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Review of the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e: Quality Electric Vehicle Offering Exceptional Comfort

Image Source: VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock

Lexus has been known for its hybrid vehicles since the mid-2000s, but it has been hesitant to enter the all-electric vehicle market. While Lexus has an electric UX 300e model available in international markets, it hasn’t brought it to the U.S. market. Now, Lexus has introduced its first all-electric vehicle, the 2023 Lexus RZ. The RZ 450e shares its platform with the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra, but it has its unique features. The question is, does it have what it takes to attract luxury EV buyers?

Despite being a late entrant to the electric vehicle market, Lexus has committed to offering only battery-powered vehicles by 2035. The RZ marks the beginning of this transition. Lexus had previously revealed several concepts that gave a glimpse of what to expect. As for the RZ itself, while it excels in some aspects, it falls short in others.

Based on Toyota’s e-TNGA platform, the RZ 450e is currently available in a single version. Compared to the bZ4X, the RZ has a similar wheelbase of 112.2 inches but is slightly longer, lower, and wider. Positioned between the NX and RX in Lexus’s SUV lineup, the RZ offers a more spacious interior than its size might suggest.

One noticeable difference on the exterior is the absence of Lexus’s signature “spindle” grille, which is featured in the rest of the lineup. Instead, the RZ features a “spindle body” design, mirroring the shape of the grille but closed off and more subtle since it doesn’t need to cool an engine.

The RZ 450e is powered by a dual-motor system that delivers more power than its Toyota and Subaru counterparts. With a combined output of 308 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque, the RZ can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.0 seconds. While it compares favorably to some competitors, it falls short of sportier models like the Tesla Model Y.

Equipped with a 71.4-kWh lithium-ion battery, the RZ offers a comfortable and quiet ride with adequate power for maneuvering through various terrains. However, its driving range of 196-220 miles and charging capabilities might be a downside compared to other EVs in the market.

One unique feature is the Steer by Wire system, providing a responsive driving experience with a distinctive yoke steering wheel resembling that of an airplane. Additionally, the Traffic Jam Assist system allows hands-free driving at speeds below 25 mph on highways.

The interior boasts a 14-inch touchscreen, advanced infotainment system, optional 10-inch head-up display, and Mark Levinson 13-speaker audio system. Radiant panel heating enhances efficiency over traditional HVAC systems.

With a starting price of $59,650 for the Premium trim and $65,150 for the Luxury trim, Lexus plans to sell around 5,000 units in the first year. The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e targets existing Lexus owners looking to transition to an EV. However, its driving range may pose a challenge in competing with other luxury electric SUVs in the market.

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