boasting a top speed of 160 km/h, it offers respectable performance for a luxury EV. Three driving modes—Eco, Normal, and Sports—cater to diverse driving preferences.

In terms of electric range, the UX 300e claims a WLTP range of 314 kilometres, though real-world conditions yielded approximately 247 kilometres on a full charge. While not groundbreaking, these figures suffice for urban commuting. Charging the battery from 0 to 80 per cent takes just 53 minutes using a 50kW DC fast charger, though an 11kW AC charger requires around seven hours for a full charge. Notably, the UX 300e features both CHAdeMO and type 2 standard charging ports, necessitating access to CHAdeMO-compatible fast chargers in India.

Ride quality remains commendable, with a well-tuned suspension adeptly navigating India’s diverse road conditions. Though lacking the expected crispness, the steering offers ample grip and facilitates sharp turn-ins.

While Lexus may face challenges in aligning the UX 300e with its brand’s legacy of comfort and luxury, the model presents enticing features, notably advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and safety features. Despite room for improvement in space, range, and technological innovation compared to rivals, the UX 300e remains a compelling choice. Its adequate range for urban use and distinctive Lexus styling position it competitively among its peers. Anticipate a price range of Rs 55-60 lakh upon its Indian launch, placing it in contention with the Volvo XC40 Recharge.