2022 Lucid Air: What's It Like to Live With?
We bought (!) an Air Grand Touring to test for a year and 20,000 miles
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Latest Highlights (updated 09/26/22)
- We added a Lucid Air Grand Touring to our long-term fleet
- The all-electric Air is the Lucid's first car
- This is the most expensive car Edmunds has ever purchased
- Expect regular updates on range, comfort, tech and more
What We Bought And Why
• Our test vehicle: 2022 Lucid Air Grand Touring
• Base MSRP: $88,975
• MSRP as tested: $140,500
• What we paid: $140,500
The Lucid Air — the first car from the new California-based all-electric automaker — is one of the most important cars to come along in years. It seems companies announce new EVs all the time with promises that don't come true. But Lucid has actually managed to get cars moving out of its factory doors and into customer hands. That alone is laudable. And then there are the eye-popping specs for this luxury electric sedan: potentially more than 500 miles of range on a full charge and more than 1,000 horsepower.
And, yet, you have to wonder: Is it all too good to be true? And to what extent will the Air's first buyers be guinea-pig beta testers?
We've done our initial short-term testing — read our Expert Rating for that — but we wanted to know more. So we, the Edmunds content team, persuaded some very super-great people who oversee our budget to let us buy an Air — yes, really — to run in our long-term test program. The long-term program is where our team evaluates vehicles for a year and 20,000 miles, and sometimes more, to get a better feel for what the actual ownership experience is like.
What Did We Get?
Edmunds purchased a 2022 Lucid Air Grand Touring, the top-level trim available when we ordered our car. The limited-run Dream Edition was sold out before the first one was ever built.
As the top trim, the Air Grand Touring comes well equipped. Standard features on the Air include a panoramic glass roof, a two-tone leather interior, automatic climate control, 21-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension and all-wheel drive courtesy of an electric motor at each axle. Additionally, the Air offers super-quick DC fast charging — with the potential to add 300 miles of range in about 22 minutes — and three years of free charging at Electrify America stations.
There's a whole suite of driver aids, too, like blind-spot monitoring, an automated parking and adaptive cruise control. Notably, the Grand Touring also includes DreamDrive Pro, an expanded suite of driver aids that will be activated with a future over-the-air software update. Ditto for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration systems, which are missing but promised in the future.
Options are limited to a selection of wheel sizes, though we stuck with the 19-inch wheels with all-season tires. The 20- and 21-inch wheels look great and have stickier rubber for improved handling, but range suffers. We decided to save money and keep the extra range.
As it stood, our Air Grand Touring set us back $140,500, but things have changed since we put down our reservation.
Lucid has increased the Air's price since we bought our car, though if you had a reservation in place before the price adjustment, Lucid said it would honor the original price. If you bought our very same car at the time we officially introduced the Air to our testing fleet (September 2022), it would cost $155,075.
Lower-priced Pure and Touring trims will arrive sometime later, though you can place a reservation now. To place a reservation, Lucid is asking for a $300 deposit for the Pure and $1,000 for the Touring and Grand Touring. The thing with Lucid is that the price you see is the price you pay, at least until the automaker changes it again. What we mean is that Lucid, like Tesla and Rivian, eschews the traditional dealership model. That means no markups or haggling, just a straight, easy-to-understand figure.
Getting our car took a bit of back and forth with Lucid. In late January 2022, we put a $1,000 deposit down to reserve an Air Grand Touring in Stellar White over the two-tone black and white interior that Lucid calls Santa Cruz. At one point we were assigned a VIN and given an estimated delivery date of April 2022.
But that's not what happened.
A few weeks before our estimated delivery date, we got a letter from Lucid stating that our original car didn't meet the company's standards and that our delivery would be delayed. (Presumably, other Lucid buyers-in-waiting also received this notice.) Coincidentally — or perhaps not coincidentally — this was around the time that we went live with our first video evaluation of the Lucid Air, in which we pointed out a variety of build-quality issues.
We never got a clear answer on what exactly failed to meet expectations, and at the time we weren't told how long our car would be delayed. After a few weeks, Lucid offered us another car.
About six weeks after that — late July — our new Lucid Air was in our hands. The only trade-off was that our new car had the Quantum Gray exterior paint and the Mojave interior color scheme.
Why Did We Get It?
Any new EV is worth spending some time with, but that's especially true with a model from an all-new automaker. It's the exact reason we purchased a Tesla Model S when it debuted (as well as a Model X, Model 3 and Model Y). Same goes for the Rivian R1T we recently purchased. What do these vehicles do that sets them apart? What makes them worth considering? How well will the Lucid hold up over time? Early Tesla models, including our own, had some significant build-quality issues. Given our experience with the purchase process, it seems Lucid is struggling in that area too.
When we tested one of the limited-run Dream Edition models, we noted flaws like glacially slow tech and rippling in that massive glass windshield. We had a problem with one of the rear doors opening on its own, too. There was a lot to like, but there were some significant flaws that needed fixing. Building a car is a monumental and hugely difficult task. It's taken years for Tesla to get to where it's at and produce cars in the volumes it does, and it's still not up to the standards of more established automakers like Mercedes-Benz when it comes to luxury features as well as overall fit and finish.
For its part, Lucid has reworked its quality control process in an effort to fix some of the issues we called out in our review. While we'll never know for sure what about our original car failed to meet Lucid's standards, we can say the car we bought feels better than the car we tested in the spring.
That gives us hope, but how are things going to look and feel after 20,000 miles? Will over-the-air updates continue to improve the in-car tech? Will the pop-out door handles still work in a year? If something does break, what's it going to be like to get it repaired?
It's going to be a lot of fun finding out.
Average lifetime consumption (kWh/100 miles): 27.8
EPA rating (kWh/100 miles): 25.7
Best consumption (kWh/100 miles): 8.1
Best range (miles): 215.6
Current odometer: 2,150
The Lucid Air Grand Touring with 19-inch wheels like ours has an EPA-estimated range of 516 miles, more than any other EV on sale at the time of purchase. Before we got our hands on our own Lucid Air, Edmunds put an Air Dream Range Edition through our real-world EV range testing. It immediately impressed. While it fell a bit short of its 520-mile EPA estimate, the Air Dream Range edition outpaced every other EV we'd tested to date. The Air was also the first EV Edmunds' tested to drive more than 500 miles on a single charge. Check out our full test of the Lucid Air for more on that car.
The Air's impressive all-electric range is among its biggest selling points. How will our long-term Lucid fare? We plan to run our Lucid on our EV range loop multiple times. Not only will we see how far the car can go on a full charge, we'll be able to see how the range changes over time. Batteries degrade with use, and we plan to put a lot of miles on this car. — Reese Counts, vehicle test editor
Lag is an issue
Senior Consumer Advice Editor Ron Montoya explains a frequently occurring issue in the early days of our Lucid Air ownership: long load times.
"Boy, for a car this expensive and on the cutting edge of tech, its central screen takes a looong time to boot up. It took roughly 30 seconds or so from when you sit down for the ability to use any feature controlled by the screens. Then, if you want to switch profiles as the secondary driver, it takes another 30 seconds to load up the profile and its settings. That may not seem like much, but most modern cars take half that time, if not faster. It sort of ruins the "wow" factor when you bring a friend over to show off the car, but then you have to tell them to wait a bit while the screen comes on.
"At this point, I'm not sure if this is a software issue, or if Lucid cheaped out and used a slower processor. We aren't the only ones with this issue. There's a six page thread (at the time of writing) on the Lucid owners forums, with similar complaints."
Editor, CarMax, Jake Sundstrom had similar frustrations with booting up the Lucid.
We're keeping track of bugs, too
"I assume we'll want to keep a log of these errors, because they're numerous, but I only had it for one evening and had a few errors with the lower screen:
1. One instance, couldn't get the vehicle or climate menus to lower to show the map again on the lower screen until after restart.
2. Couldn't get the overview directions on the lower map to go away, next time I started it the directions never showed up.
One other miscellaneous note: I expected those blind spot camera views to be much better, they were super grainy -- felt worse at night than the Tucson PHEV I had earlier this week, but that thing doesn't cost a gajillion dollars."
The perks and quirks of driving a computer
"One cool things about the Lucid Air is its ability to have multiple driver profiles. Once the primary driver's profile is set, it unlocks the ability to make others. The profile covers seat settings and mirror settings, Spotify login, UI theme and your own personal icon. I chose some trees in the mist as my avatar. One thing I don't like is that the vehicle defaults to the primary driver and you have to manually activate your profile. "Signing in" takes a good 30 seconds, which feels way too long. It's as if the car is downloading the settings from the cloud, rather than storing them locally." — Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor & Content Strategy