Lexus is a brand I have seen evolve over the years. As many car brands have embraced electric cars, Lexus to has made the crossover by revealing this week the Lexus UX 300e electric urban cross over upgrade. As climate change is on the car industry agenda, it made perfect sense to head up to the highlands of Scotland and show me what was going to be revealed.
Carlowrie Castle is a 19th-century baronial mansion in Kirkliston, Edinburgh, Scotland, and what a stunning backdrop for the European reveal of the 2023 upgrade for Lexus’ first “ALL” Electric Vehicle, the UX 300e.
The evening began with what was for me, as a Veteran, a very impressive entrance. The Lexus UX 300e approached Carlowrie Castle down the magnificent driveway. The car was escorted and piped in by a detachment of the Scots Guards Association, Pipes and Drums, Scotland, to the tune of “Scotland the Brave”, and what an entrance it was.
What I Wore
Up your kilt was what I was up against. As the fashion trend for the 2023 debate is all about, where did all the men wearing skirts originate from? Is as controversial as the electric car industry itself. The future of electricity has a long way to go yet.
As Lexus’ theme was “FEEL ELECTRIFIED” I thought it best from an alternative environmental angle to think “SUSTAINABILITY”.
I, therefore, decided not to collaborate with a clothing brand and wear new clothes. In keeping with the environmental theme, I thought it best to only wear clothes that were over 2 years old.
For the reveal, and evening dinner at Carlowrie Castle (see inlaid photographs), my wardrobe consisted of; blue suede leather soled shoes by Barker of England, Massimo Dutti, slim fit, light blue flecked trousers in a stretch cotton fabric, a Massimo Dutti white stretch extra fine cotton fabric shirt, and a TM Lewin, dark blue wellington wool summer blazer. I feel that for brighter days, lighter colours contrast well with darker colours and alternatively, for overcast and rainy days, deep and dark colours contrast well with lighter shades, hence my wardrobe choice for the second day.
A little background for readers who are not familiar with military history. Bagpipes were originally used to scare off enemies on the battlefield. It is believed that the practice originated from the Battle of Cullodan in 1746. However, today, they are used predominantly for ceremonial occasions, and what a captivating sight and sound it is and was.
However spectacular the entrance, the UX 300e’s design doesn’t disappoint. The body’s design has that stylish compact proportioned look, with sharp lines, triple LED headlights blending into the distinctive front grill, and the noticeable rear end LED light strip, both synonymous with Lexus.
As a Creative Urban Crossover, it was pleasing and easy on the eye.
The main features included in the 2023 upgrade were:
- Vehicle range extended by more than 40%.
- Steering and suspension fine-tuned, enhancing the ‘Lexus Electrified’ driving experience.
- New multimedia system with greater functionality and a bigger screen.
- More capabilities added to the Lexus Safety System +.
Battery Versus Charging Stations In The United Kingdom
The new battery system is the most notable change for the upgrade, resulting in what will probably be a welcomed increase in the vehicle’s driving range, increasing the range by more than 40% from 196 miles to 280 miles, (depending on wheel size options). In comparison, the average range of an EV in the UK is estimated to be 211 miles. The regenerative braking mechanism also charges the vehicle’s high-voltage battery, by capturing the kinetic energy.
Range anxiety in all our car reviews since 2016 has been a heated debate across the car industry. Here at the team, MenStyleFashion we have many UK frustrating electric car reviews. When it comes to access to public charging stations in the UK. It is deemed one of the worse for 2023 against its rival friends, Europe. Our best electric car review was in Holland. Rome was not built overnight, at the same time it is this frustration which is why many people are still reluctant to buy an electric car.
Inside the car, the upgraded revised multimedia system with a 12.3-inch (Lexus Link Pro) display and touchscreen technology was easy to navigate and use. The new display sits forward on the instrument panel making it easy and comfortable for the driver to operate. The graphics were clear and crisp with high definition. The “always connected” cloud-based navigation provided as standard, gives access to real-time road and traffic information. It’s stated that the Lexus Link Pro system has embedded navigation, so operation is available in areas where a cloud connection is not available.
Although not activated for the driving phase on the second day, the new voice recognition system includes using the “Hey Lexus” onboard assistant. This apparently makes for easier use of voice commands to make phone calls, operate the audio and climate control and search the net. It can also link to cloud-based information, so for example, it can be asked about nearby charging facilities and other local information. It is programmed to understand more conversational terms and can better recognize commands when there is background noise. The audio doesn’t have to be muted and the microphones can identify whether it is the driver or front passenger speaking.
True to Lexus’s famous omotenashi hospitality, owners will be able to use the Lexus Link smartphone app which transforms UX 300e into a connected car, to lock or unlock the doors, you can check the battery status, driving range, and time remaining for a complete charge. Prior to setting off on a journey, and before entering the vehicle, this app allows you to operate the heating and air-conditioning, adjusting the temperature. Due to time constraints and not having access to the app, it could not be used.
A practical and useful addition is the hands-free power-operated rear tailgate, which responds to a door-mounted switch, the tailgate operates gently during the initial and final parts of opening and closing. It can also be opened and closed from inside the car and also with the smart key.
The interior was comfortable with the seats lined with perforated leather upholstery and a Kagome pleated effect, inspired by traditional Japanese basket weave. The 1200-year-old Japanese craft “Sashiko”, (the art of stitching), predominantly used in traditional Japanese martial arts clothing, has been skilfully incorporated into the seat stitching, strengthening the stitchwork and enhancing the cabin’s aesthetic appeal.
The cabin surround, dashboard and windscreen allowed for easy access to the controls and excellent road and surrounding visibility. The interior felt open and spacious for passengers, even though the UX 300e has relatively compact exterior dimensions.
The Lexus Drive Mode Select, which allows the driver to tailor the driving experience, is positioned and operated from the left-hand side of the driver’s instrument panel, just above the indicator arm, from which the following modes can be selected:
- 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, as well as moderating air conditioning operation.
- Sport mode delivers quicker throttle response and increased steering feel.
Paddle shifts are also positioned on the steering wheel and can also assist the driver by switching between four levels of deceleration, to suit the type of road, their natural driving style, and their preferred feeling of control.
When it comes to air quality and a healthy cabin, Lexus isn’t just concerned about the emissions produced by vehicles, it is taking care to ensure the atmosphere inside its cars is kept as pure as possible, where the next generation nanoe™ X system has been used, a technology created by Panasonic. Nano-sized water particle diffusion technology creates a cleaner, healthier in-car environment, inhibiting viruses, bacteria, pollen and mould, and reducing odours. It is claimed that nanoe™ X can inhibit more than 99% of viruses and bacteria.
Additional Safety System Features
Upgrades have also been made to the UX’s Lexus Safety System +, which constantly monitors the road for potential danger. The car is now equipped with Intersection Turning Assist, which when turning at an intersection detects oncoming vehicles and pedestrians crossing in the opposite direction, and Emergency Assist, which when enabled automatically makes small corrective inputs to the steering wheel to help prevent the vehicle from unintentionally departing from its lane. The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control now has Curve Speed Reduction, which automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed to suit the radius of the bend in the road. The ‘Lexus Electrified’ driving experience has also been enhanced by detailed alterations to the UX 300e’s suspension, body, and chassis.
These additions complement the existing Lexus Safety System+ features: the Pre-Collision System can detect pedestrians at night and objects such as motorcycles during the day. Lane Tracking Assist helps the driver stay in the centre of the lane and can provide support when driving around bends. Road Sign Assist recognises traffic signs to provide information to the driver via the multi-information display or the optional Heads-Up display. I was very impressed with the Heads-Up Display which projected the vehicle’s speed, visual navigation commands and road speed limits directly onto the windscreen, making driving easier with having not to take your eyes off the road.
Other features which make it easy to drive the UX 300e include a Panoramic View on the monitor for near-360-degree visibility around the car, to help when driving in confined spaces, this was extremely useful when stationary at traffic lights and junctions, giving me a 360-degree view of any object close to the car. The Blind Spot Monitor, with radar devices mounted in the rear bumper, detects vehicles in adjacent lanes that are not visible in the door mirrors activating a light indicator in the mirrors.
Warranty and Longevity
Lexus’ confidence in the durability of its all-electric vehicle technology is affirmed by a standard warranty for 8 years or 160,000 km (whichever comes first), covering degradation of BEV battery capacity below 70%. This is complemented by a 5-year or 100,000 km warranty on all functional defects of the BEV main battery. Extended BEV Care is available to cover main battery defects and capacity degradation below 70% for up to 10 years or 1,000,000 km, provided that regular maintenance program health checks and servicing are completed at an authorised Lexus dealer. Lexus is confident, however, given its long experience in battery technologies, that actual capacity at the point should be above 85%.
The upgraded UX 300e is priced at £47,495 and debuts in showrooms across Europe in spring 2023.
As a newbie to the EV experience, this was the first time I had driven a fully electric vehicle, and I was suitably impressed. From the short time experienced in the driver’s seat, I did however find it difficult to reach around and bring forward the seatbelt. Being only 5’ 8” and having to position the driver’s seat slightly more forward, I had to twist in my seat to grasp the seatbelt. The addition of a seatbelt mechanism that presents the seat belt to the driver as they get into the vehicle and take their seat, would assist greatly in this area.
Driving Experience and Activity Day
On the second day we were driving the Lexus UX 300e to a number of sites around Edinburgh to partake in various activities which included; discovering the art of sashiko, a 1200-year-old Japanese craft, lunch at Scotts Restaurant, Port Edgar Marina, including a Miso making masterclass with Robin Sherrif, and the last stop, Blueparrot Productions for a Light Painting session with the Lexus UX 300e, guided by David Gilliver. As the weather forecasted rain and was on the cool side, I decided to go more casual (see inlaid photographs). I therefore wore; blue suede and burgundy brogue leather spectator leather soled shoes by Daniel, TM Lewin slim fit cotton trousers, Hackett London slim fit cotton burgundy shirt and an M&S light blue thin gilet. I also took for the day a Hammond & Co beige linen blazer.