Electric Reviews Lexus

Review: 2023 Lexus RZ450e

The 2023 Lexus RZ450e is NOT the first electric Lexus. The first was the UX300e. However, that model was never sold to us here in North America. So I guess you can say that this is the first electric Lexus for Canadian & American consumers. But with this RZ450e being based on the Toyota bZ4x and the Subaru Solterra, does it capture the essence of a true Lexus vehicle? 

2023 Lexus RZ450e


Motors – Unlike some other electric vehicles, the Lexus RZ450e is only available with a Direct-4 AWD system. What this means is that there’s an electric motor powering the front wheels and another powering the rear wheels. The front motor produces 201 hp & 196 lb-ft of torque (150 kW & 266 Nm) while the rear motor is less powerful at 107 hp & 124 lb-ft of torque (80 kW & 168 Nm). The combined output is 308 hp & 320 lb-ft of torque (230 kW & 434 Nm) which enables the RZ450e to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in around 5 seconds. 

In an EV that tips the scales at 2,070 kg (4,563 lbs), the RZ450e has plenty of get up & go when you plant your foot on the accelerator pedal. But things are a little different when you behave like a civilized person in a city environment. Unlike any other EV, the RZ’s accelerator pedal response is purposely delayed, that is, it has a bit of lag built into it. This is to replicate the smooth and gradual acceleration of a gasoline-powered or hybrid Lexus vehicle. When you push that right pedal further down, the immediate response that EVs are known for becomes more apparent. But in everyday driving, this car replicates a normal Lexus which is by design.

2023 Lexus RZ450e

Battery & Charging – Providing the power to the motors is a 71.4 kWh battery pack that is mounted in the floor. In Canada, there are only 2 trim levels to choose from with the Signature trim providing up to 354 km (220 miles) of range. The Executive trim can only manage 315 km (196 miles) due to the larger 20” wheels. 

However, while this range is lower than many other electric vehicles on the market, the 2023 RZ450e makes the most of the available energy. In many other EVs, I’ve averaged between 19 to 21 kWh/100km (2.95 to 3.27 miles/kWh). In this 2023 Lexus RZ450e, I’ve managed to average 16.2 kWh/100km (3.84 miles/kWh) during my week of driving almost 370 km (230 miles) in total. And that was with climate control running in 30 degree Celsius temperatures.

With a maximum charge rate of 150 kW, the 2023 RZ 450e can recharge from nearly 0% to 80% in approximately 30 minutes. From a level 2 AC charger, it will take approximately 11 hours to recharge from nearly depleted to 100% state of charge. These are average times for most EVs. 

2023 Lexus RZ450e

Braking – Part of this car’s efficiency comes from how well it recuperates energy from regenerative braking. It has a smooth and progressive brake pedal that doesn’t change resistance when transitioning from regen to physical braking. There are also different steps of regen braking from low to high which are controlled through the steering wheel mounted paddles. Unfortunately, the RZ450e does not have a one-pedal drive mode. The highest regen braking mode slows the car down significantly but for the last 15 km/h (9 mph) or so, you need to step on the brake pedal to bring the car to a complete stop.

Handling – With the more powerful electric motor powering the front wheels, the 2023 Lexus RZ450e has a bit of torque steer coming out of a corner at full power. It’s not too exaggerated but you can feel it tugging at the steering wheel slightly. Otherwise, the RZ450e is not a particularly sporty EV like the Ford Mach-e GT. It’s not supposed to be. Steering is direct like in many other electro-assisted vehicles but vague in feel. Push the car too hard into a corner and it will understeer in agony. But again, this is not a competitor to something like the Porsche Taycan. It feels most at home between lights in a bustling city. 

2023 Lexus RZ450e


Ride Comfort – Like many other Lexus vehicles, the 2023 RZ450e is a comfortable EV. With the equipped 18” wheels, the car remains smooth over potholes and broken pavement. The comfortable seats further aid in providing a smooth ride. They are soft but supportive in the right places. Comfort is the reason why one would consider this over another EV and the RZ delivers it.

Interior Space – Another area where the RZ450e delivers is passenger volume. At 6’4”, I have a lot of space in the front seats. Even with my tall driving position, I could have moved the driver’s seat further back if I really needed more leg space. Additionally, headroom is excellent despite the sleek roofline. 

2023 Lexus RZ450e

Behind the front seats, passengers are just as generously treated with leg space and headroom. Behind my tall driving position, I have enough knee room and my feet are not touching the bottom of the front seat even when it is in its lowest position. Headroom is equally impressive. The only minor complaint is the narrow door opening for the rear seats. If you have to put a child seat, it could be difficult.

The trunk accommodates 966 L (34.1 cu-ft) of space in this Signature trim and it increases slightly in the Executive trim to 988 L (34.9 cu-ft). Unlike European rivals, the rear seats fold down 60/40 instead of 40/20/40 and there’s a little bit of storage under the floor for small items or the charging cable. This base trim does not have a power liftgate and there’s no other storage under the hood. 

Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The transition to an electric powertrain is a huge benefit to luxury vehicles like this one. Without the engine, transmission, and driveshafts, there are no vibrations to be transmitted into your fingertips and bum. It’s like being on an A380. It’s also as quiet as an Airbus inside the cabin. Very minimal road noise, almost no wind noise on highways and there’s no powertrain noise to mention at all. It is as quiet and serene as a Lexus can get.

2023 Lexus RZ450e

Odds and Ends

Pricing – The 2023 Lexus RZ450e is not a particularly cheap crossover EV. It starts at $64,950 CAD ($59,650 USD, Premium) for this Signature trim and the top Executive trim will set you back $80,950 CAD ($65,150 USD, Luxury). Here in British Columbia, Canada, the Signature trim is eligible for $4,000 CAD in rebates but it’s the only trim that is eligible. 

What’s worse is that this car’s competitors have lower starting prices and are eligible for higher rebates. The RWD Model Y, the Volvo C40 Recharge, and the Audi Q4 e-Tron, to name a few, start at around $60,000 CAD and you can get up to $9,000 CAD in rebates. 

2023 Lexus RZ450e

Gadgets – At least for this higher starting price, the 2023 RZ450e has most of the features that one would want from a luxury vehicle. Heated seats, NuLuxe synthetic leather upholstery, 8-way power adjustable driver & passenger seats with 2-way adjustable lumbar support, dual-zone automatic climate control, power adjustable & heated steering wheel (which by the way has an excellent feel despite it being wrapped in synthetic leather), a 14” touchscreen with wireless Android Auto & Apple CarPlay connectivity, wireless phone charging pad and 10-speaker audio system are all standard features on the Canadian spec RZ450e. 

The Signature trim can be optioned with the Luxury package for $8,600 CAD which adds features such as surround view cameras, ventilated front seats, panoramic moonroof, power liftgate, radiant front knee heaters, and 20” wheels among a few other safety related features. 

However, if you want features such as heated rear seats, 13-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, head-up display, 64-color ambient lighting, and ultrasuede seats, you have to pick the $81,000 Executive trim. The packages and individual options are different between the Canadian & American markets.


Interior Design – Though the 2023 Lexus RZ450e shares its platform with the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra, it thankfully does not have the same interior layout. The dashboard looks similar to that of the Lexus RX. A large 14” touchscreen is the main focal point for your eyes and although most of the functions are in the infotainment screen, there are physical knobs for the temperature controls. One item I would have added is the dedicated drive mode selector knob that is found in the Lexus NX. If you want to change drive modes in this, you have to dig through the infotainment system to do it. 

One thing that I’m really happy about is the driver display. This RZ450e does not have the same design that is in its sister cars and the new Toyota Prius. That design slightly blocks the instrument cluster by the steering wheel. But in the RZ, Lexus’ engineers could have implemented it because later in 2023 or 2024, the RZ450e will be available with an optional yoke steering wheel. These provide an unobstructed view above the centerline but they force you to keep your hands at the 9 and 3 position. Though that is how your hands should be on a steering wheel, it does get tiring. 

2023 Lexus RZ450e

Exterior Design – The 2023 Lexus RZ450e is not a particularly good looking car but it’s also not a particularly boring looking car either. It has a large cover in the bumper that is supposed to mimic the trademark Lexus spindle grille. It has the sharp Lexus LED daytime running lights. It has fins on the roof for, I can only assume, aerodynamics. And it has a full LED light bar stretching the back like many other new Lexus crossover SUVs. It has a unique design but it doesn’t scream “Wow” to my eyes. 

Safety – Like many other Lexus vehicles, the RZ450e is equipped with standard Lexus Safety System+ 3.0. This includes safety & driver aids such as automatic high beam, dynamic radar cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with steering assist, pedestrian, bicycle, and motorcycle detection, and road sign assist to name a few. The car also has blind spot sensors with rear cross traffic alert, safe exit assist, rear seat reminder, backup camera, and a full suite of airbags. 

Opting for the Luxury package or the Executive trim will add features such as intuitive parking assist with auto braking, traffic jam assist, lane change assist, and front cross traffic alert. 

Warranty – The 2023 Lexus RZ450e is covered by a 4 year / 60,000 km new vehicle warranty. The battery & electrical components are covered by an 8 year / 160,000 km warranty. For more information on Canadian Lexus warranty, click here. For information on American warranty, click here.


Conclusion – The 2023 Lexus RZ450e is a preview of what’s to come from the luxury Japanese brand. This is not an EV for everyone that will sell like the Tesla Model Y. It has the shortest range among its competitors, it’s more expensive, and it’s not particularly fun to drive. Instead, it’s for city dwellers and those that want the comfort and luxury of a Lexus vehicle but with the added benefits of an EV such as a quiet interior and a smooth driving experience. 

Thank you to Lexus Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Lexus.ca

2023 Lexus RZ450e Gallery

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