Wednesday, November 8, 2023

2023 Lexus RZ 450e Luxury AWD Prototype: The Brand’s First All-Electric Vehicle

Highlight: The RZ is available as an AWD model only.

Test Vehicle's MSRP: $65,740 (Base Model: $59,650)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; a stability control system; a traction control system; pre-collision system with pedestrian detection system; a radar activated cruise control system; a lane departure warning system; a pre-collision system with pedestrian protection; a lane departure alert with steering assist; a lane trace assist system; automatic high beams; an electronic blind spot monitor with a rear cross traffic alert; a rear camera; a vehicle stability control system; a tire pressure monitoring system; and headlamp washer

Standard Equipment RX Premium: 18-inch wheels; panorama glass roof; all wheel drive system;14-inch touchscreen; single color ambient lighting with Shadow illumination; a dual zone climate control system; pseudo leather; power front seats; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a heated steering wheel; heated/ventilated front seats;  a panorama fixed glass roof; a power rear door with kick sensor; a wireless phone charger; a 14-inch multimedia touchscreen display; a variety of driving modes; and paddle shifters; driver select mode; and power rear door with kick sensor

Standard Equipment RX Luxury (Test Model): 20-inch wheels; a multi color ambient lighting with Shadow lighting; bi-level headlamp system; ultra suede leather interior; tsuyasumin interior trim; heated rear seats; a 13-speaker,an 1800-watt audio system; a HUD (heads up display system) and acoustic rear (and front) glass

Options: Bi-tone exterior paint; 20-inch alloy wheels; an illuminate front Lexus badge; a digital rearview mirror; and a sky panoramic glass roof

Other Trim Levels: None

Standard Audio On Base Vehicle: a 10-speaker audio system with AM/FM/HD with SiriusXM

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

USB Connectivity: Standard

Apple/Android Connectivity: Standard

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 70,000 miles

Electric Vehicle Battery Warranty: 10 years

Horsepower:  308-hp 

Standard EV Mileage: not available on

Electric Driving Range: It fluctuated between 190 to 212!

Maximum Towing Capacity: N/A

What’s New: The all-new, AWD RZ 450 is the luxury brand’s first dedicated all-electric vehicle.


Qualifies for a $7,500 lease credit, helping to reduce the monthly payment

20-inch wheels available

Comfortable seating (test vehicle)

Its all-electric

A powerful engine – once choice

A stylish design

Bi-tone exterior paint available

A heads-up display (HUD) windshield system

A 360-degree camera available (test model)

Heated/ventilated front seats

Heated rear seats (test model)

Easy to maneuver vehicle

A radar activated cruise system with co-pilot assist steering

A power tilt/telescopic steering wheel

All-wheel drive


The prototype registered two different driving ranges

A drab interior (this is night and day from the interior of the Lexus LC)

No ventilation system designed to focus on the driver side only in case no other occupants are in the vehicle

The driving range was significantly below other EVs

Barely accepted my bike in the rear cargo area with the second-row seats folded

No one pedal driving system like found in other EVs, allowing one to use the accelerator as both the gas pedal and brake

Why was there no cargo area under the hood being that this is an EV

A fickle voice activated system (This is the same one being incorporated in all of the redesign Lexus and Toyota products.)

No RWD configuration

No massaging front seats (like in the Genesis GV60)

No biometric technology (like in the Genesis GV60)

No power reclining rear seat like in the current generation RX

Verdict: For the 2023 model year, the RZ 450e, the luxury brand launches its first all-electric vehicle. While the RZ 450e looks similar to the 11th generation RX, the brand's most popular vehicle, the all-electric vehicle is slightly smaller.

We spent time behind the wheel of the RZ 450e prototype, meaning it wasn’t production ready, although the vehicle is available in dealership throughout the U.S.

The RZ mirrors the RX in terms of the wheelbase. However, the RX is slightly wider and longer than the RZ. The RZ exterior design distinguishes itself from the RX too with its full surface painted facia. Also being that this is an EV, the horsepower exceeds that of the base trim RX hybrid and gasoline models.

Moreover, the RZ offers all of the luxury accoutrements one expects from Lexus. However, in terms of EVs, the RZ falls short in terms of driving range. While the RZ competitors driving range spans from 279 to over 300 miles, according, the prototype we reviewed ranged anywhere from a less than stellar 180 to 220 miles. 

Furthermore, while the RZ can accommodate a DC quick charger, which literally cuts the charging time down immensely, this wasn’t the case with our prototype. In fact, we found that when our RZ was at 60 percent of its maximum driving range, before charging, the DC charger, we were using, suggested it could take upwards of 90 minutes, before the vehicle is near charging compacity. Yes, we were advised the slower speed was due to the vehicle being a prototype.

Lastly, we found Lexus first dedicated EV lacked some of the technology we found in some of its competitors, ranging from a one pedal accelerator/coasting feature to a driver only ventilation system to biometric technology which recognizes the driver, allowing the person to be keyless.

Overall, while Lexus has been late to the table in embracing EVs, it's obvious the brand has some work to do to catch up with both mainstream and premium EVs.

Competition: 2023 Cadillac Lyriq; 2023 Genesis GV60; 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE and 2023 Tesla Model Y

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