Lucid Air: How to One-up Tesla!


  • So there are a lot of different ways to enter the electric car market on your first try, from the established manufacturers and the startups. So Ford's first mainstream EV was a sedan. And then Tesla's first one was a sports car. But then Rivian's first one was a pickup truck. And so that's why I find these so interesting. So I've already started to have a lot of fun With these different high-tech cars over on the new Auto Focus channel shot exclusively on smartphones. A link with a Like button of course. But that is why Lucid has been so interesting to me, because it seems to me that their strategy, at least from the outside looking in, is to just one-up Tesla at everything that they possibly can. This is Tesla's flagship, the Model S. And this is Lucid's Air Grand Touring. I'm gonna compare. But even just listening to the basics on paper, The Lucid has much, much more range, 446 miles on a single charge from this Air GT performance. It has faster charging, 350 kilowatts max. it has 1,000-plus horsepower. It's got stickier tires. It's more luxurious inside. Got my attention. (relaxed music) So Tesla's interiors were never really anything to write home about. But I can say that they did a really good job. This interior from Lucid one-ups pretty much everything about Tesla's interior. There are better materials everywhere, with leather on things that you touch: the Alcantara headliner. there's a little bit of dry wood trim, and the overall fit and finish of everything in here is excellent. It is a quieter inside cabin, both while sitting and while driving. And the seats are all better, with much more adjustment. There's multizone heating and cooling that turns on and is effective super fast I noticed. And they even have several massage programs, which I never really use in any car. But every time I see it, you just get the feeling that it's a little bit extra luxurious. And then the backseat experience is way better. So just as a reminder, the back seat of a Model S is pretty good. I have a 6-3 driving position and then another 6-3 passenger and my leg room's all right. The headroom's pretty good from the glass roof. Some decent-quality materials around me. And then in the middle, I have a wireless charger, a cup holder, and a screen to control the air conditioning. But this is Lucid's standard back seat. First of all, the door now opens fully 90 degrees, low key, a nice feature. But then there's just dramatically more legroom and space because they opted for a normal trunk instead of a hatchback. So they've moved, in the same wheelbase as a Tesla, This seat is way further back. So now I have more space. I have dedicated HVAC controls. There's no wireless charger in the middle, but there is a cup holder a screen for the air conditioning, and some more storage. But it's just much more luxurious. There is storage in the back of the seats. There is access to the trunk between the two seats if you take down that armrest. There's also an option in this car for you to take a little bit of battery out of the floor for a little bit more footwell room. Plus you can't forget about those executive seat options from the prototype, I tested five whole years ago. But wait, there is more. I've been living in this car for about a week now, and there's just so many things to it. First of all, the sound system is incredible. It has 21 speakers, and it supports Spotify and things like that, but also Tidal HiFi in the UI. And I swore I came home from a drive, and I just sat and listened to the Dolby Atmos speakers for a while, And it just sounds so good. It's incredibly immersive. There's also a better steering wheel in here with stalks and real buttons. And I think these knobs are a great idea. They're plastic, but there's no creaking or give to them.

  • And they work great for selecting things or scrolling. I like the wheel. There's also a more impressive windshield that curves up over the driver's head, If you're into that, with some pretty sick ambient lighting strips through the middle that glows softly at night. The tint in the roof is really good. It also just kind of acts like a normal roof line. But you can see things through it. And there are better HVAC controls in this car Thanks to real buttons. And that knob in the middle is just a big volume knob. But the center console storage is unique. It includes this whole screen that tilts back and reveals some hidden storage space behind it, Where you can keep some sunglasses Or a mask or whatever: I don't know. But probably most impressively, The Lucid has a much larger powered opening and closing front. That's thanks to this wider shape and then the smaller overall motors in the front. So this is a massive and very useful front trunk that I'm tempted to use way more than the rear trunk itself. And then there's the software. So it would be really hard to one-up Tesla's software considering that's the most impressive part of their car. But Lucid's gonna try. And so they don't support Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Just like Tesla, they've built their UI, and it's pretty bold and it has to be good. I would say it is, yeah, it's pretty good. So you've got two screens here: This big one is behind the wheel with a touchscreen-sensitive area on either side and this second one is down in between the seats. And the layout here is smart. They give you a frunk opening instead of a trunk opening, which makes me wanna use it more. But generally, the UI here is intuitive and fairly fast. Not necessarily smooth all the time as far as frame rates, but it's fast. But this is, by the way, the 2. 0 version of the software. They had a bunch of 1. x versions that were much slower. This version is more well laid out than before and faster than before. And there are lots of useful features. It's got this top-down view in here for parking that Tesla still for some reason doesn't provide. But it has this and a 360-surround version that shows the car you're driving and the environment around it from various angles. And it matches your spec here, unlike Porsches. But there are some quirks too. The weirdest part to me is that you can't see music and maps at the same time. At least I haven't been able to figure out how. if I want music up here, I hit Music. But then it also adds music on the bottom screen. But if I want maps on the top screen, I hit Maps, but then it switches the bottom screen to Maps too. So I want music in one place and maps in the other place. But the nice thing is it's just software. And software is one of those things that can improve over time. And this is one of those cars that's gotten meaningful software updates over time, which is great to see. But there's one other thing that this car does well, and that is drive. (relaxed music) So something I've realized that is a little underrated and doesn't get talked about enough in cars is cars that have multiple personalities: plural. A personality is nice, but being able to switch between being a sporty car and being a luxurious chill car is nice. So I can't ignore the fact that this is a big sedan. So there are three personalities, and drive modes in the settings here: smooth, swift, and sprint. So smooth is great when you have passengers. It's got the gentlest acceleration curve and regen, the lightest steering, and the softest suspension. Potholes aren't a huge problem. It still does have 21-inch wheels, so it's not the smoothest. But I find that the regen and one-pedal driving calibration on the Lucid is great. You rarely have to touch the friction brakes if you don't want to.

  • I do think if this had 19-inch wheels, It would make a bigger difference to the ride quality than just this suspension setting here. But this is about as good as you can do with the 21s. See, as you get sportier, everything gets a little bit lower, a little bit heavier, a little bit firmer. And if you go all the way to sprint, that is the car's lowest, most responsive, and firmest setting. So now I'm gonna feel all the bumps. But that's what you want when it's feeling more like a sports car. Now, it's not a sports car, right? You can't exactly mask this car's 5,000-plus pounds of weight. But I will say it feels lighter than it is. It has this level of mechanical grip. It's not aero: it's just the big tires and the mechanical grip that gives you confidence in an all-wheel drive car. This is a confidence-inspiring car to drive. Oh, and then it happens to have 1,000 horsepower. Yeah, I will say though, a versatile car. Legitimately three different personalities. For a car that costs this much money. I would want to be able to decouple the different modes and things that come with changing between sprint and swift and smooth. So I for example would like to have the swift acceleration, but the smoother suspension. But you can't decouple the suspension from the acceleration. It's just three big buttons. So it's cool if you have a passenger; You just hit the Smooth button, then everything's smooth and pillow-like and luxurious. And that's pretty ideal. I like that mode. But yeah, if I wanna play with it a little bit, For this price, I should be able to. Now luckily, that is a software thing, so there is a good chance that someday I will be able to. But I gotta say I am very impressed with the way this car drives and changes the way that it drives. This is the thing you always hear when people review certain supercars. They're like, "Wow, it seems to be very daily drivable. I wouldn't expect that from a car with all this horsepower. " And this is the opposite. It's a big, heavy, luxurious, smooth, quiet sedan. And when you put it in sprint mode and you play with it, it kind of has that: "Oh, I did not expect it to grip this well and have all this traction and fire outta corners. " But it does. So when I first drove this car, the Lucid Air prototype like five years ago, that had this crazy executive seat option which I don't think is shipping in any of them now. But the point was that's a car you'd want to be driven in more than drive. There are some cars like that. This one, because they've gotten all the other factors right, and the steering and the handling and the sportiness and the 1,000 horsepower, I can say this is a car I'd be equally happy driving or being driven in. And that's an accomplishment. But the other thing I wanted to know after that is, okay, they've shown the nice prototype. But when they ship it, will it get the 400-plus miles that it's supposed to be on a charge? And now that I've driven it, With the range estimates and the efficiency, I can say yes, you can get 400 to 430 miles on a single charge on this car's battery. But you know what? This car is not perfect. No car is perfect obviously. But I think for me, actually what it comes down to is mostly nitpicking, 'cause there's so many good things about this car.

  • I just don't like the way it looks. That's just me. Maybe this is a hot take. I've seen some comments from people saying, "Oh, this is the best-looking EV out right now. They smoked everyone else in the aesthetics department. " I disagree. I like the interior a lot. I just don't like the way the car looks from the outside. Let me explain. But I think what it comes down to for me is the two-tone thing and the shape of the back of the car. The two-tone thing, this car has these huge, not chrome but big silver pieces on it, giving it this two-tone look with the body color. I think they just tried to copy Maybach. Which is like you see a two-tone Maybach and you know that that's luxury. But this one kind of ends up looking like an older Lincoln if I'm not mistaken. I don't know. There is a stealth package that lets you matte-black these out. It's $6,000. But then this is the back of the car back here. And because they decided to go with a regular trunk and not a hatchback, You end up with much more rear-seat luxury, And that's great. But then you also end up with this bulbous shape back here. I get why they did it, to still have a trunk and aerodynamics, but now it doesn't look as good to me. The mouth of it when it opens looks kind of funny 'cause it's this huge piece that has to open. And then the opening, technically, is a pretty good amount of trunk space. But I just went to Lowe's the other day and bought a flower pot: Don't ask why. But I had a flower pot, and even that was hard to fit in this small of an opening. So the trunk suffers a little bit, and the aero does benefit. But that's how you end up with this back of the car. And that's why I think I'm not the biggest fan of the aesthetic. But, overall, I think Lucid does a really good job of one-upping Tesla in a lot of those key ways that people think about and that matters in an EV. Now, unfortunately, you can probably see where this is going, that also means they are more expensive across the lineup, the whole thing. This Grand Touring spec that I'm in starts, starts at $154,000. And then we all know the flagship right now for Tesla is the Model S Plaid. They're coming out with a Sapphire version of this car. And that's supposed to come out next year to match the triple-motor powertrain. And guess what? It one-ups Tesla at everything again. It's faster zero to 60, faster zero to 100, faster in the 1/4 mile, and comes with carbon ceramic brakes by default. It has a stealth package and 520 miles of range. And will have all the same advantages I just talked about luxury. It's the Plaid Plus that never came out, that Tesla never made. But guess what? It's $250,000. So this is a new company. They haven't made a lot of cars yet. But what they're doing is starting at their most expensive, highest-margin versions of the cars, and then working their way down. I wouldn't be surprised if the Sapphire version came out long before the Lucid Air Pure, which is their rear-wheel drive base model for $87,000, comes out someday in the future. But that's their strategy. And so far, made a pretty sweet car. But when you only tackle Tesla's top trims, You might be trending towards trouble.

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