Lexus UX 300e gets a lager battery, new infotainment and driving refinements

Lexus has overhauled its first dedicated EV, with a larger battery offering more range alongside infotainment and driving improvement, bringing the UX 300e into line with many of its direct rivals.

When we reviewed the UX 300e soon after its launch, there was nothing inherently bad about it, but a few things stood out which led us to give it a middling 3.5 out of 5. A limited range, mediocre driving dynamics and a fiddly infotainment system all stood out in what is an otherwise well-built car. Lexus evidently knew the UX 300e’s failings and has given it a refresh which ought to bring it much closer into line with rivals like the Audi Q4 e-tron, Mercedes EQB and BMW iX3.

The most obvious and impactful of the changes is a new battery, which increases the gross capacity from 54.3kWh to 72.8kWh. This has lifted the WLTP range from a distinctly average 196 miles to a far more substantial 280 miles with the standard 17 inch wheels. Posher 18s knock seven miles off this figure, but in the real world you probably won’t notice.

Other aspects of the powertrain remain the same, so power stands at 201bhp and 221lb-ft of torque. The 0-62mph time will likely take a hit due to the weight of the extra cells, but at around eight seconds, and with the front wheels already prone to torque steer, more power wasn’t ever really necessary in the UX.

Driving dynamics should be somewhat improved overall, though, as Lexus has tuned the steering and shock absorbers, whilst also adding new welds to increase body rigidity. We just hope that these changes have only tightened up the handling, rather than being at the expense of the UX 300e’s plush ride. The only other updates on the driving side of things come in the form of Lexus Safety System+, which includes junction turning assist and emergency steering assist, plus curve speed reduction which automatically slows the car round corners when radar guided cruise is engaged.

Another area which we weren’t impressed with when we tested the UX 300e was the infotainment. Original cars got a 7 inch screen which could be specified up to 10.3 inches in high-spec Takumi models. It was fiddly and the archaic touchpad control was laggy.

Now, most models get a slightly larger 8 inch display with Lexus Link connect, or a 12.3 inch display with Lexus Link Pro on higher spec cars. The touchpad has been killed off so it’s touchscreen only; in place of the touchpad are the front heated seat controls. In all cases, the new displays have been situated further forward towards the driver to make interaction more comfortable. Lagging control inputs should be a thing of past, too, thanks to more computing power behind the scenes.

Built into the infotainment is voice control which can be used via a “Hey Lexus” command and can control phone calls, audio, climate and web search. Cloud-based navigation is standard or, on Lexus Link Pro models, embedded navigation takes over where a connection is not available.

We don’t know the prices for the 2023 model year Lexus UX 300e just yet, but we reckon it’ll start closer to £50k compared to the current model’s starting price of just over £44k.


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