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Lexus is a popular luxury brand for good reasons. It’s well known for building cars and SUVs to a high standard of safety and overall quality. They often excel in practicality, efficiency, and much lower ownership costs than their European rivals. In fact, the best-selling luxury vehicle in the U.S. is the Lexus RX, a midsize premium SUV that does everything well.

Lexus is a popular brand in general, but one model in its lineup is struggling to move units.

2023 Lexus RZ 450e Driving on a Country Road - The Steering Yoke is an option for this SUV
2023 Lexus RZ 450e | Lexus

The least popular Lexus model is the RZ. The RZ is a compact electric SUV based on the Toyota bZ4X platform. The obvious differences between the RZ and the bZ4X are that the more expensive Lexus is more luxurious and tuned for higher performance than the more pedestrian Toyota. The Lexus also has standard AWD.

Even though SUVs are all the rage in the current automotive climate, the RZ can’t outsell the Lexus LC high-end grand touring car or the Lexus RC coupe.

Why is the RZ Unpopular?

Numerous reasons are contributing to the fact that the Lexus RZ has only sold 487 units so far in 2023, according to GoodCarBadCar data. For starters, production has been slow for the RZ, as it often is with new electric vehicles. It’s possible that there’s demand for the RZ that isn’t being met by the supply.

Lexus buyers are often value-conscious. Lexus models often have lower price tags, better resale value, and lower ownership costs compared to similar luxury vehicles. Because of that, the popularity of the RZ may be hampered by its starting price of $59,650.

It’s about the same size as the Lexus NX, which starts at $40,205 for the gas model, $43,805 for the hybrid, and $58,655 for the plug-in hybrid. Even the bigger, best-selling Lexus RX starts at around $50k for the gas and hybrid versions.

The RZ is also up against some tough competition in the growing field of electric luxury SUVs. For example, the Cadillac Lyriq is bigger than the RZ and gets a better maximum range (312 miles for the Cadillac, 220 miles for the Lexus). The Lyriq has a starting price similar to the RZ ($58,590), but it qualifies for the $7,500 federal EV tax credit, and the Lexus RZ does not.

Another reason for low numbers for the RZ is that EVs still make up a small percentage of the whole automotive marketplace. Only about 6% of all new car sales are EVs, and the most popular EV brand is still Tesla.

Many drivers who want an EV are attracted to Tesla for its reputation as an innovative tech company selling unique and futuristic cars and SUVs. The Lexus brand’s reputation is more about value, comfort, and safety.

The Future of Lexus EVs

Lexus is committed to offering “all-electric vehicles in every segment globally in the coming years.” That means the traditional, gas-powered sedans and SUVs that Lexus is famous for aren’t going away soon, but they’ll have electric counterparts in Lexus showrooms.

Lexus has unveiled EV concepts for an SUV, a sedan, and a sports car that excite us about the luxury brand’s electrified future.


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