2023 Lexus RZ
Lexus wants you to know that they have received your message. They now have a battery-electric vehicle ready for your inspection.
They call it the RZ. It is the result of a strategy Toyota to include EVs in their lineup across both brands. It seems appropriate for Lexus to have an electric SUV that fits with their image. Not just for quiet luxury, but to give consumers a stylish ride to arrive in.
The RZ is part of the e-TNGA battery-electric platform that is shared with the Toyota bZ4X and the Subaru Solterra. Lexus adds specific brand design elements that not only fits perfectly with the lineup, but it stands out in a growing crowd of electric luxury SUVs.
That includes its own exterior design. It follows a specific language seen on the NX and RX. However, it is about in the middle between both of these Lexus SUV models size-wise. Although the wheelbase is closer towards the RX’s than the NX. Still, one could see the elements that are derived from each of these siblings in the Lexus lineup – including the electronically-controlled doors.
The doors are electronically controlled, the front clip does not have a center grille, and there is no glass on the C-pillar. However, our Luxury trim tester sported available 20-inch alloy wheels in a Dark Premium Metallic finish. Otherwise, the RZ certainly looks like a Lexus in every way you imagine it.
Inside, the Lexus dashboard does follow its SUV siblings with a full digital instrument cluster with a 10-inch head up display. All of which keeps the driver informed. Off on the center stack is the 14-inch touchscreen driven by the Lexus Interface infotainment system. Down on the center console is a knob-type transmission actuator. The rest of the controls follow current Lexus design trends, including the haptic touch-type controls on the steering wheel.
Rarely do we see blue interiors anymore. This one wears a suede upholstery that keeps cool year-round. The front seats offer both comfort and support, including some good-sized bolsters. Rear seat room is very good and can accommodate two adults or three children. Cargo space is also accommodating with 34.9 cubic feet behind the rear seats. With the rear seats down, expect a very generous area up to 55.6 cubic feet.
The RZ is powered by a two electric motors driving all four wheels through their Direct4 driveline. Total system performance is rated at 308 horsepower. Recharging the RZ’s 71.4-kilowatt-per-hour battery can be done at a DC Fast Charging system at the rate of three miles per minute under ideal conditions. The Environmental Protection Agency rated the RZ for a range of 196 to 220 miles, depending on equipment.
What you will find with the RZ is how smooth and luxurious the ride quality is. It absorbs bumps quite well and never transmits them into the cabin. Handling is on the soft side with plenty of control through evasive maneuvers.
On-center feel for the steering system is solid. This is with no interference from the driver assistance systems. Turning radius is quite good and can get out of plenty of tight situations. We also found the brakes to be very good, turning in strong stops in normal and panic situations. Pedal feel is among the best of the EVs we’ve driven. You can adjust the degree of regeneration through the two paddles on the back of the steering wheel.
Pricing for the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e starts at $59,650 and is available in two trim levels. Our top-of-the-line Luxury model came with a sticker price of $67,095.
The Lexus RZ is clearly the newest full battery electric SUV/crossover in the luxury market. It joins quite a variety of competitors that are vying for the same sustainable consumer base. These vehicles include the Audi Q4 e-tron, BMW iX, Genesis Electrified GV70, Mercedes-Benz EQB, Jaguar I-Pace, Cadillac Lyriq, Volvo XC40 and C40, and Tesla Model Y.
Where the Lexus RZ differentiates itself in giving you the luxury you expect from the brand with complete sustainability. A bit more range, and we feel it is exactly what consumers want in the luxury SUV EV segment.
Credits: CarSoup Editors