By: Jag Dhatt
Being one of the leaders in the hybrid sector of automobiles, everyone was wondering when Lexus would bring out an all-electric vehicle. Many other manufacturers have gone electric and why not Lexus? Well, it’s now here and it’s called the Lexus RZ450e.
The RZ450e shares the same platform as the Toyota bZ4X and even the Subaru Solterra. But since it’s a Lexus, the finished product is more refined and polished. Let’s look at the Hits & Misses of the all-new, all-electric Lexus.
Hit: It’s Electric
The RZ450e has a 71.4 kWh battery that is located both under the floor and integrated into the body structure. Our test vehicle, the Signature AWD, has two motors: 201 hp goes to the front wheels and 107 hp goes to the rear. While the numbers add up to 308, Lexus says that total horsepower is 313 (I’m still scratching my head). The RZ450e is punchy and will get from a standstill to 100 km/h in just 5 seconds, plenty quick enough for my needs. This is on par with others like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and 6 and the Polestar 2.
Hit: Looks and Functional Interior
While always subjective, I found the RZ450e to be a well-designed vehicle. It has inspiration from the new RX and the UX, with some sharp edges at the front and back. The spindle-like front end is still there but doesn’t have the horizontal lines we’ve seen in other Lexus models. It’s a cleaner look in my opinion, but still retains the look of the new Lexus design.
The interior of the vehicle is functional while still retaining the fit and finish we come to expect from Lexus. One of best improvements made has to the be the new 14-inch touchscreen, which replaces the old touchpad system. First seen on the Toyota Tundra, this new interface is easy to use and supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
All seats in our test vehicle provided great comfort with the fronts being both heated and ventilated, while the rears being heated. The second row has a surprising amount of room for 5 adults. When having kids in the back seat, it’s important that the rear seat belts are easy to use, especially when car seats/booster seats are involved. My 7-year-old had no problem in getting her seat belt in.
Hit: That Lexus Drive and Comfort
If you’ve been inside a Lexus, you know how smooth and quiet they can be. With the RZ450e, it still holds true. Our test car came with the standard 18” tire and wheel package which offered a serene and comfortable ride. The adaptive suspension was great in reducing imperfections in the pavement.
When some people drive an electric car, they feel that since there’s no engine noise, they can hear more road and wind noise. That’s not the case with the RZ450e. There’s a nice hum that comes from the electric motors, but other than that, the cabin remained quiet during the time I had with the vehicle.
Hit: Lots of Technology and Features
I’ve already mentioned some things before that I really like about the RZ450e but here’s a quick recap. The new in-house built infotainment system is quite impressive and responsive. And the fact that there’s still knobs to control some elements, it’s a winner.
Next there’s the center console. Why is it neat? Well, it can open both ways, making it easier to access for the driver or the passenger. It may seem like a minor feature, but once you use it, you hate going back to the one that only opens one way.
Of course, there’s all the safety systems you come to expect from Lexus. The RZ450e comes with a myriad of systems to ensure passengers stay safe. If you are carrying passengers regularly, then one system is the e-lock system. If you’re about to open the door and the car senses there is another vehicle approaching, it will alert you and can actually stop you from opening the door.
Miss: That Range Could be Better
There was a time, when EVs first took off, when a range of 250km was seen as great. Not-so today. The RZ450e has an ideal and claimed range of 354 km with a full charge when equipped with the 18” tire and wheel package. I drove the vehicle in the spring and I didn’t come near that range; I was closer to 315 km. While not bad, for a vehicle of this price, the range (realistically) should be at least 400 km.
Miss: The Interior Could be Improved
Earlier in this review I stated that the RZ450e’s interior was functional and had great fit and finish. That being said, I think that designers could have done a little more to make their first fully EV stand out a bit more. Those buying this car will like the interior as is; however, some will wish there was a little more.
There’s lots to like in the 2023 RZ450e. The Lexus badge that adorns the front tells buyers that this vehicle will offer a smooth, comfortable ride, a tonne of technology and of course, impressive build quality. The 2023 RZ450e starts at just under $68,000 (including Freight and PDI) for the Signature trim – although some may consider this expensive, in today’s market, it’s not a bad price at all. And, you can probably get one at the dealership now.