You might’ve heard about the bZ4X, Toyota’s fully electric crossover. But the Lexus RZ, with its sharper front end and opulent interior, is the bZ4X’s cooler cousin. Because Lexus is Toyota’s luxury brand, many of its vehicles use the same platforms as Toyota cars. For example, the RAV4 and NX are nearly identical in terms of build. The same applies to the two new EVs, though we still have a few reasons why you should upgrade from the Toyota bZ4X to the Lexus RZ.
1. The Lexus RZ has standard all-wheel drive
According to Lexus, every RZ will feature a DIRECT4 AWD system. It adjusts power distribution evenly among the front and rear wheels, allowing for optimum traction and performance. Lexus also promises steer-by-wire technology and a yoke-style steering wheel at a later date.
The Toyota bZ4X has standard front-wheel drive, though buyers can add AWD. Though DIRECT4 technology is exclusive to Lexus, the bZ4X’s AWD system comes with X-Mode. Toyota says this feature allows drivers to optimize braking and throttle performance. Plus, it includes some extra drive modes.
Standard AWD is an appealing feature for drivers who have to deal with ice and snow. Still, owning an EV in the colder months can be challenging if it doesn’t provide sufficient range.
Meanwhile, Edmunds says single-motor Toyota bZ4X models get 252 miles of electric range. AWD models still go up to 228 miles on a full charge.
2. The Lexus RZ has a better base powertrain than the Toyota bZ4X
The dual-motor setup on the RZ 450e, alongside the 71.4-kWh battery, generates a combined 312 hp. With this powertrain, the EV can reach 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Lexus claims the eAxle setup at the front and rear also contributes to its performance qualities.
According to Toyota, the bZ4X produces only 201 hp with FWD and 214 hp with AWD. Car and Driver testers say the dual-motor model is the quickest, reaching 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. Not only did they find the RZ faster, but they also praised its upgraded handling dynamics.
3. The Lexus boasts a higher-quality interior
Unsurprisingly, Car and Driver testers were more impressed with the Lexus RZ’s interior. It features soft-touch vegan suede and leather surfaces. The RZ is also slightly longer than the bZ4X, giving passengers more room to stretch.
Another plus: Most physical controls are located in the center stack to accompany the 14-inch touchscreen. A head-up display is also standard, uncommon even in many luxury vehicles. In addition, the RZ benefits from a generous suite of advanced safety features, including forward-collision warning and adaptive cruise control.
In comparison, the Toyota bZ4X’s interior abounds with hard plastics. There’s also no glovebox, and the gauge cluster’s tunnel-like housing might make it difficult to read for some drivers. On the plus side, C/D says the interior is still spacious and complemented by a standard panoramic sunroof.
Thanks to its luxury nameplate and higher-end features, the Lexus RZ will probably cost at least $10,000 more than the Toyota bZ4X. Still, we think the higher price is worth it for a premium interior and better performance.