► Bold design for new Lexus UX
► Baby SUV has hybrid and EV models
► On sale now, 300e coming 2021
Lexus has announced its first full-electric production car, and it comes in the shape of its recent crossover arrival - the UX. The hybrid model has been a thing since early 2018, but the new UX 300e variant joins the range as part of Lexus' future electrification strategy.
If you can wait until January 2021 to order one, a UX 300e features a 53.4kWh battery pack and an e-motor that produces 201bhp and 221lb ft. That power train means the 300e is good for a 7.5sec 0-62mph sprint, a top speed of 99mph and a WLTP range of more than 186 miles.
Keep reading for more on the Lexus UX crossover.
Lexus UX: the full debrief
It's the smallest – and most distinctive – of the Japanese luxury marque’s now three-pronged SUV offering in Europe. While it maintains the same design language as other Lexus cars and features the same heavily-stylised spindle grille, it looks a little more aggressive – mainly thanks to more muscular wings, haunches and a high beltline. Think Lexus LC more than Lexus RX.
This was a deliberate strategy of chief designer Tetsuo Miki, who wanted to convey impressions of strength and agility, most aptly illustrated with the raised front wings that stand proud of the bonnet line.
At the intitial reveal, Lexus told us that the UX will handle in a sporty fashion, too, and features an all-new platform that should reduce body roll and exhibit ‘hatchback’ handling thanks to a low centre of gravity. Which is a bold claim for a small SUV, and one that was largely disproven when we first drove it.
It's built upon the GA-C platform, already familiar from the Toyota C-HR and Prius, which includes upgraded hybrid capability; this is a Lexus staple now, after all. The hybrid version is UX 250h and both front- and four-wheel drive versions of the 176bhp hybrid are available, joined by a petrol-only UX 200 that the UK doesn't get.
The UX’s chief mission is to attract people to the marque who wouldn’t have otherwise considered anything from the stable. That also explains why it’s boldy styled, with references to the world of racing. That full-width rear light bar not only looks contemporary, the flick-ups at the end are representative of the slender tail lights on LMP1 racing cars.
As for the interior, although not as wild as the UX Concept’s was, it nevertheless looks distinctive, borrowing many cues from the recently launched LS luxury saloon.
Like the driving position itself, the instruments and controls are set low, reinforcing the UX’s sportiness, while Miki-san suggests the broad horizontal lines are further reminders to occupants of the ‘Lexus’s strength and security.’
Read our Lexus reviews here