2023 Lexus RZ 450e Review: A Luxury EV SUV That’s Big on Style, but Short on Range
2023 Lexus RZ Review Highlights:
- 2023 Lexus RZ: $59,650 – $65,150
- Pros: The all-new Lexus RZ boasts handsome styling, a refined ride, and a comfortable interior.
- Cons: The biggest drawback is the RZ’s lack of electric range.
The 2023 Lexus RZ is the luxury brand’s first entry into the electric SUV market. Its parent company, Toyota, has been slow to move into the EV market, but it has finally made its way in with the BZ4X and this new RZ is its luxurious counterpart. The RZ has its distinct flare with its bold looks and unique interior, but it suffers when it comes to electric range.
I spent a week driving the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e and was impressed with its overall execution. However, my good impressions of the car were overcome by some range anxiety during my time spent with it.
The Lexus RZ is strikingly elegant
The first thing you’ll likely notice when looking at a 2023 Lexus RZ is its front grille…or lack thereof. It’s an electric vehicle, so it doesn’t need as much airflow. As such, Lexus incorporated a spindle-shaped front fascia that looks a lot like the others in the lineup but with a flat panel instead of a grille. A large Lexus emblem sits front and center with a small camera on top of it.
Looking at the side of the car, you’ll notice the floating C-pillar, which makes it look a lot like its RX stablemate. It has bold wheel arches and contrasting black fenders that give it a bold look. My favorite part is the wraparound LED taillight and the spelled-out “LEXUS” emblem that gives off an elegant appeal.
How does the RZ drive?
The Lexus RZ does everything right for an electric SUV. It’s comfortable and quiet, with really good steering feedback at every speed. Of course, most drivers won’t care about driving feel, but they do care about how the car feels over bumps and road imperfections. Fortunately, the RZ excels in ride quality, as it floats over the pavement like a cloud. Although, it’s a bit of a noisy cloud due to the large 20-inch wheels. I suspect the Premium trim to ride a little quieter with its 18-inch wheels.
The RZ is also very quick as it runs on a dual-motor system. There’s a motor between the front axles and one in the rear to make up the brand’s “Direct 4” system, Lexus-speak for all-wheel drive. That traction is needed when you mash the accelerator. The RZ takes off quickly and pushes you back in the seat with its instantaneous torque. It even makes a “woooo” sound like it’s a spaceship on wheels.
At slower speeds, the RZ drives like a normal car. However, you can turn up the regenerative braking by pulling on the left paddle behind the steering wheel. Doing so recoups a little bit of the energy used back into the battery. It should be noted that the regenerative braking on its strongest setting isn’t that strong, so one-pedal driving isn’t possible.
The Lexus RZ comes with plenty of standard features
Although the Lexus RZ only comes in two different trim levels, it doesn’t mean that the base one is stripped. It’s quite the contrary as the Premium trim comes standard with plenty of amenities like dual-zone climate control, an Ultrasuede interior, a heated steering wheel and front seats (with ventilation), and a 10-speaker Lexus sound system.
Wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto are also standard. However, if you want the upgraded Mark Levinson sound system, heated rear seats, and a couple of more safety features, the Luxury trim level is the one to get.
Which Lexus RZ trim is right for you?
Shopping for a 2023 Lexus RZ is easy because there are only two trim levels to choose from:
- RX 450e Premium AWD: $59,650
- RX 450e Luxury AWD: $65,150
I recommend opting for the lower RZ 450e Premium trim level and adding the Technology package for an extra $1,425. The smaller 18-inch wheel on the Premium trim allows for more electric range, and the Technology package comes with a head-up display and advanced park feature. There’s not really a huge advantage to going with the Luxury trim level unless you really want the premium Mark Levinson sound system.
What kind of range does the 2023 Lexus RZ get?
The Lexus RZ’s range is its Achilles heel. I wish I could say it could go 250 miles on a single charge, but I can’t. The base Premium model can achieve up to 220 miles, and the Luxury model is capped at 196 – on a good day.
During my week of testing, I had to charge the car every other day to maintain a comfortable level for running errands and picking up friends. A few 10-mile daily trips add up, and 196 miles get used up quicker than you would think.
Fortunately, the RZ charges quickly. I used a DC fast charger and could charge the car from 20% to 80% in 30 minutes. Lexus says that slower level 2 chargers can charge the car completely in about 9.5 hours. There’s also a standard-issue 120-volt charger that comes with the car, which takes up to around 50 hours to charge the car. In reality, it’s only good for top-ups.
How much cargo can the Lexus RZ hold?
Since it’s an SUV, the Lexus RZ can hold plenty of cargo. The space measures 34.9 cubic feet, which should fit a few carry-on suitcases or a couple of golf bags. Fold the rear seats down, and the space goes up to 55 cubic feet for larger and taller items.
What powers the RZ?
A dual-motor system with a 150-kW motor up front and an 80-kW motor between the rear axles powers both Lexus RZ trim levels. Together, they churn out 308 hp, which is good for a five-second run up to 60 mph from a standstill, according to Lexus.
How safe is the Lexus RZ?
The Lexus RZ has not been rated by either the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, that doesn’t mean it’s not safe. Here are some of the standard Lexus RZ safety features:
- Lexus Safety Sense 3.0 with dynamic radar cruise control and curve speed management
- Lane-tracing assist
- Road sign assist
- Intelligent high beams
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Nine airbags
- Panoramic-view monitors
- Intuitive parking assist with automatic braking
The editors at MotorBiscuit give the 2023 Lexus RZ a rating of 8.4 out of 10
The editors at MotorBiscuit award the 2023 Lexus RZ with an overall rating of 8.4 out of 10. The RZ has a strikingly beautiful and unique design inside and out. The sharp angles and bold lines on the car’s exterior match well with the subdued elegance of the interior. It’s also very comfortable and has all of the tech features anyone could need.
The RZ is also very powerful and offers a smooth drive that rivals many competitors like the Genesis GV70, Nissan Ariya, and Tesla Model Y. However, the RZ’s poor range compared to those competitors holds it back a lot in our eyes. That said, the RZ is a good choice that’s worth a look for anyone wanting a luxurious electric vehicle – provided they have the means to charge it every night.