Consumers’ long wait for a sub-$100,000 Lucid Air came to an end with the summer arrival of the Pure edition. Simplified and packing a smaller battery, the Pure is a pared down version of the luxe original but it still houses the same bones and essence, with the same limo-like qualities and electric rush. It’s still made for highway cruising, though it can’t always handle rough roads. While still modern and fancy, it can work as a sedan for busy families bustling through the suburbs.
A far cry from the original Air’s Dream Edition ($169,000 at launch), the “entry level” Pure is a 480 horsepower, 410-mile range version for $87,400. (It was initially priced at $89,050 before a summer price drop.) It still uses two of Lucid’s small, lightweight electric motors, they’re just less powerful. A rear-wheel drive, single motor Pure is coming soon ($82,400) with production slated this month. While the Pure is new this summer (with a new Fathom Blue Metallic color for the new variant), the Lucid brand arrived in late 2021 but everyone turns around to gawk at (and ask about) the new kid on the block.
Lucid’s lineup is now topped by the Grand Touring and GT Performance ($125,600 and $161,500, respectively) followed by the Touring ($95,000). A separate, triple-motor performance Air Sapphire ($249,000) is also coming this year after much teasing.
But while the Pure feels like a new car within the Air lineup, it retains the original trims’ luxury bent even without executive seats or a glass roof or ultra-long, 500-plus mile range. It goes up against similar passenger-oriented luxury liners like the Mercedes-Benz EQS and EQE, BMW i7 and Genesis Electrified G80. Technically a Tesla Model S rival, the Pure features a much more opulent interior.
The Pure maintains the Air’s big car feel and is only a bit more “sluggish” than its GT and Touring counterparts with 3.8 second sprints from zero-to-60 mph. It’s still wide and boatlike, which can be a chore in city driving, barely making it through tight urban side streets and driveways.
Its size does have some benefits, however, and spaciousness is where the Pure shines. In the backseat you’ll find 37.4 inches of rear legroom, more than Tesla or Genesis. It’s the same story in the passenger and driver cockpit with 45.4 inches. Beyond legroom, the trunk and front trunk (“frunk”) stand out as capacious holds.
The fast-charging battery makes you the envy of the Electrify America station and you’ll be hard-pressed to run down the battery with its 380-mile range while sporting bigger tires. Other Pures will get up to 410 miles.
But behind the modern interior is an over-reliance on touchscreens and high-tech convenience. Numerous over-the-air updates have changed the system interface (we even received an update during a brief long weekend press loan period) and Apple’s CarPlay is now available wirelessly. But it’s still fairly gimmicky to swipe between screens. Locking and unlocking the doors seems to be a sticking point with an overambitious attempt to make the process too streamlined.
EV Performance on the Road and at the Plug
While this isn’t the 1,100-horsepower Air that Lucid launched, the Pure’s 480 hp and 3.8-second time to 60 mph aren’t anything to sneer at. Later this year, we’ll see the single-motor, rear-drive setup with 430 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque and, according to Lucid, a zero-to-60 time of about 4.5 seconds. That’s still on par with big gas-powered luxury ships like the Audi A8.
It’s almost too easy to hit 80 mph on the freeway, and with its stable, battery-heavy base the ride feels steady even on curvy mountain roads. Though as a low-riding sedan the suspension feels bouncy on uneven surfaces, a feeling possibly exaggerated by the big wheels.
The regenerative braking settings are too aggressive when set to the max and almost made passengers nauseous, but it helps to recoup battery power lost to too-fast-highway driving that can happen without thinking.
(Still) The Long Ranger
Lucid is still a new EV brand and only has the Air sedan so far (the Gravity SUV will be revealed in November), but it’s already established itself as the range and efficiency leader. The rear-drive Pure on 19-inch rims gets 410-mile range and 131 to 140 MPGe, 10 to 20 MPGe better than the (non-Plaid) Model S and anywhere from 38 to 51 MPGe better than BMW, Mercedes or Genesis.
Tesla’s Model S once thought it was the EV king with 405-mile range, but even the lowly Pure tops that. The EQS is at 340 and the i7 at 318. The dual-motor Pure with 20-inch wheels (for an extra $1,500) slows down the car to 380 miles, but ask yourself, when was the last time you drove 380 miles in one day?
The Pure (and Touring) have a 92 kWh battery (smaller than the Grand Touring’s 112 kWh beast). Lucid has found most of its customers charge at home on a Level 2 (which takes eight to nine hours for a full charge) garage system. But the Air’s 900 volt architecture and sophisticated thermal management system make public charging less of a pain.
If you can find one of Electrify America’s fast chargers, the Pure can add refuel quicker than other vehicles waiting to plug in, up to 250 kW. At a 150 kW station the Pure added 50% (25% to 75% state of charge) in 33 minutes. Like other Airs, the Pure includes complimentary fast charging sessions at Electrify America stations, but only for one year (other versions get up to three years).
Pared Down Opulence
While Pure implies a toned down experience, the newest Lucid Air is still a luxury machine. It has an aluminum roof instead of a glass canopy and fewer upgrade options (there’s only one interior package with the Mojave color scheme) and the platinum exterior package. You won’t find any leather material, but the upholstery and seating maintain a lavish feel.
The comfort and quality is miles ahead of Tesla’s sedans. Small touches like a California bear etched into the middle console or retracting touchscreen give a nod that this is a luxury vehicle. The cushiony headrests don’t feel budget when you’re waiting for the battery to recharge.
None of the Airs have been tested by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but the Lucid Air earns a top five-star overall rating from the European New Car Assessment Program (EuroNCAP), an EU agency.
The Pure comes with the base DreamDrive advanced driver assistance features which includes: automatic emergency braking, blind spot warnings, automatic parking, collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control with lane centering and stop-and-go capability. A more advanced DreamDrive Premium is available for $2,000, while a $9,000 DreamDrive Pro system includes a lidar unit and level 3 driver assistance. The Air’s driver monitor is also always watching.
For the exterior you can’t add a black “stealth” look, but there’s a new color for the Pure: Fathom Blue Metallic. It’s a deep iridescent blue that emphasizes the luxury components of the pared down Air.
It may be called the Pure version, but that doesn’t mean stripped down or basic tech features. The infotainment system is the same snazzy setup with a 34-inch, 5K display that includes a driver information screen and left-hand touchscreen, center touch screen that interacts with a retractable lower screen. It’s a bit much, though it works once you get used to it. It’d be nice to have a button for the defroster instead of a discreet touchscreen button.
The steering wheel controls volume and media selection, but the buttons were finicky and didn’t feel good to touch. The Lucid mobile app and digital key system sound useful, but in reality it’s just one more thing to deal with. Its proprietary user system has been updated many times since launch and now includes wireless Apple CarPlay, which makes messaging much easier. Again, Lucid did well with integrating established apps like Spotify, but its voice control system is Amazon Alexa based, requiring yet another third-party login.
Room for Style
From a distance the Pure is hard to distinguish from its Air brethren, with only a few “Pure” emblems around the doors to give away the fact that you didn’t spend $130K on it.
It features the same wide stance with a swooping front light bar and is the same overall shape and size. It’s decidedly less lozenge-shaped than the EQS and more retro-cool than the Model S silhouette. Once closer up you’ll notice the aluminum roof, but if using a roof rack, you’ll appreciate the more sturdy surface in place of the panoramic glass. Inside there’s only fabrics and not a spot of Nappa leather. It’s still stylish and well-made.
The best holdover from the original Air is the same room to stretch and space to pack the front and back trunks. While the 37.4 inches in the back are bigger than Tesla or Genesis, the EQS does win in this measurement, but it’s so comfortable back there, no one will notice. Despite its width, the Lucid also manages this huge back seat in a much smaller overall footprint than the EQS or i7.
With its own air control console it’s only missing media controls for passengers to enjoy their own little world. While lower than a SUV to load, it was easy enough to install a carseat and spacious enough to have both parents ride in the back comfortably next to the baby latched into the middle. All seats have heating, a nice touch for a limo-like experience.
Storage space is a non-issue in the Air, Pure or otherwise. The same hefty frunk is a useful space for secure storage and its sunken hold was a hidden blessing when road tripping with others. The 16.1 cubic-foot trunk also has a sunken compartment and plenty of space to keep charging equipment. Inside, the cupholders and phone holders were strangely tight, but the center console could hold most everyday items. No one was wanting for space.
In the Genesis you’ll only find 10.8 cubes in the cargo space, while the Tesla crushes the competition with 25 cubic-feet in the trunk. The EQS is close behind with 22 cubes.
How Much Does the 2023 Lucid Air Pure Cost? Is It Worth It?
The Lucid Air Pure is the new base model and offers a more affordable way into luxury electric life. The starting price includes nearly all features at $82,400, not including a $1,500 destination fee.
The all-wheel drive version with dual motors is already available, while the rear-wheel, single-motor variant is coming soon, later in September. Pricing has fluctuated with a summer price drop, but as of mid-September AWD versions were available with lower launch pricing. The AWD will eventually start at $87,400 which is lower than Tesla’s Model S Plaid equivalent ($89,990).
For a high-mileage, all-electric luxury sedan the Pure is the car to go for. While Lucid is still in a nascent stage for customer care and technology in and out of the car, if you’re a patient, early adopter you can get the Air experience without the over-the-top features, but at the expense of mind-blowing range.
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