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2023 Lucid Air Pure: fledgling, worthy luxury sedan

James Raia

It’s difficult to consider the 2023 Lucid Air Pure the entry-level vehicle of the young carmaker’s five trims. It’s the brand’s least expensive and least powerful sedan. But it would be many manufacturers’ flagship offering.

The 2023 Lucid Air Pure is a continuation of the car’s debut in late 2021 as a 2022 model. Its starting price is $77,400, with Lucid’s latest, the top-line Sapphire, priced at $249,000 (no options).

The 2023 Lucid Air Pure is an "entry-level" luxury EV sedan with a lot to offer.
The 2023 Lucid Air Pure is an “entry-level” luxury EV sedan with a lot to offer.

Performance is the key for all trims, a “meager” 430 horsepower to the highest in the mainstream car industry, the Sapphire’s 1,234 horsepower. With its single-motor, rear-wheel drive layout, the Air Pure is exemplary for daily driving requirements.

If it were the only trim, Lucid enthusiasts would be satisfied. But even within the launching point of the trims level, an additional $5,000 gets the reviewed two-motor upgrade and an additional 50 horsepower. From there, more power, more elegance and more technology push the Lucid into rarified luxury status.

As one of nearly a dozen carmakers trying to infiltrate Tesla’s dominance in the luxury EV marketplace, it all works.  While the Pure doesn’t include the top-line executive trims, glass roof or the carmaker’s impressive 500-plus mile range, there’s still plenty to appreciate.

Competition includes the BMW i7, Genesis Electrified G80 and Mercedes-Benz EQS. The Air’s opulent interior styling, its attention-grabbing exterior and statistical wonderments are all impressive. The Air was named Motor Trend’s 2022 Car of the Year, the first time a new car model won the award.

The interior design and materials quality in the 2023 Lucid Air Pure is top-line.
The interior design and materials quality in the 2023 Lucid Air Pure is top-line.

Still, sales levels have only shown consumers still need to be convinced Lucid is a worthy choice. The carmaker’s goal was 10,000 deliveries in 2023. Still, AutoWeek reported the carmaker made just 1,550 vehicles during the third quarter of 2023 ending Sept. 30, and is several thousand sales shy of its goal.

Lucid, which recently lowered the MSRP on 2023 models, made 7,180 cars last year. And it’s set to soon introduce its first sport utility vehicle. The Air has regenerative braking, reducing the occasions when a driver has to brake. The system has personal-preference options for the “one-pedal” operation. Also, there’s no ignition. Have the key fob nearby, put the car in drive and accelerate.

Likewise, there’s no manual locking. Exit the vehicle in park and the doors lock and the handles recess flush in about 20 seconds. The Lucid Air also has a state-of-the-art charging system called the Wunderbox. It has a 900-volt architecture, fast charging as quick as 20 miles per minute and AC charging of 80 miles per hour. Like other EVs, performance is impressive. How fast is fast enough is subjective. But when the industry standard is accomplished in under four seconds, does the nuanced difference, measured in tenths of a second, really matter?

Safety features, called DreamDrive ($10,000), include: adaptive cruise control, automated parking, blind-spot assist, driver-attention warning and front and rear parking sensors. A front-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane centering, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert and traffic sign recognition push the Air to near technology overload.

A surround sound audio system adds another $4,000. A 34-inch touchscreen envelopes most of the dash and is home to gauges and infotainment functions. A smaller standalone vertical touchscreen in the console center houses the climate control, the three drive modes and the touch-only control for the glovebox. Navigation options are available simultaneously on both screens.

Despite financial setbacks, investment from the Middle East and less-than-impressive acceptance, the Lucid Air Pure and the previously reviewed Touring trim showcase the brand at its best. The cars are innovative and handsome. The design is modern and industry-bending. The lineup is comfortable, spacious and fun to drive.

Given a chance, perhaps with revised marketing and promotion, the California-based Lucid luxury electric vehicle brand will make a difference. Competition in the automotive industry is never a bad thing.

Article Last Updated: October 30, 2023.

1 thought on “2023 Lucid Air Pure: fledgling, worthy luxury sedan”

  1. High interest rates and an uncertain economy have hampered the sales of all premium cars, and the ‘bad vibes’ surrounding Tesla and its management surely hasn’t helped Lucid. Nevertheless, these are great cars. My Air GT is a phenomenal freeway cruiser, making the hop from DFW to Little Rock without stopping, or it would if the driver could. I stop every couple hours for a break and plug-n-play charging is available along all freeways I’ve driven here in the middle of the country. Lucid’s quick charging means I seldom have to wait for it to get enough to continue my trip.
    I do want to drive a rear wheel drive Air Pure. That pure RWD power should enhance the Air’s already strong reputation as a “driver’s car.” Lucid’s 3-row SUV rolls out mid-November.

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