Updates to the Toyota Motor group luxury brand Lexus’ UX small SUV line here in the UK include a boost in the BEV 300e variant’s driving range of about 40%, or now up to 280 miles.
There is also a new multimedia system with greater functionality and enlarged display, a new 250h F Sport Design trim/equipment grade, a new bi-tone paint option for the 250h hybrid, adaptive variable suspension made standard for the F Sport and enhancements to Lexus Safety System+.
The extra 300e range is due to the introduction of a new, more powerful battery. The lithium-ion battery capacity has been increased from its original 54.3kW/h to 72.8kW/h so, though maximum motor output remains 201bhp/150kW, the BEV is able to cover a greater distance on a full charge. The current UX 300e has a WLTP range of up to 196 miles (on 17-inch wheels); the new model’s range is up to 280 miles on 17-inch rims, or 273 miles with 18-inch wheels.
Detailed changes to enhance the driving experience include fine-tuning of the steering and shock absorber settings to sharpen dynamic performance, while additional spot welding increases body rigidity. These alterations are said to improve the car’s responsiveness and planted feel, characteristics accentuated by the low centre of gravity and under floor battery pack. Changes were made to the sound insulation to achieve an even quieter cabin.
The new multimedia system has eight or 12-inch touchscreens according to model, cloud navigation and introduces a new “Hey Lexus” voice assistant. A new voice recognition system can link to cloud-based information, so, for example, it can be asked about nearby fuel prices and other local information. It is programmed to understand more conversational terms and is better able to recognise commands when there is background noise – the audio doesn’t have be muted and the microphones can recognise whether it is the driver or front passenger speaking.
The updated 250h is available now; the 300e will be launched during the second half of 2023.
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The UX is Lexus’s best-selling model in Europe and closely rivals the mid-size NX model in the UK.
Electrified vehicles accounted for 96% of all Lexus sales in western Europe in 2021 (99% in the UK). SUVs currently command 87% of the brand’s new car sales in the region. Last year, the UX led the pack with 21,144 units sold, ahead of the NX and large RX ‘self-charging’ and plug-in hybrids which sold 19,493 units and 18,346 units respectively.