LEXUS has always been the quiet executive car brand and reaches a new level of refinement with its 300e pure battery version of the existing hybrid SUV.
Some 15 years experience building hybrid cars were brought to bear when it created the UX 300e and it lacks nothing its stablemates have but adds 2020s propulsion, safety and communications technology.
There are four versions with the standard car priced from £44,095, rising to £47,595 for the UX300e with Premium Plus Pack on 17-inch wheels and the 18-inch shod version at £48,345, while the range is topped with the Takumi Pack retailing at £53,695.
The share the same beefy motor and battery, drivetrain, chassis, steering and brakes and differ only in trim and equipment.
With the UK charging network gradually expanding in the face of declining petrol and diesel models to meet Government targets within the next 13 years, the arrival of the Lexus UX 300e is well timed.
With twin charging cables, a home box installation, dedicated charging-app and international compatibility, the new UX 300e can get around fairly easily.
What is not so good is the sub-200 miles range when some BEVs are comfortably going well over that distance and it requires a bit more planning to make those longer journeys.
But if your regular runs are no more than 90 miles each way, then the Lexus UX 300e provides a very civilised and comfortable experience and if you can jiggle your diary a bit it offers rapid charging while eating or meeting before you return.
The electric motor and battery pack provide seamless surges in power when needed but you also have economy mode to stretch out the stored electricity and it has a very strong retardation and regeneration system to add a few more miles.
Depress the throttle and the power comes on strong and smoothly, quickly moving up to prevailing traffic speed and there is a reasonable urge in the mid range as well. There are no individual gears to worry about, just press and go.
We found it was probably at its best about 60mph on the motorway, and going to the UK limit will reduce the range quite appreciably and soon.
Off the motorway and onto main varied roads with descents the Lexus UX 300e behaved like a ICE model or a self-charging hybrid and the on-board computer seemed very accurate predicting journey times and power use.
It had good sharp steering input and feedback without any vibration or vagueness and the suspension soaked up bumps and potholes without complaint while keeping the four wheels firmly on the road and everything under control with a nicely balanced and strong braking system, which included the ubiquitous electric parking brake.
What you didn't feel from the suspension you heard as rumbles, potholes and ridges sent audible indications of their presence, despite the Lexus engineers going to enormous lengths to isolate sources of incoming noise. They were still there, but probably much muted compared to rivals' roadside sounds.
Secondary controls were well placed very close to the driver and needed familiarisation to operate first time each time, with most grouped on the wheelspokes and others just behind on the front of the fascia or more prominently on the central console dominated by a very large infotainment display. It was big, clear and fairly quick working but some may find it distracting to use and best left to select functions when stopped.
For the driver, the essential dials inc. the power meter, were very clear, large and well lit, and you can alter some of the displayed data through the on-board computer.
Heating and ventilation was very good throughout the cabin, backed up by powered windows.
Oddments could be pushed into a multitude of small compartments but it lacked big bins in the front or back to take, for instance, tissues, and the slim compartments limited the width of things to drop in.
The boot was a bit disappointing for an SUV and its much more the capacity of a hatchback with offset split rear seat backs folding flat to triple take up.
Access to the boot area was easy, it was well shaped and had a couple of bins either side to take deeper items like bottles, while the side doors opened wide and had a big openings to ease access and egress.
Once inside, the seats really were excellent in terms of comfort and containing their occupants, with good front seat adjustment for the driver to precisely tailor a preferred setup.
Deep windows, big mirrors and a range of sensors and camera helped keep track of what's happening around, the lights were fairly bright and far reaching with big and efficient wipers and washers.
Apart from the occasionally intrusive road rumbles, the Lexus UX 300e was a very quiet car with only an electric whine being heard, no wind noise was present.
Handling was good, grip safe and surefooted, the ride smooth and it never seemed put off by mid-corner bumps.
As more manufacturers including the premier brands now develop their BEVs, the competition is going to heat up for these expensive newcomers.