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On the road

0-100: Lexus UX 300e Sports Luxury

Are legendary Lexus quality and an outstanding ownership package enough to sway buyers towards the Japanese luxury car maker’s first battery electric?

With established prestige rivals like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz already aboard the EV bandwagon, and newcomers like Tesla and Polestar also muscling in, Lexus has arrived at the party fashionably late with its UX 300e.

Available in two trim levels, Luxury and Sports Luxury, the battery electric UX 300e joins an existing line-up of four-cylinder petrol and hybrid-electric UX models.

Lexus hasn’t gone out of its way to differentiate the new EV from its internal-combustion- powered stablemates, which may prove a turn-off to some buyers. Those who choose to dig a little deeper will find a richly appointed compact, albeit one that doesn’t so much move the EV meter, as get Lexus into the game.

Lavish interiors in the Lexus 300e

A front-mounted electric motor puts 150kW/ 300Nm to the front wheels in both versions, accelerating the little SUV from 0–100km/h in 7.5 seconds. That’s fast enough to see off Mercedes-Benz’s direct rival, the EQA 250, but is still chasing the coat-tails of a Tesla Model 3.

Similarly, the 54.3kWh lithium-ion battery pack gives a respectable but not stellar driving range of 360km (NEDC), falling short of the electric Benz’s 480km and bettered also by the Model 3 and Polestar 2.

Inside the stylish and high-tech cabin, driver and front passenger are well catered for but the rear seats won’t suit XL-sized frames. The handsomely trimmed interior features the attention to detail Lexus has become known for, including nods to the brand’s Japanese heritage, such as textured trim inspired by the grained-paper finish used on traditional sliding doors.

Standard features include a 10.3-inch widescreen multimedia display, paired with a 7-inch colour driver display and a colour headupdisplay. Unfortunately, the infotainment system’s user interface is not the most intuitive and the touch-pad is fiddly.

Out on the road the Lexus is eerily quiet and can be quickly hustled from corner to corner with the slingshot acceleration EVs are known for. A low centre of gravity keeps handling tidy with minimal body roll, but it ultimately lacks the sort of connection through steering and brakes that rewards enthusiast driving.

Where the UX 300e comes whirring back into contention is via an excellent ownership package, including a five-year vehicle warranty, a 10-year battery guarantee, three-year Encore Platinum membership, a complimentary JET Charge home charger with installation, and three-year complimentary on-road recharging with Chargefox.

The specs

Pricing: $86,847 (Stamp duty exempt in TAS)

Body style: Compact SUV

Seating: 5

Energy consumption: 15.0kWh/100km

Safety: ANCAP 5-Star (2019)

Engine type: Single front-mounted permanent magnet synchronous electric

Battery: 54.3kWh lithium-ion polymer

Range: 360km (NEDC)

Transmission: 2-stage reduction gear

Drive type: Front-wheel drive

Max. power: 150kW

Max. torque: 300Nm

0-100km/h: 7.5 seconds

For more visit Lexus.