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The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e is the luxury brand’s first all-electric SUV offering. If it looks vaguely familiar, it’s because it shares platforms with the Toyota bZ4X and the Subaru Solterra. However, it has some Lexus flare. I have the privilege of driving the RZ 450e this week. So far, I’m smitten with how it looks and drives, but that’s about it. Here are my first impressions of the funky EV SUV.

The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e looks futuristic and sharp

2023 Lexus RZ 450e side
2023 Lexus RZ 450e | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

First things first, I was completely taken aback when I laid eyes on the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e. Its sharp lines, angular headlights, and contrasting black trim pieces give it a bold look. However, the front end threw me off a little because it doesn’t have the typical spindle grille like every other Lexus model. Instead, it’s a flat piece with a large Lexus badge that sits below the front camera.

Honestly, it looks a little weird, but I like it. Electric vehicles don’t need as much airflow as normal cars since they are powered by electric motors, so the design makes sense. Moving to the side of the car, I couldn’t help but notice that it looked like a standard-issue RX, and that’s not a bad thing. The rear view of the car is my favorite part, as the wraparound taillight and angular tailgate continue the RZ’s futuristic theme.

The ultramodern looks extend to the interior of the car as well. My test car for the week is the up-level Luxury trim, which forgoes the typical leather upholstery found in many Lexus models for Ultrasuede skins. In case you’re wondering, yes, the interior is blue and white – Lexus calls it “Thunderstorm and Macadamia.” It looks very concept-car-like, but it works well with the overall look of the car.

The worst part about the Lexus RX is its short range

Front interior view of the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e
2023 Lexus RZ 450e | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

It’s 2023, and many EVs, like the Tesla Model Y and the Audi Q4 e-Tron, can get 200-300 miles of range on a single charge. The Lexus RZ 450e, on the other hand, is only rated up to 220 miles for the Premium model with 18-inch wheels. My Luxury trim tester has porky 20-inch rollers that bring the estimate down to around 196 miles at best.

When the Lexus was dropped off at my house, it was fully charged. You can imagine my surprise when I got into the car and the charge read “181.” To put it harshly, that’s abysmal for 2023, especially for a car that costs well over $60,000. I found out that turning the climate control off greatly helps the range, though.

In the last few days of driving, the range sunk to around 130 miles, but turning the HVAC off added another 30 miles. That likely means that the range meter is accurate, but it’s still not good.

Perhaps the Lexus RX would be better than the RZ

2023 Lexus RZ 450e rear tailgate
2023 Lexus RZ 450e | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The Lexus RZ has a lot going for it, but its gas counterpart, the RX, could be a better bet for anyone that needs to drive far. So far, the RZ’s design, fit and finish, and electric power are great, but its range really holds it back. I’ll be testing this car all week, so check back for a full review.