Lexus upgrades its UX family with new batteries

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The principal technical change for the UX 300e is the introduction of a new, more powerful battery which helps increase the car’s driving range by up to 280km (450km). Both vehicles have added a new multimedia system as well.

Upgrading the UX 250h

The self-charging hybrid electric UX 250h is powered by a combination of a 2.0-litre petrol engine and two electric motors, producing a total power output of 181bhp (135kW).

Both front and all-wheel drive versions are available, the latter deploying Lexus’s electronic E-Four system which uses a separate high-torque motor generator on the rear axle, which supplies drive torque to the rear wheels when the car’s stability control system (VSC) detects any loss of grip from the front wheels. The front/rear power distribution is optimised to help maintain grip and keep the vehicle stable, improving stability when cornering by adjusting rear-wheel power to correct over or understeering.

The rear motor also acts as an energy generator for the UX’s regenerative braking system, so more kinetic energy can be captured when the car brakes or slows and stored as electricity in the hybrid battery. Other changes include enhanced and additional Lexus Safety System+ functions, a new F Sport Design grade and a bi-tone paintwork option for the UX 250h.

Along with a low centre of gravity and the location of the battery pack beneath the floor, changes are also being made to the sound insulation to achieve a quieter in-cabin sound (Photo: Lexus)

Enhancing the battery electric UX300e

The UX 300e is Lexus’s first battery electric vehicle (BEV), and the lithium-ion battery’s capacity has been increased from 54.3kW/h to 72.8kW/h. As a result, although the vehicle’s maximum output remains 201bhp (150kW) it is able to cover a greater distance on a full charge. The current UX 300e has a  Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) range of up to 196 miles (315km). The the new model’s range is up to 280 miles (450km) on 17in rims, or 273 miles with 18in (439km) wheels.

The steering has been improved, along with shock absorber settings, while additional spot-welding increases body rigidity. These alterations improve the car’s responsiveness and planted feel.

The UX family

The car is built on Lexus’s GA-C global architecture platform, a light, rigid structure and one which Lexus says enhances chassis performance via back door reinforcement and additional spot welds on the back panel and side members. As standard, the vehicles feature a 2,640 mm wheelbase and 10.4 m kerb-to-kerb turning diameter. Lightweight aluminium is used for the side doors, wings and bonnet, and composite materials for the tailgate.

Lexus Drive Mode Select features a number of condition specific driving modes; Normal drive mode balances performance and fuel economy; ECO mode maximises fuel by smoothing throttle response and moderating air conditioning, and Sport mode delivers quicker throttle response and increased steering feel.

In F Sport models, which are now equipped with Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) as standard, drivers can access Sport S+, and Custom, which will either activate the  AVS’ damping force control switches to firmer settings, or  combine the modes of the powertrain, chassis, and air conditioning functions.

Cloud-based navigation is provided as standard, giving access to real time road and traffic information for easier journey planning. The Lexus Link Pro system has embedded navigation, so operation is available in areas where cloud connection is not available (Photo: Lexus)

The AVS provides continual adjustment of the damping force at each wheel, responding to signals from steering, yaw rate, and linear G-sensors. This results in sharper handling and chassis response, reduced body roll when cornering and smoother ride quality. The AVS’s control system is also tuned to reduce high and mid-frequency vibration.

Multimedia connectivity

According to equipment grade, models are fitted with either eight inch or 12.3in displays, with touchscreen technology replacing the previous trackpad control.  Significantly increased computing power means command responses are quicker.

Wireless smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay or wired integration via Android Auto comes as standard. Updates to the multimedia system software can be delivered over-the-air using the car’s data communication module (DCM). Connectivity options include a USB-A port in the centre console box for playback of high-resolution sound sources and two USB-C ports for device charging on the console.

Owners can also use the Lexus Link smartphone app to lock or unlock the doors or operate the air conditioning system remotely, so that the cabin can be cooled or warmed before they set off on a journey. The system’s new voice recognition system includes the option of using the “Hey Lexus” on-board assistant.

Safety standards

Revisions to the UX‘s Lexus Safety System+ include the pre-collision system, equipping the car with intersection turning assist, emergency steering assist, and dynamic radar cruise control adopts The UX 300e will be launched in the UK during the second half of 2023, while the UX 250h is commercially available.

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