2023 Lexus RZ 450e
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First Drive: 2023 Lexus RZ 450e Review

The Toyota automotive conglomerate has more than 25 years’ experience in engineering electrified production vehicles for the world. But they’ve only recently gone all-in on all-electric.

Last year, they released the Toyota bZ4X and now we have the Lexus RZ 450e. The RZ is based on the same platform as the Toyota (and its sibling, the Subaru Solterra), but features a different powertrain with increased performance. 

The RZ is the first Lexus EV for the global market, so it’s an important model for one of Canada’s favourite luxury brands. It’s also going head-to-head against some extremely competitive EVs with awareness in the marketplace.

Year in and year out, the Lexus RX is one of the most popular luxury SUVs in North America, and one we reviewed ahead of its release. So the question is: Does the Lexus RZ, a similarly sized all-electric luxury SUV, have what it takes to become just as popular? Let’s look under the hood.

The first-ever 2023 Lexus RZ 450e at the global launch in Aix-en-Provence, France | Photo: Mark Hacking 

If you’re in the market for a used Toyota SUV, here’s a quick look at our inventory. Every model comes fully certified, and you’ve got 7 days to decide whether you really love it or not, coupled with a no-charge 30 Day / 1,500 km warranty.

Lexus RZ Key Features:

  • First global EV for the Lexus brand
  • All-electric powertrain, AWD, motors front and back 
  • 71.4 kWh battery pack, 230 kW (313 hp) total output
  • Estimated range of up to 354 km

Direct Competitors (with links to our reviews):

How much will the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e cost in Canada?

2023 Lexus RZ pricing


Starting MSRP

Estimated Vehicle Price*

Signature AWD

$ 64,950

$ 68,225

Luxury AWD

$ 73,550

$ 76,825

Executive AWD

$ 80,950

$ 84,225

*NOTE (from Lexus Canada site): Estimated Vehicle Price includes MSRP/Freight PDI/AC charge/maximum Dealer fees/maximum other fees and charges, and excludes taxes, license, insurance and registration. Dealer fees/other fees and charges vary by region and dealer. Dealer may sell for less.

First, the bad news: The RZ is only available for sale at dealerships in British Columbia and Quebec to start. Eventually, dealers right across the country will join the parade, but there’s no official word yet on when that will be. So, if you live in BC or Quebec, you can order the RZ in one of three trim levels right now.

Three trims: RZ Signature, RZ Luxury, and RZ Executive – starting at $64,950

The 450e Signature starts at $64,950 and has standard features including heated front seats, heated steering wheel, wireless smartphone charging and a 10-speaker audio system. The Luxury rings in at $73,550 and adds 20-inch wheels, a panoramic moonroof, ventilated front seats and some semi-autonomous driver aids. The Lexus 450e Executive adds ultra-suede upholstery, heated rear seats, a dimming feature for that moonroof and the 13-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, all for an MSRP of $80,950.

2023 Lexus RZ 450e interior: serenity now

2023 Lexus RZ 450e | Photo: Lexus 

Lexus knows a thing or two about designing quiet, comfortable and luxurious passenger cabins. So it’s no surprise that the interior of RZ 450e is a welcoming space, particularly those versions equipped with the panoramic moonroof. (Sidebar: The panoramic moonroof with the dimming feature is a worthwhile box to check in the build/price process.)

The cabin is thoughtfully designed. There’s a centre screen, of course, but it’s not over-the-top; it’s a 14-inch high-resolution number that blends in well with the centre console. There’s a dial at the bottom edge to control audio system volume, which is a welcome touch. Similarly, the steering wheel houses a number of controls, but so many as to make things confusing.

The RZ employs shift-by-wire technology, which opens up more space in the interior. A rotary dial is the gear selector; it won’t interfere as you reach across to grab that coffee from one the two cupholders. 

2023 Lexus RZ 450e | Photo: Lexus 

All versions of the RZ feature sound-dampening glass, carpet and foam, as well as an active noise cancelling system. These measures help make the passenger cabin a truly serene environment. Another option to consider: the radiant heaters. Placed at the bottom of the front console, these heaters send heat to the front passengers’ lower extremities and do so without draining too much battery range.

2023 Lexus RZ 450e range, power, handling and other driving impressions

With the introduction of the Toyota bZ4X last year, it was inevitable that we would see a Lexus version eventually. But what’s surprising is how different the RZ 450e is from the Toyota. The Lexus features the same 71.4 kWh battery as the base front-wheel drive bZ4X and the same platform with the battery pack set in the floor of the structure. 

Sacrifices some range in exchange for more power

2023 Lexus RZ 450e | Photo: Lexus 

The base bZ4X has 201 horsepower and an expected range of 406 km, while the XLE AWD version has 214 horsepower and a range of 367 km. The RZ is closer in spec to the XLE AWD, but it sacrifices some range in exchange for more power. 

The Lexus features a 150-kW motor at the front and an 80-kW motor at the back; this creates a total system output of 230 kW or 308 horsepower. As a result, the RZ 450e can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in about 5.3 seconds—not lightning-quick, but in the vicinity of the fastest EVs that would be considered direct competitors.

The AWD system can distribute all the torque to the front wheels or the rear wheels, depending on the situation, giving the Lexus a fair amount of capability in adverse driving conditions. The estimated range for the RZ 450e that rides in the standard 8-inch wheels is 354 km; with the optional 20-inch wheels, range slips to 315 km.

Driving impressions

2023 Lexus RZ 450e | Photo: Lexus 

The Lexus RZ 450e is not the fastest EV out there, nor is it the most exciting to drive. But this was never its intention. Instead, the engineers behind the project describe the desire to create an authentic Lexus: capable, solid, reassuring. 

As such, the RZ really does drive like a lot of current Lexus models—not the high-performance ones like the RC F, but the more traditional models like the RZ or the ES. The steering is not the most intuitive and the braking system is less than linear in its response, but no one will ever be racing the RZ, so it’s important to keep things in perspective. 

There are four different drive modes, including a range-extending mode for use at speeds under 100 km/h. At the other end of the sliding scale, the sport mode proved responsive and the AWD and suspension systems did a decent job at carving corners.

Verdict: Is the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e worth the money?

Tough call. If you’re already a Lexus fan, you’ll likely be drawn to the RZ because it has many of the qualities of a traditional Lexus. But in terms of sheer bang-for-the-buck, the RZ is up against some tough competitors that offer more excitement and more range for about the same money.

2023 Lexus RZ 450e | Photo: Mark Hacking 

Other EV SUV alternatives in the used market

If the new RZ isn’t for you, maybe out of your price range, or you’re not lucky enough to live in BC or Quebec where it’s first made available, take a look at all our used electric SUVs and crossovers here (including hybrids and PHEVs). From affordable to more premium offerings, you can shop from the comfort of your home and have it delivered – yes, to your home. It’s really that simple. All backed by a 7 day return policy, full certification, and our no-charge 30 Day / 1,500 km warranty.

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