–Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Lexus was one of the first luxury automakers to introduce hybridization with the RX400h in 2005. But the company has been slower than others to reach full electrification, with the 2023 RZ being its first EV. It rides on the Toyota bZ4X platform and sits snugly between the gas NX and RX models in terms of sizing.
On the one hand, the RZ does many Lexus things exceptionally well: It’s comfortable, it has great ride quality, and the technology is among the best in the business. But on the other hand, it sort of flops as an EV with just 220 miles of range in the most capable model and just 196 miles on the fancier trim. That puts the RZ well behind some of its chief competitors already – and it’s brand new.
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|Quick Stats||2023 Lexus RZ450e Premium|
|Motors||Dual Permanent-Magnet Synchronous|
|Output||308 Horsepower / 320 Pound-Feet|
|EV Range||220 Miles|
|Base Price||$58,500 + $1,150 Destination|
Gallery: 2023 Lexus RZ Review
- Exterior Color: Iridium Silver
- Interior Color: Thunderstorm / Macadamia
- Wheel Size: 20 Inches
From certain angles the RZ looks great, the back end especially. The stylish full-width taillight bar tucks underneath the subtle lip spoiler while two notches on top of the roof extend out rearward for some added dramatics. The front is less attractive with the inverted spindle grille, and the 18-inch wheels on this base Premium model don't exactly give this car a prominent stance. The optional 20-inch wheels look much better.
The interior is simple but elegant and comes packed with premium-feeling NuLuxe faux leather. And the color combo is wonderful: Thunderstorm grey/blue with Macadamia tan. Soft plastic and faux leather touchpoints are all right within reach, with only a few hard plastics around, most notably the housing near the shifter.
- Seating Capacity: 5
- Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
- Cargo Capacity: 23.7 / 55.6 Cubic Feet
Here’s where the RZ does the Lexus thing exceptionally well. The ride quality is sublime; the RZ wafts smoothly over the pavement and barely allows any exterior noise inside the cabin, a tough task for some EVs. The NuLuxe seats are cushy and comfortable, and front-row occupants have access to a unique feature you won’t find on many cars, a radiant knee heater that improves range compared to typical forced-air heat. The back seat is plenty roomy too, with tons of headroom and a nice flat floor thanks courtesy of the battery underneath.
|Lexus RZ 450e||39.9 / 39.7 Inches||42.1 / 37.5 Inches||23.7 / 55.6 Cubic Feet|
|Audi Q4 E-Tron||38.5 / 38.3 Inches||41.2 / 38.3 Inches||33.5 / 53.1 Cubic Feet|
|Genesis GV60||39.0 / 38.1 Inches||42.3 / 37.6 Inches||24.0 / 54.7 Cubic Feet|
|Mercedes-Benz EQB||40.7 / 38.5 Inches||41.4 / 38.1 Inches||23.7 / N/A Cubic Feet|
|Volvo XC40 Recharge||37.6 / 38.3 Inches||40.9 / 36.1 Inches||20.4 / 57.5 Cubic Feet|
- Center Display: 14.3-Inch Touchscreen
- Instrument Cluster Display: 12.3 Inches
- Wireless Apple CarPlay / Android Auto: Yes/Yes
The lovely 14.3-inch touchscreen is the centerpiece of the RZ. It runs the latest and greatest Lexus Interface infotainment system, which is nearly as clearly laid out and easy to use as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. And by the way, both of those are standard without wires. Opting for the $1,425 Technology package, as equipped here, adds a crystal-clear head-up display and a digital key, which are both nice features to have.
- Motor: Dual Permanent-Magnet Synchronous
- Output: 308 Horsepower / 320 Pound-Feet
- Battery: 71.4-Kilowatt-Hour Lithium-Ion
The RZ drives a lot like the RX: unremarkably and inoffensively. But the 308-horsepower EV does get some credit for its quickness – it has decent giddyup in a straight line. But hammering it from a stoplight is about as much fun as you’re going to have in this thing; the suspension is soft and spongy in the corners, and the drive-by-wire steering is nicely tuned for city driving, but not canyon carving.
Lexus is known for its abundance of active safety features, and the RZ is no exception. It comes with Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 standard, which includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane centering and lane tracing, among a few others. The combo of adaptive cruise and lane tracing makes it an easygoing cruiser during long highway bouts, and the driver can even remove their hands from the wheel on the freeway during stop-and-go traffic.
|Range||DC Charge Rate||Efficiency|
|Lexus RZ 450e Premium||220 Miles||150 Kilowatts||107 MPGe|
|Audi Q4 E-Tron Quattro||236 Miles||150 Kilowatts||93 MPGe|
|Cadillac Lyriq AWD||307 Miles||190 Kilowatts||89 MPGe|
|Genesis GV60 Advance||248 Miles||250 Kilowatts||95 MPGe|
|Volvo XC40 Recharge||223 Miles||150 Kilowatts||85 MPGe|
- Base Price: $58,500 + $1,150 Destination
- Trim Base Price: $59,650
- As-Tested Price: $61,775
The Lexus RZ starts at $59,650 with the $1,150 destination fee included, and the exact model tested here is $61,775 with the $500 Iridium Silver paint job and the $1,425 Technology package. Both of those prices are reasonable; the base MSRP puts the Lexus smack dab in the middle of the pack, while alternatives like the Audi get pricey quickly with options.
The RZ does Lexus things well. It’s comfortable and quiet, it has a roomy interior, and the tech and safety on hand is impressive. But its middling range and hit-or-miss styling make it hard to recommend over some of the longer-ranged alternatives.
2023 Lexus RZ 450e Premium