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In many ways, the new Lexus UX300e is a true example of the meaning of Nexus. For not only is it a great crossover that connects the hatch and compact SUV markets, but now, thanks to being a full BEV, it boldly connects the (already low emitting) brand to its and NZ’s zero-emissions goal – what’s more, it comes loaded with luxury and driver’s aids too. Lexus NZ threw us the keys to take a closer look.

As a brand, Lexus has embraced the hybrid world, offering a battery style (and therefore lower gasses and higher efficiency) addition to virtually their entire range – even the LC500 sportscar. But they haven’t made the leap to battery only, until now.

Heading into the popular crossover segment, the UX model has already been a big hit for Lexus and with a line-up of petrol and hybrid models, offered the user plenty of options while maintaining top class and quality throughout. Well the new UX300e takes it up a level, or three.

Lexus UX 300e review NZ

I guess it goes without saying that the UX’s style and size remains the same, it’s still very urban chic, eye-catching around the town with its hourglass grille and LED light display. But aside from a different nameplate, the new UX300e does now come with ‘Electric’ badging and an extra ‘fuel’ flap at the rear.

Lexus UX 300e review NZ

The driver’s side flap gives you access to ‘home charging’ which according to many sources is where the majority of charging will occur, it’s convenient and keeps you away from the chocolate aisle in the petrol station. The passenger side however, opens your world up to the ‘fast charging’ network with a CHAdeMO connector.

Lexus UX 300e review NZ

Either of the above two options are there to charge the UX300e’s 54kWh lithium-ion battery which is located under the cabin floor (you can actually see if you bend down. According to the brochure, fully charged you’ll get 360km of range, however, with my test vehicle the instrument cluster claimed 300km at 100% and this dropped down to 267km when I pulled away and engaged the AC to keep me cool. 

Lexus UX 300e review NZ
Lexus UX 300e review NZ

The battery may be ‘smaller’ against some of the other EV motors out there but this has been a conscious decision by Lexus for this crossover. They say that many of its owners won’t require massive ranges and both its size and location has meant that there is now more room for luggage/shopping in the rear (42L in fact) over the hybrid model. 

Specific range details aside, the new UX300e offers up a maximum power number of 150kW and an impressive 300Nm of torque. 0 to 100kms is achieved in a not too shabby 7.5 seconds, and being an EV feels faster due to its instant torque. What’s more, this UX is faster than the hybrid electric or petrol versions despite the slight extra weight (160kg) from the added battery. 

Lexus UX 300e review NZ

What’s not small in any way is its Lexusnesss, this is a luxurious compact without any hint of compromise in quality. Channeling their takumi craftsmanship and omotenashi (luxurious hospitality) it’s leather all the way and in my review model’s case, creamy white lether (or recycled materials should you wish) and a fit and finish that we’ve come to expect in a Lexus. 

The UX 300e comes with a 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound system coupled with a 10.3-inch display and Apple Car Play and Android Auto and of course oodles of safety and driver’s aids, and it even a CD player for those that still have them. However, apart from showing EV range in fuel gauge style and a few bits of EV usage data, it’s a bit less ‘geeky’ than some EV’s out there – I assume this will expand as each new EV-only model is released.

Leather seats

On the road the build quality is very apparent. It’s very quiet, no hint of rattles or creaks and the Electrical motor works well in any of the three driving modes – just quicker braking and throttle response in Sport. Regenerative braking can be adjusted using the Paddles and there is an extra ‘B’ mode that can be selected via the gated gear selector for more regen when you step off the accelerator.

The UX 300e handles well around the town and sits nicely on the highway but I personally found the nose a little light when taking the corners with vigour, can I say that there is a sniff of understeer. The Lexus engineers have added a rear performance damper to enhance the driving performance but this is not a racecar.

Lexus UX 300e review NZ

Overall teh UX 300e is an ideal addition to the UX range and I’m swaying to the belief that it’s the best in that line-up. It’s nimble and noble and a great Nexus for where the brand (and world) is heading.

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