Having recently test driven the 2023 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport, we were looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the Japanese car maker’s first dedicated EV (rather than one built using an existing architecture) – the RZ450e Luxury.
This new model sits lower and is slightly shorter in length than the RX, and while the wheelbase is the same, it provides a sleeker, coupe-like look, setting it apart from the current crop of standard style SUVs.
Consistent with the brand’s current design language, it features sharp lines and a unique, angular front end, with the traditional spindle grille making way for a fresh, EV-specific look. Aesthetically these cars are nice to look at, with a solid road presence.
Tested here in Sonic Quartz, the RZ450e can be had in Sonic Chrome, Sonic Iridium, Graphite Black, Sonic Copper and Ether. They’re all a bit sedate and it would have been nice to see Lexus go a little wild on the colour front.
A look inside reveals an incredibly spacious cabin, with extremely generous rear legroom. There are two options to choose from in terms of interior trim, greyscale, and a two-tone brown and hazel. The look is simple, different and elegant.
Up the back, boot space is a generous 522-litres, or 1,451-litres with the second row seats down. The now standard fare 14-inch infotainment system is enormous and features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Climate control is also adjusted through the screen and we do welcome the ability to use some dials to alter the cabin temperature, at least. Up front is a head-up display and a virtual cockpit style instrument cluster.
The latter is a little odd looking as there are large blank spaces. We’re not sure why this is the case, but it could be just one of those odd quirks. Finish is excellent, with plenty of soft touch materials, while nicely placed light patterns illuminate the doors at night.
Australia has so far missed out on the yoke steering wheel (not necessarily a bad thing), and for some reason, there’s no glove box. On the road, the RZ feels solid, with relatively low road noise. Being an EV, that silence is accentuated.
It’s a comfortable ride, with a 71.4kW lithium-ion battery providing up to 470km in range. Power sits at 230kW and 435Nm, delivered to all four wheels. Off the mark, the car accelerates smoothly, with consistent power delivery.
Poor charging infrastructure for those who can’t charge at home remains an issue in Australia, but if you do need to go old school and plug into a 240v outlet, you’ll need about 30 hours. Thankfully, Lexus includes a complimentary home charger and installation.
In this scenario, you can be juiced up in less than 6.5 hours (on three-phase power). A DC fast charger will obviously get you there significantly quicker – to 80 per cent in about 30 minutes in fact.
There are ample safety features on board too, including a pre-collision system loaded with warnings, braking and alerts. You’ll also find lane keep assist, front and rear traffic alerts, a 360-degree reverse camera and a driver monitor sensor.
The latter sits on your steering wheel to ensure you keep your eyes on the road. The 2023 Lexus RZ450e Luxury is priced at $133,439 drive away, but for an extra $12,000 you can have the Sport Luxury variant. The latter adds a better audio system and sunroof.
Either way you get a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and capped-price servicing. All-in-all it’s a technology filled SUV that’s plenty capable, but it does feel a little basic for the price. You can find out more on the Lexus Australia website.
If you’re keen on one and need finance, talk to CreditOne.
Our test vehicle was provided by Lexus Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Lexus RZ450e Luxury, contact your local Lexus dealer.