Since the Lexus brand is known for its fit, finish and quality of materials, the design of the seats was given special attention. The seat structure incorporates polyurethane foam wrapped around an iron frame. It’s the flat cushion and raised side sections that support the hips and keep the body stable, while subtle depressions in the surface of the cushion allow smaller occupants to enjoy the same level of body support as taller people.
The three-spoke steering wheel and analog clock come from the flagship Lexus LS sedan. The Lexus Climate Concierge automatically combines heating and cooling airflow with heated and ventilated front seats for added comfort.
A plush leather upholstery finish with stitching is inspired by the Japanese sashiko technique used to make judo and kendo uniforms. It is associated with a pattern of perforations on the lower part of the seat derived from curves and perfectly aligned mathematical gradients.
The rear seats are shaped to accommodate the battery under the floor. Further back, the power tailgate reveals 367 liters of luggage space in the square-shaped trunk, loaded on the tonneau cover with all seats up and 486 liters with the rear seats folded down, loaded on the roof. There are also plenty of lockers for storing gear, including the large glove box that opens effortlessly.
In the ambient lighting department, white LEDs illuminate the front footrests, glove box and console switches and are also present in the dome light, reading lamps and cargo area lighting. The air vents have a single control knob for airflow direction and volume. By combining the two functions in one control, the vents can be made larger, improving airflow while reducing noise.
The instrument cluster has been revised to match the UX 300e’s all-electric drivetrain, with a digital speedometer, range indicator and four-level deceleration indicator. Instead of a conventional gear lever, a Shift-by-Wire drive selector fits perfectly in the hand.
A touchpad located on the center console to partially control the 10.3-inch multimedia display screen looks neat but can be a little fiddly to use. That said, a useful switch at the base of the touchpad can call up an operation screen with related functions, such as climate control and navigation, facilitating easier access without having to click through menus.
Higher trim levels are equipped with a head-up display (HUD). Lexus calls this concept “Seat in Control”, a notion that from the moment you step in, all necessary controls are at your fingertips and all information is in plain view. The HUD projects relevant vehicle information onto the windshield within the driver’s field of vision. In addition to basic features, such as speed, fuel level and shift position, the screen can also show speed limit signs, lane-keep assist warnings and driving instructions. navigation.
Other comfort and convenience features include power steering wheel adjustment, rear view camera display with directions, six-speaker audio system with DAB, four USB ports and Aux socket, exterior rear seats heated rear privacy glass, smart keyless entry, key card, smartphone wireless charger and illuminated door handles with puddle lights, auto-dimming rearview mirror, sunroof and surround view monitor 360 degrees.
There is an application for that
Drivers can use a smartphone app to check their vehicle’s charge level or view the range. They can also set a timer based on their daily routine, to ensure charging is completed before the scheduled departure time.
The driver can use the app to remotely control functions such as window defrost and air conditioning, adjustable in 1°C increments. The defrost setting can clear the screens and warm up the car. Likewise, the cabin can be cooled ready to go on a hot day. The system will run for up to 20 minutes, so the operation can be synchronized with the time the owner wants to start their trip.
The app’s search function can provide details of other charging stations, check their address, opening hours and operating status. Locations can be shared with a navigation app or the car’s multimedia system.
Advanced driver assistance systems
Key to its safety performance is the latest version of the Lexus Safety System+, an integrated safety package that provides a suite of active safety and driver assistance to help prevent accidents or reduce their severity if an impact is inevitable.
The Pre-Collision System (PCS) uses a front camera and millimeter wave radar to detect vehicles and pedestrians on the road ahead. If it calculates a risk of collision, it automatically warns the driver and provides additional braking force as soon as the brake pedal is pressed. If the driver does not react and the system judges that a collision is imminent, the brakes are automatically applied to reduce vehicle speed and the force of any impact, and seat belts are tensioned.
The functionality of the PCS has been increased so that it is now able to detect pedestrians in the path of the vehicle during day and night driving, and cyclists during the day.
The same radar unit is used to provide Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) at all speeds, which helps the driver maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Once the lane is clear, the RX automatically accelerates to its preset cruising speed.
Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) detects when the RX deviates from its correct lane, without the turn signals being used. The system will automatically provide warning and steering inputs to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane, by detecting markings on the road surface or road margin. These features work when Dynamic Radar Cruise Control is in use and can be turned off if desired.
Other ADAS technologies include Adaptive Variable Suspension Control; panoramic view monitor; blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert with automatic braking; parking assistance brake; and sway warning. The latter involves the use of cameras to monitor the car’s position in its lane and the driver’s steering commands. If it detects degrees of vehicle sway caused by driver distraction or drowsiness, it issues an alert and displays a warning on the multi-information display, recommending that the driver take a break.
On the road
The UX300e is powered by a 54.35 kWh battery located under the cabin floor. This gives a claimed range of 196 miles and supports fast charging at 50kW. Although its range is not the best on the market, it is still respectable. Active Sound Control can be activated to produce throttle-sensitive BEV sound, delivered through the audio system’s center speaker. Throughout the SUV’s cabin, the quality and finish of the upholstery, trim materials and details that give the impression of being expensive continue to reflect the attention to detail that Lexus engineers have given to this model. Its rivals include the Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric, Mercedes-Benz EQC and BMW iX3.