Lexus UX300e test drive

The CD player continues to be a mainstay, an anachronism in Lexus’s first fully electric rodeo. Otherwise, the UX300e is the Japanese carmaker’s vision of a petrol-free future. For those who enjoy the refined driving experience that Lexus usually offers, you’ll be happy to know that this hasn’t changed. The drive is firm, yet offers a feel for the road that drivers will appreciate. The steering is precise and the body control that an SUV normally struggles with is absent here.

As with most electric cars worth their salt, the UX300e’s acceleration is extremely brisk. You’ll have no problems weaving in and out of traffic thanks to its instantaneous torque.

The UX300e has also incorporated something unique: four levels of deceleration that are controlled using paddle shifters. If you’re in a power pinch, just shift downwards to heighten the level of energy recovery – although you’ll get the floaty feeling that first-generation electric vehicles had that can contribute to motion sickness. Still, it’s great to have the option.

(Related: An electric vehicle that doesn’t need charging)

Lexus has also worked hard to suppress ambient noise. The idea is simple. Since there are no longer engine or transmission sounds, the noise from wind, other vehicles or environmental factors will bother you instead. The automaker has a system it calls Active Sound Control (ASC) to transmit natural ambient sounds into the cabin. Me not realising this until I read the press release after the test drive shows how effective the ASC was.

The Lexus UX300e has ample boot space.
The Lexus UX300e has ample boot space.

And just as important for me, there’s ample boot space for multiple golf bags.

Unfortunately, the UX300e comes with a few drawbacks, the most glaring being the lack of a Type 2 CCS charger. This means that you can’t utilise SP Group’s or Shell’s fast charging infrastructure. You’ll have to make do with the slower Type 2 charger. On the bright side, you might plan your days better. There is, however, a CHAdeMO (abbreviation of Charge de Move) socket available. It’s a Japanese charging standard that the Land Transport Authority and Energy Market Authority has embraced. However, it’s currently an optional charging standard, which means charging service operators do not have to provide this, yet.

The UX300e’s infotainment system doesn’t come with a touchscreen either. You’ll have to fiddle with the clunky touchpad in the centre console when putting in navigation cues or changing vehicle settings.

Lexus offers an extremely long warranty: 8 years or 200,000km for the car and battery.
Lexus offers an extremely long warranty: 8 years or 200,000km for the car and battery.

As far as electric cars go, the UX300e is a worthy competitor. However, the niggling issues might be deal-breakers for some, especially for those who live in properties that don’t have ready access to a Type 2 charger. At least there’s a CD player.

(Related: A journey around the island with the electric Audi e-tron SportBack 50)