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Lexus RZ 450e Review

The Lexus RZ 450e SUV is the brand’s first electric car to be built on a bespoke EV platform and the result is a vehicle that’s refined and good to drive.

  • Lexus RZ 450e
  • Lexus RZ 450e
  • Lexus RZ 450e
  • Lexus RZ 450e
  • Lexus RZ 450e
  • Lexus RZ 450e
  • Lexus RZ 450e
  • Lexus RZ 450e
  • Lexus RZ 450e
  • Lexus RZ 450e
  • Lexus RZ 450e
  • Lexus RZ 450e
Green Car Guide Rating: 8/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:   Lexus RZ 450e Takumi
  • Fuel:   Electric
  • Electric driving range (WLTP): 252 – 272 miles
  • Maximum rapid charging rate:   150 kW

Summary

  • First Lexus built on dedicated EV platform
  • Refined and good to drive
  • All-wheel drive
  • Expensive, and real-world range could be better

Background

Lexus and Toyota have been leaders in hybrid powertrains over many years, but neither brand has thrown itself into the development of battery electric cars. However we’ve now had the RZ 450e SUV – the first model from Lexus to be built on a bespoke electric vehicle platform, which is shared with the Toyota bZ4X and the Subaru Solterra. So should the Lexus RZ 450e be on your electric car shortlist?

Lexus RZ 450eLexus RZ 450e

Design & Engineering

Because the Lexus RZ 450e shares a platform with the Toyota bZ4X this means that there are a number of similarities between the two cars, one key item being the lithium-ion battery, which is 71.4 kWh in both models. The bZ4X is available with all-wheel drive, which is standard on the RZ 450e – although Lexus calls its system Direct4 all-wheel drive, with electronic torque control and ‘e-Axles’.

Perhaps the main area where there’s a difference between the two cars is the cabin. The bZ4X has a functional interior, but the overall impression is a feeling of black plastic. In comparison, the RZ 450e features more of a premium appearance.

The RZ 450e measures 4,805mm in length, which is 115mm longer than the 4,690mm bZ4X. The RZ 450e also sits between the Lexus NX and RX models in terms of size: the mid-size Lexus NX is 4,660mm long, and the large RX is 4,890mm long.

The RZ 450e has a 522-litre boot, with an extra 58 litres under the boot floor, and there’s 1,451 litres of space with the rear seats folded down. One interesting feature is the parcel shelf that sits over the boot, which you can fold in half and store under the boot floor – we’re surprised that other manufacturers don’t copy this idea.

The RZ 450e in top of the range Takumi spec also has a clever dimmable panoramic roof – you can press a button to switch the glass from being clear to opaque.

The exterior design of the RZ 450e looks modern and stylish from the side and the rear, but we’re not too sure about the treatment of the grille area at the front.

Lexus RZ 450eLexus RZ 450e

Lexus RZ 450e Driving Experience

The Toyota bZ4X is one of the more fun EVs to drive, so because it shares the same platform, it’s fair to expect the Lexus RZ 450e to offer a similar driving experience. And it does – but the RZ 450e dials down the fun and replaces it with a more refined experience. One key difference is that in the bZ4X you look over a small steering wheel to see the instrument display, whereas in the Lexus it’s a more traditional layout where you look at the display through the larger steering wheel (which, by the way, has a very nice smooth tactile quality).

The Lexus also has more power, 309 bhp compared to the Toyota’s 215 bhp, and it’s a similar story for torque – 435 Nm v 337 Nm for the Toyota. This results in the Lexus having more performance – 0-62 mph in 5.3 seconds v 6.9 seconds.

All-wheel drive ensures lots of grip, and the ride quality is good. You can adjust the level of brake regeneration using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, and there’s a choice of drive modes – Normal, Eco, Sport and Range – although these can’t be selected on the dashboard, this has to be done via the 14-inch touchscreen.

There’s quite a lot of beeping in the RZ 450e, and every time you start the car you have to tick boxes on the touchscreen to be able to use it.

To switch off the lane departure warning system you have to press the ‘Vehicle’ button on the touchscreen and then ‘Drive Assist’ and then the ‘Lane Departure Alert System’.

Lexus RZ 450eLexus RZ 450e

Lexus RZ 450e Electric Range and Charging

The Lexus RZ 450e has a WLTP combined cycle driving range of 252 miles on models with 20-inch wheels (as tested). This increases to 272 miles for models with 18-inch wheels. In real-world driving the RZ 450e averaged 173 miles with the heating on; this increased to 216 miles with the heating off.

The RZ 450e has a maximum rapid charging rate of 150 kW, which should enable a 0% to 80% charge in 30 minutes. A full charge should take 10 hours on a single-phase 7kW AC charger, or 6.5 hours using a three-phase 11kW AC workplace charger.

Lexus claims that the battery of the RZ 450e is expected to retain at least 90 per cent of its capacity after 10 years of driving.

How to charge an electric car

Lexus RZ 450eLexus RZ 450e

Price And Model Range

The Lexus RZ 450e is available in three versions – Premium Pack (£64,500), Premium Plus Pack (£68,500) and Takumi (£74,000). Two wheel sizes are also available, 18-inch and 20-inch.

Lexus RZ 450eLexus RZ 450e

Conclusion

The Lexus RZ 450e is good to drive, featuring some of the fun of the Toyota bZ4X, but adding refinement, and the dashboard has a more premium feel. Performance is impressive, and the ride quality is comfortable. Less impressive is the real-world range, which was 173 miles with the heating on, or 216 miles with the heating off. The Toyota bZ4X averaged 189 miles with the heating on. And then there’s the price. The bZ4X costs from £55,710 for the all-wheel drive model; the Lexus RZ 450e starts from £64,500, and rises to £74,000 for the Takumi model as tested. This makes it expensive. The Lexus RZ 450e gains a Green Car Guide rating of 8 out of 10.

Car facts and figures Lexus RZ 450e Review

  • Test electric driving range: 173 miles (with heating on)
  • Consumption (WLTP): 3.3 miles per kWh (20-inch wheels) / 3.7 miles per kWh (18-inch wheels) (16.8 kWh / 18.7 kWh per 100km)
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):   £0
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2023/24): 2%
  • Price:   £74,000
  • Insurance group:   TBC
  • Power:   309 bhp total (201 bhp front, 108 bhp rear)
  • Torque:   435 Nm total (266 Nm front, 168 Nm rear)
  • Max speed:   99 mph
  • 0-62 mph:   5.3 seconds
  • Weight:   2,055 – 2,115 kg
  • Towing capacity: 750 kg
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor