Lucid Air Grand Touring assessment: a dream made actual

If you’re an automotive journalist, generally you spend a number of hours testing a automotive and are left with such a destructive impression that you just marvel for days whether or not you have been perhaps simply in a nasty temper. Then, generally you drive a automotive and it leaves such an overwhelmingly constructive impression you can’t assist pondering you could have been blissed out of your thoughts, that the automotive can’t have actually been that good.

I used to be left with these types of doubts after getting some seat time in a Lucid Air sedan earlier this yr. It was a brief demo a number of hours from my residence, early spring on roads nonetheless torn up from the winter’s worst. I couldn’t consider how effectively that automotive dealt with all of the frost heaves and potholes whereas nonetheless hustling and handing over ways in which no 5,200-pound sedan ought to. Later, on the drive residence in my humble Subaru, I used to be already questioning myself. It couldn’t have been that good.

It couldn’t have been that good

Quick-forward about 9 months and I lastly had an opportunity to take a Lucid residence, a $139,000 Air Grand Touring to be particular. After a full week of placing this automotive via its paces on acquainted roads, hauling every part from household to groceries and even testing it in chilly climate, I’m glad to report that I used to be not deranged throughout that first drive. My preliminary impressions have been on the mark. This factor is stellar.

This is what $139,000 gets you.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black darkish:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin darkish:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white md:text-30″>A what now?

In the event you’re unfamiliar with Lucid, you’re forgiven as a result of it’s hardly a family title. Based method again in 2007 however solely specializing in client merchandise since 2016, the California-based firm is led by Peter Rawlinson, who serves as each CEO and CTO. Throughout his time at Tesla, Rawlinson was the genius thoughts behind the Tesla Mannequin S — although Elon Musk continues to be loath to confess it. The Air is Lucid’s first product, in-built Casa Grande, Arizona. 

So, it’s American made and designed — albeit decidedly Saudi financed — however clearly, its home market consciousness is low. Throughout my week with the Air, I used to be requested many occasions what sort of automotive it was. Not a single particular person had ever heard of Lucid. Granted, I do dwell out within the wilds a bit and far of my take a look at miles have been clocked in Vermont, however nonetheless, if you happen to’re the kind who likes driving a dialog starter, this can be a good one.

In the event you’re the kind who likes driving a dialog starter, this can be a good one

What’s the Air, then? It’s a luxurious sedan, which makes it a uncommon chook amongst American corporations to start out, however even then, it’s an uncommon one. Whereas the general form isn’t that totally different from the various “cab-forward” designs that Chrysler marketed within the mid-Nineties, the lengthy and low impact right here is curious. The contrasting roof pillars, out there on the GT and better trims, make fairly a putting impact, however I discover every part else concerning the automotive to be weirdly nameless, with nobody little bit of styling that basically stands out to me. 

Whereas I can’t say I discover the Air engaging, it does have a form of sophistication about it, and that elegant, scripted “Air” brand has such a robust mid-century trendy vibe that I really feel like this factor should have been sketched by Eero Saarinen throughout some flight of fancy. The contrasting brown and black inside positively suits into that vibe, as does the open-pore wooden and woven materials. 

It’s an odd inside, door playing cards bending away from you, pull latches set low. The A-pillar, which runs in a steady sweep to the rear, is large and takes up a large portion of your ahead visibility, however that’s greater than offset by the way in which the glass roof continues up and over your head, like on the Tesla Mannequin X. The impact is marred solely by the thin solar visors, which I want I might simply take away to benefit from the view a bit higher. 

The glass roof means loads of headroom up entrance. Issues are a little bit extra restricted vertically within the rear however nonetheless ample, whereas the legroom within the rear is so beneficiant, it’s borderline obscene. The Air would make for an excellent limousine if you happen to didn’t must fold your self like a pretzel to get into the rear seat. That roofline swings mighty low.

The massive A-pillar.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black darkish:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin darkish:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white md:text-30″>Interfacing

Touchscreens abound right here, they usually’re superbly positioned and laid out. The first interface is a portrait-oriented show that sits low within the heart stack, used for car settings and HVAC. Apparently, with a mild sweep, this show swings up and tucks into the dashboard, revealing a semi-hidden cubby that’s good for stashing your cellphone after which forgetting about the place you left it. 

Instantly above that, 4 toggle switches enable easy accessibility to cabin temperature and fan pace, whereas a chubby scroll wheel supplies a surprisingly nice method of adjusting the quantity.

Up above that’s the actual point of interest of the inside: an enormous superbly curved 34-inch show that appears to hover simply off of the Alcantara and leather-based sprint. That is really three sections of show. The correct is sort of a continuation of the decrease show, used to toggle media, navigation, and make calls. The far left is one other touchable part for controlling headlights, wipers, and toggling the defrosters (plus the ultracool deicing mode). 

Lastly, within the center is the gauge cluster, which actually seems a little bit pedestrian in comparison with every part else. You get pace right here within the center, info and warnings on the left, and navigation prompts on the suitable. It’s not customizable and it’s not visually participating, however it’s useful. 


Total, the software program has progressed quite a bit since I used to be final within the automotive, but it surely nonetheless wants some work. A giant criticism is that the big central show down between the seats looks like wasted area. You possibly can carry the navigation or media right down to that show, however when you faucet away from that part on the highest show, it disappears from the underside. It’d be good to have the ability to have media on the underside and nav on the highest or vice versa.

Far and away the most important challenge, although, is the shortage of both Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Lucid guarantees each are coming quickly, however we’ve been listening to that for some time now. 

Lucid does not support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto yet.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black darkish:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin darkish:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white md:text-30″>In movement

To get the Air on the street, you merely press the suitable stalk down to interact drive, like on a Mercedes-Benz, and away you go. The Air GT’s default drive mode is named Easy, and that’s the proper title for it. This automotive is extremely calming to drive. The suspension is so good and the throttle curve so flat you can gently inch this 819-horsepower rocket round parking tons, cruise via visitors, and glide over some really terrible roads in full rest and luxury. 

This automotive is extremely calming to drive

Step as much as Swift and that throttle will get extra keen, whereas Dash is the place you’ll want to go to essentially really feel the entire energy that the Air GT has to supply. Sure, once more, 819 horsepower, greater than a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. This can be a remarkably fast automotive, zero to 60mph someplace within the mid-two-second vary. Weirdly, although, it doesn’t really really feel as neck-snapping as some equally fast vehicles, like a Mannequin S. The Air virtually feels extra like a high-performance luxurious German sedan tuned for autobahn runs. The sooner you go, the extra the Air appears to wish to speed up, surging an increasing number of till you run out of street or factors in your license.

That’s an enormous distinction from common EVs, which are inclined to run out of steam simply as they rise up to freeway pace. 


The Air’s smoothness means misleading velocities. You’ll must control that speedometer, so it’s a disgrace that it’s so laborious to see. The weirdly chubby steering wheel fully blocked my view of the gauge cluster. I believed it was simply me, so I had my (a lot shorter) spouse place the seat and wheel to her desire. She couldn’t see it, both. That wheel can also be uncomfortable to carry. In the event you’re within the 10-and-2 camp, you’ll be high-quality, however if you happen to desire 9-and-3 like me, there’s simply nowhere to comfortably suit your fingers. 

One other challenge is the driver-assist methods. The Air is theoretically complete on this regard, with every part from adaptive cruise, lively lane-keep on the freeway, blind-spot monitoring, automated emergency braking… principally all the products. They don’t all work completely, although. The lane-keep help, for instance, nudged the steering wheel occasionally, as if I have been edging too near the aspect of the street despite the fact that I wasn’t. Likewise, the Freeway Help mode had a bent to disable itself solely to immediate me to instantly reenable it. As soon as reenabled, it will typically disable itself once more. 

Most annoying, although, was the driving force monitoring. The Air has an infrared digicam hiding slightly below the gauge cluster, watching you to be sure you’re watching the street. In case your eyes wander for greater than three seconds, you get a chime. Eyes lingering on the nav to identify the subsequent flip? Chime. Making an attempt to make up your thoughts about which of the (great) seat massages you wish to pattern subsequent? Chime. You get the image.

However I really didn’t thoughts that because it’s this type of system which may really get individuals to place down their telephones and drive. The half I did thoughts was the automotive concurrently warning me that my hand wasn’t on the steering wheel even when it very positively was. I needed to give the wheel the ol’ Autopilot Adjustment each minute or so, a little bit wiggle to let it know I used to be nonetheless holding on. That the automotive can monitor the precise course of pupils however not the sheer presence of my fingers is perplexing.

Apart from that (admittedly minor) annoyance, and an virtually full absence of steering really feel, the Lucid Air GT is an actual pleasure to drive. Regardless of missing rear steering and having a beneficiant 116-inch wheelbase, it handles and corners remarkably effectively. It doesn’t really feel as participating as a Porsche Taycan — you’ll want to actually push the Air for it to react — however whenever you do, it doesn’t disappoint. Grip, dealing with, and poise are excellent. 

That stated, I used to be happiest within the Air once I put it again to Easy mode and simply form of wafted alongside. I really like that this automotive can do each, however for me, de-stressing was its most well-liked technique of transport.

Your future limo?

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black darkish:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin darkish:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white md:text-30″>De-stressed

Music is a key stress reliever for me, and the Air is a superb platform for that. It’s whisper-quiet, in fact, and my take a look at automotive was configured with the 21-speaker “Surreal Sound” system with Dolby Atmos. I’d argue that it’s not factually surreal, however I did discover it to be excellent. With the in-dash equalizer balanced, it delivers sharp and correct sound, vocals coming robust and true out of the middle of the dashboard, heat and wealthy bass flowing from throughout. However those that need a extra full of life expertise won’t be disenchanted after they put the bass dial as much as its +6dB most. 

Maybe the most important stress reliever, although, was the vary. The Lucid Air GT is EPA rated for an incredible 469 miles on a cost from its 112kWh battery pack. Go along with the smaller 19-inch wheels, and you’ll carry that as much as 516. That’s astonishing. In my winter testing, I netted 3.2 miles per kWh, netting a theoretical 358 miles of most vary, however that included loads of laborious accelerating and different hijinks.

By the use of context, I put about 50 miles of testing on the automotive earlier than occurring a two-hour street journey out to Vermont. It was about 30 levels Fahrenheit out once I left, which is homicide on most EVs batteries. After returning from this 200-mile jaunt, the Air was nonetheless exhibiting 163 miles of remaining vary. That’s greater than a Nissan Leaf has when totally charged.

Few individuals on the planet must go that far on a cost on a routine foundation. However you already know what? This can be a luxurious automotive, and within the EV period, big selection will probably be a luxurious.

It’s a disgrace that it’s priced like a luxurious automotive. The automotive you see right here is stickered at $139,000 plus a whopping $1,500 supply. However as is the way in which of issues, that’s gone up. Proper now on Lucid’s web site, the most affordable Grand Touring spec begins at $154,000. 

The Air has range for days.

That’s an enormous sum of money, however if you happen to like what you see, you will get right into a Lucid Air for as little as $87,400. No, it gained’t be this posh or this fast with a mere 480hp, but it surely ought to drive rattling close to as effectively and can nonetheless do 410 miles on a cost — 5 greater than the most affordable Mannequin S, which begins at $104,990 and isn’t anyplace close to this good.

I might go on and on about how good this automotive is, however there’s one roadblock to adoption, and that’s how extraordinarily contemporary Lucid is to the market. Although the corporate has been round for 15 years and has even been publicly traded (by way of particular goal acquisition firm, or SPAC) since final yr, I can perceive why people could be nervous to fork over that amount of money to an unknown amount. Reliability is, in fact, an enormous issue for vehicles, and I didn’t have almost sufficient time with this one to touch upon that. Likewise, whereas Lucid’s seller and repair community is increasing by leaps and bounds, you’re unlikely to have a store simply across the nook.

After which, there’s the software program. Whereas the Freeway Help weirdness was the one actual glitch encountered throughout my week with the Air GT you see pictured right here, you don’t must dig far into Reddit or consumer teams to search out complaints about miscreant door handles, glitchy infotainment, and clumsy software program deployments. After which there’s the latest gauge cluster wiring recall, too. For somebody who coated the launch of the Mannequin S a decade in the past, all of it sounds a bit acquainted.

But when ever there was a automotive price stomaching a little bit danger for, it’s this one. I’m not a fortune teller, and it’s inconceivable to know whether or not Lucid would be the subsequent Tesla or the subsequent Faraday Future. All I do know is that whereas this automotive isn’t good, it’s stunningly good and effectively price no matter time it takes to clarify to your folks and neighbors and lots of, many strangers simply what the heck a Lucid is. 

Images by Tim Stevens for The Verge

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