From £25,960
Lexus arrives at the EV party with a converted version of its compact crossover

Why we ran it: To see if Lexus ux300e, its first EV, could compete with the established premium electric SUVs

Month 5 Month 4 - Month 3Month 2Month 1 - Specs

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Life with a Lexus ux300e: Month 5

The car that sets the template for this brand’s EV future has had 8000 miles to make its case. So what’s our verdict?

One thing the Lexus UX 300e has done since I became its custodian several months ago is make me excited for what’s coming next. That might come across as damning with faint praise, but that is not my intention. Lexus has done a lot right with its first battery-electric vehicle, and if it can carry over many of the qualities seen on the UX 300e to the upcoming RZ 450e, it could be a very good electric car indeed.

You could argue that much of its success has just been copied and pasted from the standard, hybrid UX model, but I think that sells it short. With big batteries comes a big weight-laden responsibility – and it involves maintaining drivability as well as all the other qualities Lexus is known for: comfort, premium luxury and refined performance.

Despite its 275kg weight increase (it doesn’t feel particularly heavy, by the way) over the hybrid, the UX 300e ticks many of those boxes with aplomb.

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As I’ve been banging on about for several months, it’s supremely comfortable compared with many class rivals. In true Lexus fashion, it’s a pleasant and calmingly quiet place to sit and the proverbial cherry on top is that it’s surprisingly rapid when you want it to be, too. Thanks to the  more instantaneous power delivery from an electric motor, it’s one full second quicker from 0-62mph than its hybrid counterpart.


Read our review

Car review

Refreshingly different, cost-effective premium SUV is a credible, if not class-leading, alternative

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There is a caveat, though, and I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this. Unless you live in an urban area or have constant access to a home charger, I just don’t think the range – officially 196 miles – is good enough in today’s EV market. Certainly until the charging network in more rural placesgets a bit of a seeing to.

I found myself routinely avoiding longer journeys if there was even a hint of a chance that I might need to charge. Back in the winter months, my journeys to Autocar Towers were particularly unpleasant as I needed to switch off the heating to make sure I made it home at night.

The heated seats were a genuine saving grace. Granted, that is a personal problem and not one to be faced by most UX 300e owners, who are likely to stick to shorter trips throughout the week.

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The UX 300e was hindered by its maximum charging speed of 50kW. While I could charge a Hyundai Ioniq 5 from 10% to 80% in fewer than 20 minutes, I’d be sitting waiting for 52 minutes for the UX 300e to be charged from 10-80% when using a Chademo charger.

Even the entry-level Ioniq 5 comes with a similarly sized 58kWh battery, which offers a range of 238 miles, and faster charging, all for a price significantly lower than the Lexus’s.

Few cars I’ve driven are more relaxing to sit in, though. The Lexus is smooth across most surfaces and feels largely composed on rougher country roads. The only rattles and knocks to speak of were caused by my own laziness, because I often just lobbed the charging cable back into the boot rather than storing it away properly in the compartment hidden neatly beneath it.

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Relaxation also comes in the form of how unobtrusive the car is in just letting you get on with driving. There  is a host of safety tech as standard on our Premium Plus model, such as lane assist and adaptive cruise control, but none of it is turned on by default. Whether or not that changes with the introduction of the RZ 450e remains to be seen, but I am hopeful it doesn’t.

Practicality is also not the UX 300e’s strong suit, although that’s a problem for all compact crossovers. That said, there are a few quirks about the car that grab your attention and sully its otherwise brilliant ergonomics.

The front seats, for example, are comfortable for those sitting in them, but they’re sited so low to the floor that there’s next to no space for the feet of rear passengers. My 5 ft 2in mother even lamented the strange arrangement and the lack of space the first time she got in.

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Still, I suppose that doesn’t entirely matter. The UX 300e is unlikely to be used extensively outside of the urban sprawl with any more than the front seats filled.

For those in the front, though, I can say definitively that the infotainment is simply not good enough for a car in this price range in 2022. Having played around with the much improved system on the higher Takumi trim level, the difference between the two is night and day, and the lack of a sat-nav is a let-down.

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Some of the graphics look like they’ve come straight from a first-generation PlayStation, and my once-favourite games console is significantly easier to navigate. I’d almost go entirely out of my way to avoid it by choosing Apple CarPlay instead, although using the touchpad navigator is unfortunately unavoidable because it’s also not a touchscreen.

So does the UX 300e compete with more established premium electric SUVs? I think that depends. It’s a genuinely good option if you rely solely on a home charge point and limit your driving to less than 150 miles. If you need more range, perhaps the upcoming 250-mile-plus RZ 450e will be the car for you.

Love it 

Plush materials

Premium leather seats, an attractive leather dash and neat ergonomics all felt very upmarket.

Quick off the line

Instant power delivery in a car with such unassuming looks left several drivers surprised at traffic lights

Ride comfort

It’s no Rolls-Royce, but Lexus’s pedigree for settled on-the-road comfort is on show here.

Loathe it

Infotainment system

Distracting to navigate, feature- barren, outdated graphics and not a touchscreen. I used Apple CarPlay.

Winter range

I had to turn off the climate control to conserve range in the winter, which was incredibly unpleasant.

Second opinion

The car has grown on Jack whereas my experience of it was limited to a week’s loan, and while it measured up okay, it didn’t feel like a standout car for a brand’s first EV. It’ll be interesting to see if the public judge it on raw data like its range or the more Lexus-like qualities that Jack enjoyed. PW

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Life with a Lexus UX 300e: Month 4

The UK’s EV charging network clearly still has some room for improvement - 11 May

There’s no denying that the charging network in the UK is better than it ever has been. There were 30,290 public EV chargers installed around the country at the time of writing, according to Zap Map, and about 7500 of those were installed in the past 12 months for an overall increase of 33%.

Why, then, is it still so hard to find one that works? During a recent photoshoot, our Lexus UX 300e was in desperate need of a quick boost. From our not particularly remote snapping location, we travelled 12 miles to the M4 Chieveley services, which housed the closest chargers.

On arrival, we saw that both chargers were out of action – not that we could have used them anyway, because there was a diesel van parked in the designated EV bays.

Another charger at a nearby petrol station was working, but this time we were thwarted by a different problem. It was at the back of a single parking bay, and its Chademo cable wouldn’t reach the UX 300e’s fast- charging port, no matter whether I drove the car in front first or reversed in. (That port is on the car’s left rear flank, while the port on the right rear flank is for slow, Type 2 plugs.)

It’s really frustrating to search high and low for a charger with a Chademo cable (which aren’t as common as CCS ones, because the UX 300e and Nissan Leaf are the only EVs that still use this connection type) only to find one that hasn’t been installed using any critical thinking, seemingly as almost just. a box-ticking exercise.

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It’s little uncertainties like this that understandably mean many drivers still have reservations about EVs. This extends to my Sunday-league football team, who get plenty of joy out of welcoming the “milk float” into the car park every weekend.

My ownership experience with an EV has mostly been extremely positive, but it’s difficult to argue with the idea that, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the public’s range anxiety has been replaced by charging anxiety.

Even Lexus itself was hesitant to make the switch to all-electric power, but the UX 300e has at least ramped up my excitement for the RZ 450e, the brand’s first bespoke EV. If Lexus can take the best qualities from this car and leave the bad ones behind, it will be on to a winner.

The most notable strength is the sheer plushness of the interior. I’ve recently spent time in the Volvo C40 Recharge, the Volkswagen ID 4 and the Audi Q4 E-tron Sportback, and none of these direct rivals could match the comfort and relaxation offered by the UX 300e. Of course, this is something that Lexus has always done very well indeed.

I began to appreciate it even more when I got behind the wheel of the Q4 E-tron. The Audi is the clear winner in terms of in-car technology, with its exquisite 11.6in touchscreen, head- up display and digital instrument display, which are in a different league to Lexus’s underwhelming set-up. But the materials in the UX 300e are a cut above. Everything feels solid and very well built, from the ergonomically sound physical buttons to the tasteful leather trim adorning the dashboard.

Things do start to feel a little bit scratchy and cheap in the bottom half of the interior, but overall the cabin helps to justify that eyebrow-raising list price.

Love it:

Double hinging

The storage bin inside the central armrest can be opened from both sides of the car, which is far more useful than it might sound.

Loathe it:

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Wheels spinning

The wheels can spin even under what feels like light acceleration, which is irritating at best.

Mileage: 6895

Parking perfect - 20 April 2022

A trip to Avebury on the sunniest weekend of 2022 so far highlighted how easy the UX 300e is to park. With help from (very loud) front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera, I was able to slot effortlessly into a space in an extremely busy car park, helped by its 10.4m turning circle. But it was all in vain, as I didn’t have enough change for a ticket. 

Mileage: 5942

Life with a Lexus UX 300e: Month 3

A small economy decline over time - 30 March 2022

When I was first handed the keys
to the UX 300e, its digital display showed 3.2 miles per kilowatt
hour – a reasonably efficient figure. That number has since fallen to 2.9mpkWh, which means I’m getting 18 fewer miles per charge. Is that the hours spent on the motorway or my overzealous acceleration? I might need to adjust my driving style

Mileage: 5235

Lexus economy readout

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Is this the plush electrified SUV our man has been looking for? - 16 March 2022

It is now four months into life with the Lexus UX 300e and my commute is just as comfortable as ever. The EV has excelled in most environments, with effortless acceleration and helpful regenerative braking that efficiently brings it to a near-stop in crawling traffic and at junctions.

The bulk of my driving is on motorways and A-roads, with short distances in town. It is very good in built-up areas and the compact, precise turning circle proves particularly useful in multi-storey car parks and on roundabouts.

The UX clearly enjoys being in its natural habitat – something that was confirmed to me after I handed the keys over to Autocar’s prepress manager, Darren Jones, who lives in an outer London suburb, whereas I commute in from the countryside. Darren is looking for a new car and is currently considering a Lexus NX or UX, among other options, and his checklist is clear: it has to be comfortable, electrified, premium, SUV-shaped and ideal for urban speed limits. The UX ticks all of those boxes, I would suggest.

Darren appreciated the Lexus’s smooth, comfortable ride and the spacious interior. Its relatively short range wasn’t a problem for him and plugging in once overnight provided enough juice for most of his week with the car.

In that time, the Lexus proved itself to be a usable EV even without a home charger. Darren used a three- pin socket, which charges the battery at a rate of roughly seven miles per hour. With it plugged in from 7pm to 9am, that’s around 84 miles of charge – more than enough for some short bursts of driving around the capital.

The few negatives Darren reported included the bright-white interior, which he didn’t think was an ideal environment for his young children, especially after a winter game of rugby, and Lexus’s fiddly infotainment system.

Lexus touchpad

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I share his feelings about the touchpad. It blends in nicely with the rest of the interior, but even a touchscreen would be much easier to use and safer on the move.

Unfortunately, that’s limited to the range-topping Takumi model. Darren didn’t consider it to be a deal-breaker, but it’s fair to expect more at this price point.

Overall, Darren described the UX 300e as an ideal premium electric car for low-mileage drivers living in urban areas. High praise indeed.

Not to burst the bubble, but I do have a couple of complaints of my own to report. Evening drives home from the office have highlighted that the LED headlights are angled ever so slightly too high, so I’m constantly dazzling other drivers by accident. Several oncoming drivers have flashed their lights at me aggressively, thinking that I have my full beams switched on. There’s no way to manually adjust the alignment from inside the cabin.

Another slight annoyance is that I have not yet managed to set up the Lexus Link app on my phone. This might or might not be user error, in fairness. Either way, the process should be more straightforward. It would be great to be able to pre-warm the car before my morning commute as the winter weather drags on. The UX 300e’s range is modest enough without having to heat the car for longer than necessary on the go.

Love it:

Insulation The interior is calmingly quiet, with little wind or road noise entering the cabin.

Loathe it:

Glaciation Early mornings are chilly, given that I have the climate control turned off to preserve range.

Mileage: 3994

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Hard to get the full view - 9 March 2022

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Over-the-shoulder visibility in the UX 300e is badly impeded by the door pillars and a high window line, while the adjustable steering wheel is a bit awkward, too. I am just over 6ft tall and can’t quite adjust it high enough for my most comfortable driving position. Thankfully, this Premium Plus model has parking sensors and a reversing camera.

Mileage: 3117

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Life with a Lexus UX 300e: Month 2

No pointers on where to charge - 23 February 2022

Lexus app menu

Apple CarPlay and Google Maps are lifesavers on the UX. The lack of sat-nav becomes especially apparent when the car is low on power as there’s no built-in way of finding the nearest EV charge point. It’s a feature you’d very much expect on a £45,000 car, but sat-nav isn’t even a configurable option unless you go for a top-spec £51,345 Takumi Pack.

Mileage: 2623

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It’s plush and comfy, but its range and charging times are short of the mark - 16 February 2022

So far, life with an EV has been relatively simple. Charging at home is worry-free, so I’m setting myself the challenge to use public chargers as much as possible from now on – something I had little choice but to do when on a trip up to Buckinghamshire. I followed Zap Map to the nearest Chademo- compatible connector, a BP Pulse unit that turned out to need a subscription card. Drat.

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It was a case of second time lucky as I made my way to a Lidl supermarket that had a Pod Point rapid charger – one I could use, as I already had the app downloaded. A few taps on the screen and adding £5 of credit via the app and I was away.

The UX 300e is limited to a 50kW charging speed using its fast Chademo connection, and this particular Pod Point charger estimated around 90 minutes to get from 9% to a full battery.

Jw lexus ux300e charging

While I was waiting and enjoying an overpriced hot chocolate, I had a flick through previous Autocar reports on similarly priced electric cars to compare charging speeds. My conclusion was that the Lexus’s numbers are some way behind those of its rivals.

That maximum 50kW charge rate is useful, of course, but competitors such as the Volvo XC40 Recharge can charge at speeds up to three times faster. The Volkswagen ID 4, meanwhile, supports a 125kW charging rate, and even some lesser-priced options, such as the Kia e-Niro, are capable of utilising fast charging speeds of 100kW.

All three models have much longer ranges, too, making the 196- mile Lexus offering appear rather paltry. My parents, for example, have a long-range e-Niro and rarely, if ever, need to charge during the week, thanks to the 282 miles it offers.

Most crossovers are used in towns and cities, though, so those able to plug in overnight and urban dwellers with short commutes or with few day-to-day miles to cover might not notice the difference.

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The closest fast chargers to where I live, however, are 15 miles away, located at a typical motorway service station. They’re Shell Recharge units.

Having to make a round trip of 30 miles – out of the UX 300e’s total of around only 150 real-world miles – reinforced my early sense that this car can be everything for someone but not something for everyone. Especially as not all potential owners will have the luxury of a wallbox at home.

Even with a dwindling range, though, it’s difficult to feel anything other than at ease when driving the UX 300e. It’s supremely relaxing and comfortable, and I’m making good use of the plush leather arm rests, adaptive cruise control, automatic headlights and Apple CarPlay, which removes the tedium of navigating the infotainment’s remote touch system.

Moreover, those of a nervous disposition can be reassured that the remaining range figure displayed on the digital dials is accurate, if not as high as they might like. Indeed, I’ve noticed that as soon as I crank up the climate control (as one tends to do during the cold winter months), 20 miles of estimated range is knocked straight off.

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I did get a scare on one occasion when I parked up for the night with seven miles of range showing on the display, only to restart the Lexus the next (particularly cold) morning and find a solitary mile remaining.

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Thankfully, the car was in my driveway and I had no plans for the rest of the day, so I was able to simply plug it in and recuperate some power. Only a month in and my home wallbox has already saved my bacon.

Love it:

Ride comfort Everyone agrees that the ride is smooth and the seats are extremely comfortable.

Loathe it:

Reduced rear room Rear space is compromised by seats that are too low to the floor. There’s no room beneath the front seats for a passenger’s feet.

Mileage: 1751

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Life with a Lexus UX 300e: Month 1

Convenience is key - 26 January 2022

As it’s the start of a new year, I’ve been going to my gym more, and it just so happens that it has a free EV charger. At 7kW, it isn’t particularly fast, but it’s good for about 20 miles of range in the time I’m working out, so I can keep the Lexus topped when I’m working from home. The charger quite often refuses to release my cable, though, which is annoying.

Mileage: 838

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Welcoming the UX to the fleet - 19 January 2022

If you’re looking for an electric SUV, you’re certainly not short of choice. Across the price spectrum there's the Peugeot e-2008, Volkswagen ID 4 and Jaguar I-Pace, while Hyundai and Kia have set the trend for all-round quality along with excellent range. And so to Lexus, the latest to throw its hat into the EV ring.

The UX 300e is an interesting proposition. Built on Toyota’s GA-C platform and evolved from the UX hybrid, it is Lexus’s maiden battery-electric car and technically the first from its parent company, too.

It’s a low-slung, mid-size crossover that looks far more imposing than its dimensions suggest, and it’s no slouch. Under the skin is a motor producing 201bhp and 221lb ft. This powers the front wheels and will get you from 0-62mph in 7.5sec. Regenerative braking is part of the set-up, although none of the four levels allows for one-pedal driving.

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Initial driving impressions are thus: power delivery is strong and it pulls forward nicely, but the front wheels will spin if you’re overzealous on the throttle from a standstill.

I’m not sure if this quiet, refined thing will be fully at home whizzing around the countryside, though. Ride comfort and insulation so far have been excellent but have made it tough to know exactly where the wheels are pointing and you get little feel of the road beneath you. What’s more, at 1840kg, it’s a pretty hefty car.

The UX 300e’s 54.4kWh battery is good for a 196 miles of range on the WLTP test cycle. Lexus says it’s capable of charging from empty to 100% in eight hours via a 6.6kW wallbox or from 10-80% in around 50 minutes using a 50kW rapid charger.

Significantly, it’s one of just two EVs on sale in the UK – the other being the Nissan Leaf – that uses the Japanese-standard Chademo rapid-charging connector, rather than the much more prevalent CCS type.

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The UX 300e courts a starting price of £41,745, for which you get 17in wheels, climate control, a reversing camera with guidelines, front and rear parking sensors, automatic bi-LED headlights and electrically adjustable seats. Meanwhile, behind the steering wheel sits a partially customisable digital instrument display.

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Our car is a mid-range model equipped with the Premium Plus options pack, which bumps the price up to a slightly eye-watering £45,245. Extra kit includes a wireless smartphone charger, smart keyless entry, heated seats (the front ones are also ventilated), a heated steering wheel and privacy glass.

Inside, the UX 300e is lounge-like. As you would expect from Lexus, it’s an extremely comfortable and relaxing place to be. Our car is equipped with white leather seats, whose surfaces I will have to be careful with after a game of football or muddy dog walk.

There’s a mixture of leather-effect materials and soft plastics all around the cabin. The dashboard looks and feels premium, although explore below the centre console and you will start to find scratchier and cheaper-feeling plastics.

The centrepoint of the cabin is the 7.0in infotainment display. This is the same unit found in several other Lexus models, and my initial impressions of it aren’t entirely positive. For one, it’s not a touchscreen (hear me out). Instead, menus have to be navigated via a touchpad and small control unit, which are fiddly and require too much concentration to use safely on the move. What’s more, the screen itself is on the stingy side compared with rivals. The laptop-comparable 15.0in displays found in the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model 3 might be overkill for some, but this one seems equally out of proportion in a modern electric car.

A larger 10.3in display is available in the UX 300e, but for that you need to move up to the range-topping Takumi model, which costs £51,345. There’s also no sat-nav at this level, which makes the standard inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto a godsend (unless you don’t have a smartphone, of course).

What might prove to be the main sticking point, however, is not the infotainment quibbles but the UX 300e’s price and range combination.

Naturally, Lexus has marketed it as a luxurious, premium alternative to other compact crossovers in the segment, but a competitive range is a luxury in itself that the UX 300e lacks. The Kia e-Niro offers 282 miles and the Mustang Mach-E 273 miles, yet both of them undercut the Japanese challenger on price.

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I’ve yet to suffer range anxiety in an EV, but it will be interesting to see if the UX 300e is capable of hitting that 196-mile figure in reality – and whether I have the nerve to find out on my approximately 150-mile round trip to Autocar headquarters.

We know motorways aren’t kind to EV range, and nor is winter weather. So far, I’ve managed to charge it up to only 186 miles, and on the few times that I have driven it to the office, I’ve rationed my use of the climate control and other electronic luxuries to make sure I can get back home on one charge.

It can get jolly chilly in that all-white cabin and my home wallbox is working overtime from Monday to Friday. Even so, electric motoring is the way to go right now. Let’s hope I feel the same way once the honeymoon period is over.

18 Lexus ux300e 2022 long term review jw driving

Second Opinion

When I had a go in one of the first electric UXs to land here, it felt like all the plush, calming cars on which Lexus built its reputation, only even quieter. Ideal for Jack’s M3 commute, but what about when he ventures away from that and outside the urban sprawl? That will be the real test of it.

Piers Ward

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Lexus ux300e specification

Prices: List price new £45,245 List price now £46,145 Price as tested £45,815 

Options: Celestial Blue paint £570

Battery and range: Official range: 196 miles Battery (total/usable): 54.3/50kWh (est) Test average 158 miles (3.2mpkWh) Test best 177 miles (3.5mpkWh) Test worst 140 miles (2.8mpkWh)

Tech highlights: 0-62mph 7.5sec Top speed 100mph Engine Permanent magnet synchronous motor Max power 201bhp Max torque 221lb ft Boot capacity 367 litres Wheels 17in, alloy Tyres 215/60 R17 Kerb weight 1840kg

Service and running costs: Contract hire rate £429 pcm CO2 0/km Service costs None Other costs None Electricity costs £469 Running costs inc fuel £469 Cost per mile 6 pence Faults None

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16 Lexus ux300e 2022 long term review on road rear

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Join the debate

Add a comment…
burdenevolve 17 January 2024

With the Premium Plus options pack, which brings the price of our vehicle up to a slightly eye-popping £45,245, our vehicle is a model that falls somewhere in the middle of the range.

xxxx 2 February 2022

Toyota late to party and you would have thought they'd come up with something a bit special but in the real world pretty much everyone has a better range/price point even the 4 year model 3 which happens to be 160kg or so lighter.

michael knight 23 January 2022

£45k for something the size of an e2008.