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The electric SUV segment is heating up with entrants like the 2023 Nissan Ariya and Lexus RZ. Both of these EV SUV rivals bring a lot to the table, including a unique design, strong electric powertrains, and numerous tech-savvy features. I have had the privilege of testing both of these futuristic electric vehicles recently and found that they were similar in a couple of ways but vastly different in others. Here is a real-world comparison.

The 2023 Lexus RZ has a far more futuristic look than the Nissan Ariya EV SUV

The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e in front of a colorful parking structure.
2023 Lexus RZ 450e | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

It’s hard to deny that both the 2023 Lexus RZ and Nissan Ariya are showstoppers in the EV SUV category. When I first saw the Lexus RZ, I couldn’t get over how futuristic it looked with its sharp angles and bold lines. The lack of a front grille looks weird initially, but it makes sense considering it doesn’t need the same airflow as its gas-powered counterpart, the RX.

The RZ’s interior looks very concept car-like as well. Lexus upholstered the car’s interior with Ultrasuede, a soft material that will remind you of your grandma’s couch, in a good way. There’s also a massive 14-inch infotainment screen and a dial shifter to make it go forward and reverse.

The Nissan Ariya, on the other hand, has a futuristic look in a different way. Like the RZ, the Ariya lacks a traditional front grille and has bold features that make it stand out from anything else on the road. Inside, the Ariya’s interior is spacious and features a floating center console and open-air dashboard design.

Between the EV SUVs cars, I would say that the Lexus RZ’s design is far more daring and looks sleeker than the Ariya’s. However, both designs are timeless and should look great 10 years from now.

Both electric SUVs have potent powertrains

The electric motor in the 2023 Nissan Ariya
2023 Nissan Ariya | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Lexus RZ comes standard with a dual-motor setup that places an electric motor between the front axles and one between the rear. The powertrain is good for 308 hp and up to 220 miles in the Premium trim (190 miles for the up-level Luxury trim).

Conversely, the Nissan Ariya has two different powertrains – a standard 215-hp single-motor setup and a 389-hp dual-motor one. My Ariya tester had the more-powerful setup, which provided plenty of power with the stab of the throttle in addition to plenty of traction off the line.

It was stronger than the Lexus RZ’s powertrain, which was powerful as well, but it didn’t have the same gusto as the Nissan EV SUV.

When it comes to electric range, the Nissan Ariya trumps the Lexus RZ

The charging port on the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e EV SUV
2023 Lexus RZ 450e | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

One of the most important aspects of owning an electric vehicle is how far it can go on a single charge. In my testing, the Lexus RZ fared poorly because its 190 miles of range dwindled quickly, especially with the climate controls on. After a couple of days of driving around to run errands and transport friends, I had to charge the car. After a couple more days of driving around, I had to charge the car again.

Since I live in an apartment complex, I had to go to a public charger each time, which was cumbersome. Considering I only had the car for a week, having to charge it multiple times was not a good thing.

The Nissan Ariya, on the other hand, could get over 250 miles on a single charge, which proved more suitable for my daily needs. I only had to charge it once during the week and never had range anxiety the whole time.

The cabin space in both EV SUVs is similar

2023 Nissan Ariya dashboard
2023 Nissan Ariya | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The interior measurements between these EV SUVs are similar, despite the Lexus looking bigger from the outside. My 5-foot, 8-inch frame fit perfectly fine in both rows of the Lexus and the Nissan, and I doubt tall passengers will have an issue. One thing worth noting is that the RZ has slightly more cargo room than the Ariya, with the seats folded up. Either way, both cargo holds should be able to swallow up a few carry-on suitcases or golf club bags easily.

2023 Nissan Ariya vs. Lexus RZ: Which EV SUV should you buy?

The 2023 Nissan Ariya carries a starting price of $43,190, and the Lexus RZ starts at $59,650. For my money, I would suggest the Ariya over the RZ because it’s cheaper, has a better electric range, and has similar tech features and cabin space. However, the Lexus RZ is still a great SUV in its own way, especially regarding design. But I think the Nissan Ariya has it beat.