26 June 2023
Wide-ranging upgrades have strengthened the appeal of the Lexus UX 300e, the urban crossover launched three years ago as Lexus’s first all-electric model. These revisions enable the UX 300e to go further between charges; raise the cabin’s aesthetic appeal, comfort, and convenience; and make the car – Lexus’s “Creative Urban Explorer” – even more enjoyable to drive.
The changes also affirm how well-suited electrification is to the characteristics of Lexus vehicles, complementing quiet refinement with rewardingly responsive road behaviour.
The most notable change is a new battery system which increases driving range by more than 40 per cent, to up to 279 miles in the combined WLTP cycle. Meanwhile, the Lexus Electrified driving experience benefits from detail alterations to the car’s suspension, body, and chassis.
Inside the car, the most evident improvement is the revised multimedia system. This has greater connectivity, faster and easier operation, cloud-based navigation, and larger eight and 12.3-inch touchscreens. The interior is also offered with new upholstery choices.
The upgraded UX 300e debuted in UK showrooms in spring 2023. Its sister model, the self-charging hybrid electric UX 250h enjoyed a series of upgrades in summer 2022.
Significant increase in driving range
As Lexus’s first BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle), the UX 300e has evolved from the brand’s 18 years of leadership in electrification, which started with the introduction in 2005 of the RX 400h, the world’s first luxury hybrid. Today, more than 2.4 million electrified Lexus cars are on the road around the world, 550,000 of these in Europe. The Lexus Electrified initiative continues to drive progress through the brand’s world-class know-how in battery design, manufacturing, and battery management systems. This is creating a new generation of vehicle refinement and driving pleasure, with the class-leading quality and reliability that are hallmarks of the Lexus brand.
The latest development in Lexus’s electrification programme is replacement of the UX 300e’s original 54.3kWh lithium-ion battery by one with 72.8kWh capacity. This powers a compact motor/generator which drives the vehicle’s front wheels, producing 150kW (201bhp) and up to 300Nm of torque for effortless, linear acceleration. The powertrain also captures energy when the vehicle is braking or coasting and converts it into electricity, stored in the battery.
Previously the UX 300e offered a range in the WLTP combined driving cycle of 189-196 miles, depending on options such as wheel size. The new battery improves this by more than 40 per cent. Models running on 17-inch wheels now achieve a WLTP combined range (depending on options) of up to 279 miles; those on 18-inch wheels have a combined range (also depending on options) of up to 274 miles.
Aerodynamic efficiency helps maximise the UX 300e’s range. Shutters in the lower front grille open and close automatically, depending on battery state and how much airflow is needed for cooling. This helps reduce the car’s coefficient of drag to Cd0.31. The underfloor covers have been enlarged, compared to other UX models, and the bottom-surface of the battery made flat and smooth, for clean underbody aerodynamics.
Electric efficiency with up to 10 years Extended Care
For increased control and battery life, sensors monitor the voltage of each battery cell and block, and the battery cell temperature. With the advanced Battery Management System, this results in maximum usable battery cell capacity and an extended driving range. Cool air is circulated inside the battery pack for stable battery output even at high speed and during repeated charging. Heating elements under each battery module minimise cold weather impact on the driving range and ensure full power is available from the start.
To replenish the battery, the UX 300e has an AC port on the right-side quarter panel for normal charging and a DC port on the left-side quarter panel for rapid charging. With the latter, the battery can be charged (in optimal conditions) from zero to 80 per cent in 80 minutes at 50kW. Electrical equipment such as air conditioning and audio can be used while the UX 300e is being charged.
By using the Lexus Link app, UX 300e owners can check battery status, available driving range, and time remaining to complete charging. The app can also remotely schedule the charging start time, enabling owners to take advantage of off-peak energy tariffs.
Lexus’s confidence in the durability of its all-electric vehicle technology is affirmed by a standard warranty for eight years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first), covering degradation of BEV battery capacity below 70 per cent. This is complemented by a 5-year or 60,000-mile warranty on any functional defects in the BEV main battery. Extended BEV Care is available to cover main battery defects and capacity degradation below 70 per cent for up to 10 years or 100,000 miles, provided that regular maintenance programme health checks and servicing are completed at an authorised Lexus workshop. Lexus is confident, however, given its long experience in battery technologies, that actual capacity at that point should be greater than 85 per cent.
SUV flexibility with hatchback-like driving characteristics
The UX provides both the secure feeling of an SUV crossover and the driving pleasure of a sophisticated hatchback. The UX 300e engineering team worked closely with Lexus’s expert takumi master drivers to develop an array of new technologies designed specifically to deliver a Lexus Electrified driving experience. Lexus’s world-class refinement and quietness levels are combined with dynamic characteristics which prove that driving can be enjoyable with the higher-riding practicality of an SUV.
The UX evokes the feel of a dynamic, luxury hatchback the moment the driver settles behind the wheel. Despite having the higher seating position associated with an SUV, the driving position has a relatively short hip-to-heel distance which gives the driver the feeling of being closer to the ground than in other SUVs. For passengers, the interior feels open and spacious, even though the UX 300e has relatively compact exterior dimensions.
The UX is built on Lexus’s GA-C global architecture platform, a light structure which is also exceptionally rigid to sharpen responses to driver inputs. The new model enhances this by introducing a more rigid steel tailgate reinforcement and 20 additional spot welds on the back panel and side members.
The UX’s 2,640mm wheelbase contributes to a smooth and stable ride, as well as cabin roominess, while the 10.4m kerb-to-kerb turning diameter makes manoeuvring and parking easy. Driving characteristics also benefit from the UX 300e’s low centre of gravity, partly achieved by locating the battery under the cabin, as well as by using lightweight materials – aluminium for the side doors, wings and bonnet, and composite materials for the tailgate. The battery’s location also increases boot space, compared to the UX 250h hybrid, from 320 to 367 litres (deck to luggage cover).
Enhanced driving experience
The UX 300e benefits from detail changes to enhance the driving experience. Fine-tuning the electric power steering and shock absorbers has sharpened the driving dynamics, as has increasing the body rigidity with additional spot-welding points. These alterations further improve the car’s planted feel and responsiveness, characteristics accentuated by the low centre of gravity and placement of the battery pack beneath the floor.
Lexus Drive Mode Select allows the driving experience to be tailored to suit the driver’s preference or the journey. Normal drive mode provides an optimal balance between driving performance and range; ECO mode maximises energy savings across all driving conditions by smoothing the throttle response and moderating air conditioning operation; Sport mode delivers sharper throttle response and increased steering feel.
Drivers can also switch between four levels of deceleration, using paddle shifts on the steering wheel, to suit the type of road, their natural driving style and their preferred feeling of vehicle control. These range from providing the driving feel of a conventional combustion engine vehicle to harnessing the more linear deceleration of a pure BEV. The optimum deceleration level also enhances control on snowy roads and other low-friction surfaces.
A serene and healthy cabin
Underfloor covers, which help suppress road noise, are one of the measures taken to achieve a serene and quiet cabin. Material in the wing liners helps absorb noise from the tyres’ contact with the road, small stones, dirt, and water; acoustic glass in the windows reduces high-frequency wind noise; and with the latest upgrades, extra sound insulation has been added in the body.
Cabin quietness allows the UX 300e’s occupants to fully enjoy the clear, powerful sound of the 915W, 13-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound System.
Also, to ensure the wellbeing of everyone onboard, the UX 300e benefits from the latest generation nanoe™ X air purification technology. This introduces nano-sized water molecules into the ventilation airflow which contain microscopic hydroxyl radicals. These can deodorise bad odours, act against mould and inhibit viruses, bacteria, pollen, and allergens. Laboratory research has shown that in one hour, nanoe X can inhibit more than 99 per cent of viruses and bacteria and achieve a 1.8 reduction in odour intensity. By preventing moisture evaporation, the nano-sized water particles also keep skin smooth and well-hydrated. More information about Lexus’s use of nanoe X technology is available at https://media.lexus.co.uk/breathe-easy-feel-great-inside-your-lexus-with-nanoe-x/.
New multimedia systems: easier to use, greater functionality
The 2023 UX 300e features new multimedia systems – Lexus Link Connect on the entry model and Premium Pack and Lexus Link Pro on the Takumi Pack. Equipped with a touchscreen in place of the previous touchpad control, this is more intuitive to use than its predecessor, offers increased functionality, has greater connectivity and responds more quickly to commands.
Screen sizes have been increased, from seven to eight inches (Lexus Link Connect), with sharper graphics, and from 10 to 12.3 inches (Lexus Link Pro), with high-definition. For easier interaction, the screen has been moved 143mm further forwards.
A new voice recognition system includes the option of using the “Hey Lexus” on-board assistant. This responds to voice commands to make it easier to connect to phone calls, operate audio and climate controls and search the internet. The new voice recognition system is programmed to understand more conversational terms, to recognise whether it is the driver or front passenger speaking and to distinguish between background noise and commands so that it is no longer necessary to mute the audio.
To make journey planning easier and help avoid traffic delays, “always connected” cloud-based navigation is provided as standard, giving access to real-time road and traffic information. Additionally, the Lexus Link Pro system includes embedded navigation, maintaining operation even if cloud connection is unavailable. To make it easy to find out about such things as local parking, charging points, charging speed and price per kWh, “Hey Lexus” can also be linked to cloud-based information.
The new system provides smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay (wireless connection) or Android Auto (wired connection). Connectivity also extends to the Lexus Link smartphone app, which allows the driver to remotely lock or unlock the doors, trigger the hazard lights and set the air conditioning to cool or warm the cabin before getting into the car. The app can also check the battery’s charge-level, available range with the air-conditioning on or off and time remaining until charging is complete.
The space on the centre console where the multimedia touchpad was previously located is now home to controls for the heated front seats or, where these are not specified, a small storage cubby. The console also houses a USB-A port for playback of high-resolution sound sources and two USB-C ports for device charging. A new illuminated tray in the console, in front of the air conditioning control panel, has the space to hold a large smartphone.
The UX’s multimedia system can save up to three people’s customised settings for multimedia, audio, and navigation. Updates to the system software can be delivered over-the-air via the car’s upgraded DCM (Data Communication Module).
Interior and exterior revisions
The UX’s combination of smooth and perforated leather upholstery has a striking new geometric Kagome pattern, inspired by sashiko (“little stabs”) quilting technique. This is used for its strength and suppleness – with as many as 10 stitches per inch – in the making of martial arts uniforms. There is also a new Hazel colour option for all upholstery options – fabric and leather.
In another aesthetic refinement, the dashboard trim has the look of washi paper grain, as seen in the sliding doors of traditional Japanese houses. The upper part of the instrument panel is now black in all trims and the push-start button silver.
For the car’s exterior, there is a new paintwork option, Sonic Platinum, which uses Lexus’s advanced sonic paint technology. This special finish incorporates a layer just a few microns deep which brings the metallic flakes in the paint into closer and more uniform alignment, creating higher brilliance and deeper shading across the car’s bodywork.
In another detail change, the hands-free power-operated rear tailgate now responds to the door-mounted switch without delay and moves more gently during the initial and final parts of opening and closing.
Additional safety system features
Upgrades have been made to the UX’s Lexus Safety System+. The car is now equipped with Intersection Turning Assist, which detects oncoming vehicles and pedestrians crossing in the opposite direction when turning at an intersection. Emergency Assist has been added, which automatically makes small corrective inputs to the steering to help prevent the vehicle from unintentionally departing from its lane. The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control has gained Curve Speed Reduction, which automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed to the suit the radius of a bend in the road ahead.
These additions complement the existing Lexus Safety System+ features: the Pre-Collision System can detect pedestrians at night and objects such as motorcycles in the car’s path during the day; Lane Tracing Assist helps the driver keep the vehicle centred in its lane and can provide support when driving through bends; and Road Sign Assist recognises traffic signs to provide information to the driver via the multi-information display or the optional head-up display.
Other features which make driving easier include (according to model grade) a Panoramic View Monitor for a near-360° view around the car, to help when negotiating confined spaces; Parking Support Alert, which warns of an impending collision using clearance sonars; Lexus Parking Assist to help with reversing into parking spaces; Rear Cross Traffic Alert with auto-braking, which operates when the car is reversing; and a Blind Spot Monitor, which detects vehicles in adjacent lanes obscured from the driver’s sightline.
A favourite among Lexus buyers
The UX was Lexus’s best-selling model in the UK in 2022, with 3,767 sales, behind the all-new NX introduced that year. The UX 300e took more than 10 per cent of these – a proportion that is expected to rise in the coming years.
On-the-road prices for the UX 300e are as follows: –
|UX 300e Premium Pack (17in wheels)||£50,995|
|UX 300e Premium Pack (18in wheels)||£51,745|
|UX 300e Takumi Pack||£57,095|