The Lucid Air has had kind of a rough ride since the company introduced it to customers with the Dream Edition in 2020, followed by the Grand Touring Performance and Grand Touring models. The issues that have plagued the car (and, by extension, the company) have included software bugs, production difficulties and more. Despite that, the Lucid Air remains a staggering if imperfect first offering. What happens when you remove almost half of its horsepower and cut more than $70,000 off its price tag? To start, you get an even better car.
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The Lucid Air’s defining feature was never its power. While I loved the time I spent in the 1,050-hp Grand Touring Performance — including the time I launched the car so hard it knocked my father-in-law’s hat off — the fact remains that I spent the bulk of my time in that car cruising around in the tamest driving mode, called Smooth. The car’s beautiful interior, comfortable ride and gorgeous styling haven’t changed in the jump down the ladder from Grand Touring to the Touring you see here.
For the all-wheel drive Touring model, Lucid detuned its drivetrain to make a peak of 620 hp, which is only accessible in Sprint, the car’s most aggressive drive mode. Launch control is still standard, and while the dip in power means an extra 0.4 seconds to 60 mph compared to the 1,050-hp Grand Touring Performance, you’d never notice it in the real world. In Smooth and Swift modes, you get 347 hp, which certainly doesn’t feel slow.
What you might notice is a dip in the maximum range, from the stellar 516 miles in the non-Performance Grand Touring down to an EPA-estimated 425 miles in the Touring on the smaller wheels. That seems like a big drop, but in practical terms it shouldn’t impact most people. What they will feel is the extra rear-seat room, because the Touring’s physically smaller battery pack makes extra space in the area where the back-seat occupant’s feet go. It’s a smart piece of design.
The rest of the experience is remarkably similar. The exterior and interior look and feel the same, though now you can option your Air Touring with a solid metal roof rather than the glass roof. It’s a $4,500 savings over the glass canopy, and as someone who lives in a hot climate, I’d consider it mandatory for comfort, not to mention the potential range savings from not having to run the car’s climate control so hard.
Some unfortunate aspects of Lucid’s design return, like the contrast stitching running across the dash behind the gauge screen. It shows up in the windshield reflection and is super annoying and distracting. The interior still has the odd bit of sharp plastic here and there, and the car’s responsiveness to the key fob or smartphone app leaves much to be desired.
The other notable change that Lucid has put in place for 2023 is a whole bunch of software updates. I can say the dashboard touchscreen is generally snappier and easier to use than I remember, but I can’t say definitively by how much without being able to test both versions side-by-side.
Like many other new EVs, the Air receives over-the-air updates from the mothership on a semi-regular basis, and while other outlets have experienced more than their share of issues with the Lucid, my negative experiences this time around were limited: a slightly confused door-ajar sensor rectified itself after I hard-closed the door a couple of times; the surround-view camera takes a little too long to boot up to be useful; and a seriously overzealous lane-keep assistant would sometimes jerk the wheel to one side or the other at random. This was easy enough to deactivate, though, and I normally turn this feature off on most cars I drive.
While I have yet to drive the base model Lucid Air Pure, I suspect the Touring model, with its very competitive price and feature set, might be the sweet spot in the Air range. It offers an ideal mix of performance, range, comfort, and styling, plus the bonus of a continued partnership between Lucid and Electrify America to offer complimentary fast-charging for up to three years.
I seriously love the Air, and it remains arguably my favorite electric vehicle to date. While the company has a long way to go before I could give it a wholehearted recommendation without a caveat for quality control issues, I know where my money would go if I were in the market for a luxury electric vehicle.
The 2023 Lucid Air Touring is on sale now with a starting price of $109,125, including $1,650 destination and $75 document fees.