By on November 22, 2019

Lexus’ first production electric vehicle carries a name that should spur fond memories of a boxy Mercedes-Benz sedan. Yes, the 300E was a desirable German car. Even today, the E 300e is a compelling electrified midsize alternative to those other sedans on the market.

But we’re not here to talk about Mercedes-Benz, even though it’s hard not to when you name a new vehicle the 300e. In this case, it’s the Lexus UX 300e… and it’s not for you, as Corey would say.

By “you,” we mean North Americans. The UX 300e unveiled this week in China will not make it to these shores; rather, the subcompact CUV will only be made available to buyers in China, Japan, and Europe.

The big intro came Friday at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition — a trade show that understandably hasn’t gotten much press over here, what with the almost concurrent LA Auto Show and its controversial debuts. Front-drive in nature, the UX 300e is the first vehicle launched under the brand’s Lexus Electrified product strategy.

Lexus boasts of the 300e’s “anxiety-free 400km” range, which translates to 249 miles on the New European Driving Cycle. Were it to come here, the EPA would rate it slightly lower.

The added weight of the 54.3 kWh underfloor battery pack means a lower center of gravity for drivers, but it also meant changes were necessary elsewhere. Specifically, the platform needed additional braces, while the shock absorbers required a recalibration of their damping force.

Power? It’s there, and it’s more plentiful that in other UX variations. The front-mounted motor generates 201 horsepower, with 221 lb-ft of torque on tap. Compare that to the 169 hp and 151 lb-ft in the entry-level UX 200 or the 181 combined horsepower in the UX 250h.

Again, you can’t get one here, but Chinese and European buyers can expect to receive theirs sometime next year. Lexus has a different plan for America. While the brand hasn’t revealed (or even identified) a specific model just yet, it plans to tailor its electric products for the markets in which they’re sold. The little UX is right-sized for Europe and China, but U.S. customers might demand a beefier, more practical-sized EV.

The EV introductions at this week’s LS Auto Show seem to back up that assertion.

[Image: Lexus]

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15 Comments on “Lexus’ First EV Won’t Break the Internet...”

  • avatar

    The electric drivetrain aside, the UX is probably the most pointless vehicle I’ve encountered in some time – it’s a dressed-up Corolla for 40 large, and you don’t even get AWD. And – oh, yeah – it’s ugly as hell.

    (Shakes head.)

    • 0 avatar

      You can get an NX for only a bit more and it is SO MUCH better in every way.

      Honestly I think the NX is underrated in the near-luxury CUV class. The interior feels a lot less compromised and cost-cut than most of its competition.

  • avatar

    The black fender moldings look very un-Lexus-like to me, but might make perfect sense for the target market.

    (The gloss level on the black plastic fender moldings doesn’t tie in with the black plastic Predator grille? Perhaps no one cares.)

  • avatar

    If anything Lexus is going to go EV here it’s the RX just for the fact it’s their best seller.

    Yeah and I agree with FreedMike, the U(gly)X can just go away.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d expect the NX first. Big CUVs are going to be a challenge to electrify with their combination of weight and packaging.

      A battery-electric NX priced at $5k over the gas version would sell like gangbusters around here. Of course the price is the challenge with that. Batteries still need to get cheaper.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “249 miles on the New European Driving Cycle. Were it to come here, the EPA would rate it slightly lower.”

    Roughly 15% lower, which puts its EPA range at around 212 miles – not terrible for 54 kWh and that much motor power. Not a bad effort.

    I don’t know why they’d characterize the range as ‘anxiety-free’. Every car’s range is anxiety-free until you get to the bottom of the tank, no matter how big that tank is.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Jesus H.

    Another “SUV” with no ground clearance; doors that extend up to the roof; chopped C pillar; Peterbilt front end.

    People actually get paid to style these cars?

    • 0 avatar

      It is a compact hatchback designed to fit 20″ wheels and have a high seating position. If you start with those objectives in mind the result is about what you’d expect.

  • avatar

    If it is not for us why we should even care? It not something to be exited about either. Pointless news.

  • avatar
    Peter Gazis

    Brilliant! Toyota should do the same thing with every Lexus. Sell it only in China.

  • avatar

    I’ve been wondering why Lexus hasn’t been Toyota’s high-tech EV brand.

    I really want to love Lexus, but the predator grille and the lack of EVs have both kept me away. Tesla really is the company to beat, at least for my future dollars.

    • 0 avatar

      “I really want to love Lexus”

      You cannot “want” to love something or somebody. Love is an intensive feeling that you fall into without presenting formal explanation why you would do that. It just happens. Love is blind. You can fall in love even with Lada (the car).

  • avatar

    Ok, time for the ole “break the internet” trope to die. It’s stupid.

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