- Tesla-beating range
- Awe-inspiring acceleration
- Spacious cabin
- Interface is neither sparse nor overwhelming
- Refreshingly different exterior
- Unproven brand
- Support network just taking form
The 2022 Lucid Air is the debut car and flagship model from a new U.S. EV maker, and it could be the strongest rival to Tesla yet.
What kind of car is the Lucid Air? What does it compare to?
The Lucid Air is a performance-oriented electric luxury sedan, and the flagship model from California-based Lucid Motors. With some of the best range and efficiency ratings among electric cars, as well as supercar-challenging performance, it rivals the Tesla Model S, Porsche Taycan, Audi E-Tron GT, and Mercedes EQS.
Is the 2022 Lucid Air a good car?
Lucid’s first vehicle sure seems promising. But the build quality, service, and support are all yet to be proven from the new brand, which was formed with key players from Tesla, Audi, Ford, and a range of other well-regarded automakers. For now, based on limited time with early examples, the Air earns a high TCC Rating of 8.6 out of 10, buoyed by its leading-edge efficiency, range, and performance, as well as its head-turning design, a roomy cabin that puts us at ease, and a bevy of safety and tech features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
What’s new for the 2022 Lucid Air?
The Air is about the same size as the Tesla Model S or a BMW 5-Series, and yet it feels a whole size larger inside. The elegant, aircraft-inspired exterior is a new hallmark for cab-forward design and helps make the most of interior space without sacrifices to gasoline engines and tailpipes. Inside, the Air follows themes inspired by California, with plenty of light from a glass roof and an earthy look to many of the trims.
The cabin of the Air is as long as that of a Mercedes S-Class, Lucid claims. There’s plenty of sprawl-out space in front and in back, although 6-footers and taller might need to duck a bit when getting into the rear seats. An executive-style rear seating package is coming, allowing two large reclining seats not unlike first-class airline seats. Lucid claims the largest frunk of any electric car, and the rear seatbacks fold forward and the trunk itself includes a lower well for storage.
Lucid has developed its own propulsion systems for the Air, building on Formula E battery expertise and aiming for miniaturization and efficiency at every turn. Its compact motors are the most power-dense on the market and deliver up to 1,111 hp in the Air—with 0-60 mph times of less than 2.5 seconds in its debut Dream Edition Performance version and a quarter-mile time of 9.9 seconds. An even higher-performance tri-motor variant is on the way next year.
With its own interface incorporating Alexa voice commands, a 34-inch wide glass cockpit screen up above, and a retractable touchscreen in the middle, Lucid doesn’t oversimplify but also doesn’t overwhelm with technology and menu options. Its active-safety suite includes high-res lidar sensors and future semi-autonomous features promised via over-the-air updates.
Despite the lofty performance claims, the Lucid Air’s range, efficiency, and charging are the true technology leadership points of this car, thanks in part to its 920-volt basis. The Air can add 300 miles in 20 minutes on 350-kw CCS DC fast-charging hardware and it offers up to a 520-mile EPA-rated range.
How much does the 2022 Lucid Air cost?
The Lucid Air starts at $169,000 for the Dream Edition, made in a limited lot of 520 examples. After that comes the $139,000 Grand Touring. Future versions with lower prices will be added to the lineup, eventually arriving at a $77,400 base price for the Pure version.
Where is the Lucid Air made?
In Casa Grande, Arizona.
2022 Lucid Air
The Air makes cab-forward design look both elegant and racy.
Is the Air a good-looking car?
Unconventionally so, yes. We give the Air two points for going above and beyond and providing a new design statement for the luxury crowd rather than following what’s already there. Its interior isn’t nearly as revolutionary or luxurious, but it’s a happy technology midpoint and does things with lighting and materials we haven’t seen elsewhere so it’s another two points, for a total of 9.
As a whole, on the outside, the design is one to linger on—mostly in flattery. The Air is long and low, with smoothly sculpted surfacing in the middle and sharply punctuated front and rear ends that make the beltline look taller than it is from the side. From the thin headlights and taillights to the big aero-styled wheels, it all looks very slick—and it is, with a very low 0.21 coefficient of drag. With its unconventional roof contours and clamshell trunklid, it can seem a bit like a Dodge Charger as interpreted by Citroën as a luxury car. In profile, especially considering the aircraft-inspired curves of the metallic roofline, it’s more charismatic than most other luxury sedans its size—including the somewhat larger Mercedes EQS fastback.
Inside, an expanse of sky flows continuously from the windshield into a “Glass Canopy” roof, uninterrupted until a crossmember above front seat occupants’ heads. The beltline of the cabin feels low, and the dash follows long horizontal arcs. Finishes follow earthy, natural tones with just a bit of brightwork. With soft, porous materials, this is luxury like Volvo or Land Rover, more than BMW or Mercedes.
2022 Lucid Air
The Air offers supercar straight-line performance, combined with graceful handling.
Based solely on its shockingly good straight-line performance, the Air earns three extra points. Its above-average ride and handling gets it another point, for a total of 9.
In its initial Dream Edition, the Air comes in two flavors. A Performance version makes a stunning 1,111 hp, which is more than the Tesla Model S Plaid, while the Range version makes a respectable 933 hp.
The Air rides firmly but comfortably, and it has the right amount of composure and control to be fun to drive on a curvy road despite a curb weight of more than 5,000 pounds. It skips the air suspension that’s favored by Tesla and some of the luxury set, and it rides on a five-link strut front suspension, with an integral-link setup in back and solenoid-controlled active dampers at all four wheels. The steering rack is mechanically variable, with a confident feel on center for high-speed stability.
There’s up to 0.3g of regenerative braking through the motor systems, depending on the drive mode selected. Smooth, Swift, and Sprint modes do as promised by their names and there are two regen settings. One thing to note is that, like Tesla, Lucid doesn’t use any brake-blending for the sake of drivability; if you’re pressing on the brake pedal, you’re using the brake pads rather than ordering up more regeneration.
Is the Air 4WD?
For now, all versions of the Air have all-wheel drive, enabled by a dual-motor layout. Next year a single-motor rear-wheel-drive version will become available, and a tri-motor, all-wheel-drive performance version is expected to join the lineup.
How fast is the Lucid Air?
The Air is breathtakingly quick in its acceleration—0-60 mph in as little as 2.5 seconds, with a claimed 9.9-second quarter-mile time and a 168-mph top speed. It might not have the standing-start launch ability of the Model S or Taycan, but its blistering passing punch makes up for that.
2022 Lucid Air
Comfort & Quality
The Air’s cabin is true to the name—serene, spacious, and bright.
The sedan’s combination of superb front and rear seating, and great cargo space, earn it an 8. We need to spend more time in it, however, to gauge cabin noise.
At 195.9 inches long, 76.3 inches wide, and 55.5 inches high, while riding on a 116.5-inch wheelbase, the Air is within an inch of the Tesla Model S in every key exterior dimension. And yet it feels a full size larger than the Tesla inside. Credit Lucid’s clean-slate approach in crafting its platform around some dramatically downsized propulsion components and a low, flat battery pack that doesn’t waste any space.
The driving position in the Air is upright and supportive, yet low and carlike, and you look down over a very low hoodline. Earthy hues and a woven look to the materials create a luxury ambience. You don’t hear the propulsion system much from the driver’s seat—just a faint airy whine when accelerating—and there’s none of the speaker-supplemented fakery here.
Lucid claims the largest frunk among electric cars at 9.9 cubic feet; with the trunk figured in, there’s an expansive 26.1 cubic feet of cargo space, and the sedan’s rear seats fold forward for even more room.
The spacious back seat has adequate head room and leg room for taller passengers—although they’ll need to duck heads when getting in. A forthcoming Executive Rear Seating Package offers what looks like two first-class airline seats to the back.
2022 Lucid Air
Everything’s new here, and we don’t have crash-test ratings.
How safe is the Lucid Air?
Short answer: We don’t know yet. And because it’s such a low-volume vehicle for the time being there won’t likely be crash-test results anytime soon from the IIHS or the NHTSA.
Longer answer: The Air’s aluminum-intensive structure was engineered with all the latest crash-test requirements in mind. The battery pack is mounted low, with a ballistic shield underneath plus load buffer zones for collisions. And it incorporates safety monitoring for cooling systems the company developed with wisdom from its Formula E battery packs.
Lucid’s DreamDrive driver assistance system uses 32 sensors in all—including high-resolution Lidar, cameras, radar, and ultrasonic units. It includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, surround-view camera system, and adaptive cruise control. The top DreamDrive Pro driver-assistance system has “hardware for semi-autonomous driving functionality with over-the-air updates,” but we haven’t tested it.
2022 Lucid Air
The focus here is tech and luxury, although it’s missing the vast option lists of German flagships.
Lucid has a hierarchy determined mostly by performance level and battery pack size, with Dream Edition versions offering a 118-kwh pack and up to 1,111 hp. The Grand Touring has a 112-kwh pack and 800 hp, while the 620-hp Touring and 480-hp Pure models will have a pack of about 88 kwh. The Pure, which isn’t likely to arrive until the 2023 model year, also drops the dual-motor layout in favor of single-motor rear-wheel drive.
For the versions that are out now, we add two points for overall feature content and a point for infotainment. Not everyone’s going to see the Air as a good value from an unknown automaker, and we subtract one for that, arriving at a 7. Service is still a wildcard.
The Glass Canopy roof is included in the Dream Edition models and in the Grand Touring, but it’s optional on the Touring. Wheels are another point of differentiation. Lucid offers a range of 19-inch to 21-inch wheels on the Air.
Lucid lays out infotainment with a set of screens configured to keep critical information high and close to the line of sight—mostly in a clear light font on a dark background. A 34-inch-wide glass screen arcs in front of the driver and is split into three subscreens, with gauges directly in front of the driver, media and communications on the right, and switches and controls on the left. A lower center screen, called the Pilot Panel, has deeper climate controls, navigation, drive modes, and charging, and it retracts into the dash when not in use to make the space between driver and passenger feel more open. Alexa-based voice commands can cover a wide range of settings, and there are physical buttons for volume, temperature, and fan speed. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also supported.
Lucid also claims to have the first production model from any brand with full Dolby Atmos, as part of a 21-speaker premium audio system included in the Dream Edition and Grand Touring.
Lucid is offering a 4-year/50,000-mile vehicle warranty, with an 8-year/100,000-mile powertrain and battery warranty. Service will depend on remote diagnostics, with a fleet of mobile service vans and regional service depots.
Which Lucid Air should I buy?
If you’re reading this review, it’s likely because you’re curious about the Air as a head-turning luxury vehicle and technology statement. With the $169,000 Air Dream Edition versions sold out, the only current option is the $139,000 Air Grand Touring.
How much is a fully loaded Lucid Air?
The Dream Edition Performance or Dream Edition Range are Lucid’s initial offerings, and they come fully loaded, costing $169,000.
2022 Lucid Air
The Lucid Air is one of the market’s most efficient EVs, which means it achieves its record-setting range without a gigantic battery.
The 2022 Lucid Air offers a record-breaking, bladder-bursting range of up to 520 miles. That’s more than 100 miles past the top range afforded by the longtime range leader, the Tesla Model S. It’s a 10.
That’s in initial Dream Edition Range form, which prioritizes efficiency with a drop to 933 hp, from the 1,111-hp rating of the Dream Edition Performance. Go the latter route and the range drops to 451 or 471 miles.
Considering Lucid’s battery pack size of 112 kwh (for all but the Dream Edition), that figures out to more than 4.6 miles per kwh for the Grand Touring—better than any other production electric vehicle.
Throughout the lineup, range ratings also depend on opting for certain tire and wheel sizes. The 800-hp Grand Touring models earn ratings of 516 miles with the 19-inch wheels or 469 miles with the 21s.
Efficiency is extraordinarily good. The Air Grand Touring earns an EPA rating of 131 MPGe—better than all but the Tesla Model 3, which is at least a full size smaller.
The Air’s 920-volt electrical architecture helps enable the fastest charging of any electric vehicle. On a 350-kw DC fast-charger, such as those installed by Electrify America, the Air can gain up to 300 miles of range in just 20 minutes. It requires preconditioning the pack to the right temperature, but we’ve seen close to those rates. Lucid includes three years of access to Electrify America DC fast-chargers.
All versions of the Lucid Air come with a 19.2-kw onboard charger, as part of its integrated unit for both AC and DC charging it calls the Wunderbox. It includes bi-directional charging capability for compatibility with future energy storage hardware and home energy ecosystems.
Touring models, which are expected to arrive later in the model year, will offer a 406-mile projected range.