2023 Lucid Air Touring Review: Quick Take

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

Electric vehicles have transformed the idea of a startup automotive company.

Hyundai took decades to get where it is. Tesla helped Toyota build an electric RAV4 and crammed batteries in a rebodied Lotus before it truly changed the industry with the Model S.

Then there’s Lucid which, along with the similarly fresh-faced Rivian, have almost immediately set the bar in the segments in which they’ve launched products. A futuristic mega-sedan with big range and a deep roster of talent behind it, the Lucid Air is a luxury car like no other. It’s not quite perfect—but boy does it come close.

As part of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s yearly TestFest activities, I took a quick spin in the big sedan to find out how it’s challenging the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

What’s a Touring?

The Touring is one step up from the entry point of Air ownership, known as the Pure. Touring models employ a dual-motor setup for electric all-wheel drive, pulling charge from a 92.0-kilowatt-hour battery pack. (Higher trims use packs around 20-percent larger, depending on model.) With 620 horsepower—a wee bit over half of what the top Air Sapphire throws down—the Touring will scoot to 60 mph (96 km/h) in just 3.4 seconds.

As ever with EVs, the rolling stock plays a big role in the range. Lucid gives buyers a no-cost option: 19-inch wheels on all-seasons for the headline 425 miles (684 kilometers), or these stylish five-spoke 20s and 384 mi (618 km). The larger wheels also switch over to Michelin summer tires, and gain 20 millimeters of width at the rear (265/40Rs).

We’ve had around two years to get used to the Air’s shape. To these eyes it’s still impressive, in that Quiet Luxury way that Succession defined so well—and in which the Air made a suitably low-key appearance. It looks almost impossibly wide, the clamshell hood only accentuating the width when viewed head-on. Tasteful sprinklings of chrome offer a good amount of contrast to the snow-white paint. With a drag coefficient of just 0.197, the Air slices through the air yet retains a sense of style certain other German EVs lack.

The remarkable shrinking sedan

Image credit: oneword photography

AJAC testing includes both road drives and a snaking autocross run. The Lucid is well over six feet wide and sixteen feet long, yet it feels tidy and agile threading through the cones. There’s no trickery here, no rear-axle steering to tweak the tail around, just a fairly typical multilink setup and adaptive dampers. Yet the Air builds driver confidence from the first turn, with light yet accurate steering.

The good feelings continue on the road. I’d previously driven the Air briefly in LA traffic—hardly a great measuring stick—but the winding roads around Canadian Tire Motorsport Park are much better. The Lucid is resolutely composed, turning in with authority and staying flat through sweepers. It shrinks around the driver, shrugs off mid-corner bumps and, in Sprint mode, will keep pace with 99-percent of cars out there. The power never overwhelms the balance, coming in one long, reassuring surge. Ease up in one of the other modes and the Air wafts with the best of ‘em, that super-slippery shape translating to very little wind noise.

Naturally I didn’t get a chance to charge the Air, but Lucid promises up to 200 miles (322 km) of range in as little as 15 minutes with the Touring (on 19s) with DC fast-charging. It’ll also do up to 19.2 kW on AC, and has vehicle-to-load (V2L) functionality.

Sci-fi cabin

In terms of straight wow factor, few new-car features accomplish it as well as the Air’s glass canopy. The single-piece glass stretches far behind the driver’s head, giving an incredible sense of space. There is a catch: the sun visors almost always feel like they’re down when they’re not, because peripheral vision clocks the “empty space” above them.

The Air’s cabin is mid-century gorgeous, built from fabric, sustainable Nappa leather, and open-pore wood. The two-tone cabin design is inspired too, giving rear-seat passengers a unique, lounge-like feel. The added benefit of going for the Touring is that its smaller battery pack frees up additional foot space for the folks in back, too.

It’s inside where the Air’s handful of hangups appear, however. As elegant as the floating multi-use screen is, there’s some pixelization in the instrument cluster, specifically with the car’s logo. The wheel itself feels good but has that Germanic over-thick cross-section, and the inset scrollers are slightly flimsy. The central touchscreen is much better now after a few UX updates, though it can still occasionally hang. My biggest complaint is the center storage cubby, which has some very cheap-feeling plastic that doesn’t align with the rest of the classy cabin.

Competitive price

When it launched, the Lucid Air prioritized the higher trims, with price tags to match. The Touring and especially the Pure bring the bar of ownership down to a much more approachable level. These are still luxury sedans, and priced as such, but there isn’t the gap you might expect.

In America, the Touring starts at $100,500 including destination; Canada’s pricing is $129,000 before delivery charges. The glass canopy is another $4,000 ($5,000 CAD), and any paint options beyond white and black will add another $800 ($1,000 CAD). A “Stealth” appearance package ($6,000 / $7,500 CAD) mutes the exterior brightwork; I’d skip it, personally. Beyond that, the only other cost options are 21-inch wheels, an upgraded sound system, and two different levels of ADAS.

Both the BMW i7 and Mercedes-Benz EQS start above the Air, and that’s not even for the dual-motor versions. The i7 is admittedly a different sort of vehicle: larger, statelier, and chock full of tech. Meanwhile the Porsche Taycan is on the other end of the spectrum: smaller and sportier than the Air, it undercuts the Lucid but does so with far less range and power. Of course, there’s also the aging sledgehammer of EV straight-line speed: the Model S Plaid ($91,380 / $126,880 CAD).

Verdict: 2023 Lucid Air Touring Quick Take Review

The 2023 Lucid Air Touring is a remarkable first go from a brand that didn’t even exist in its current form a decade ago. Impeccably built with a distinctly West Coast take on luxury, the Air carves out its own space in the segment and should inspire plenty of cross-shopping.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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