Lexus RZ: The Company Goes All Electric With Its New SUV

2023 Lexus RZ 450e Battery Electric SUV

Lexus RZ: The Company Goes All Electric With Its New SUV

Right in Toyota’s backyard in the Land of the Rising Sun, we got a glimpse at Lexus’ first battery-electric SUV. 

2023 Lexus RZ 450e Battery Electric SUV

The Lexus RZ , the first all-electric SUV from Toyota’s luxury subdivision, was parked  mysteriously front and center at the Osaka EV car show. I was immediately struck by its design, and so was much of the crowd. Of course, that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given Toyota’s dominance in its home market of Japan. People were curious about it.


The SUV is just one part of a portfolio of products from Lexus, including hybrid (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV). According to the company, the various electrified options allow them to exceed the needs and expectations of a more diverse set of luxury buyers.


The Lexus RZ – What is it?


Based on the Toyota bZ4X SUV, the Lexus RZ shares many of the same powertrain and battery components. It utilizes Toyota’s electric e-TNGA platform, which was co-developed with Subaru. In addition to the bz4X, Subaru’s forthcoming Solterra also uses the platform. The RZ, however, is a purpose-built midsize EV SUV with a Lexus-tuned chassis.


The RZ is similar in size to the Lexus RX.  Our impression was that it seemed larger than the RX in terms of length. Perhaps it’s because of its 2.4 inch longer wheel base and 3.3 inch shorter height at 64.4 inches. The RZ is undoubtedly sleeker and edgier than the RX with its sharp creases along the hood, sides and shoulders of the car. 


The RZ sports Lexus’ signature spindle grille treatment, albeit closed off since EVs don’t require engine cooling that ICE vehicles do. The grille works on the RZ in terms of design and in distinguishing itself as an EV among the countless lookalike SUVs currently on the market. But, the styling doesn’t go so far that Lexus might risk alienating it existing customers. 


Lexus RZ Features


Lexus driving characteristics have been adapted for its electrified platform using DIRECT4, a new all-wheel drive system that supports predictable performance according to the driver’s intentions


The RZ features a Steer-by-Wire system that dynamically adapts to enhance driving performance. Modeled after Tesla, the RZ offers a yoke steering wheel by default  – though it won’t be available in the US for the 2023 model. Buyers, however, have the ability to opt out of the steering yoke for a conventional steering wheel.


What kind of connectivity and tech does the RZ have?


A large 14.0-inch infotainment touchscreen is the centerpiece of the RZ’s dashboard. It is similar to the screen found in the NX (ICE) SUV. Lexus says the driver can interact with the system via touch screen and also by using voice commands. A digital gauge display and a heads-up display are also included. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are expected to be standard.


What about the Lexus RZ’s battery?


The Lexus RZ uses a 71.4 kW lithium-ion battery. It is located underneath the cabin and is integrated into the platform. Its position also contributes to the car’s low center of gravity.


Lexus expects the RZ’s battery to retain more than 90% of its capacity within a 10-year ownership timeframe, thanks to battery cell quality and battery management technologies.


What is the range of the Lexus RZ ?


Official range estimates and battery charging times have not been reported by Lexus, but will be announced at a later date. Lexus expects, however, that the RZ will be able to cover more than 250 miles in the combined WLTP cycle and a 225 mile EPA rating. The Lexus RZ has a target consumption of less than 18kW per 100km (62 miles) driven.


What about the Lexus RZ  interior and what is it like to drive the Lexus RZ?


Because the RZ is still a prototype, Lexus didn’t open the vehicle for us to preview the interior or a do a test drive. Hopefully we’ll be able to do an interior and driving review of the RZ in the near future. 


How many electric motors does the RZ have?


The RZ’s powertrain is a dual-motor setup, with a motor in the front and rear of the vehicle.The motors are rated to deliver a combined 309 horsepower and 435 Nm of Torque.


When will the Lexus RZ be available?


The 2023 Lexus RZ will be available in November 2022.


Lexus RZ: Technical Specifications

(Unofficial data from Lexus)


Type AC synchronous electric motor/generators 
Max. power (bhp/DIN hp/kW) 309/313/230 
Front motor max. power (bhp/DIN hp/kW) 201/204/150 
Rear motor max. power (bhp/DIN hp/kW) 107/109/80 
Torque (Nm) 435 
Battery type Lithium-ion 
Number of cells 96 
Rated voltage (V) 355 
Battery capacity (kWh) 71.4 
Max. speed (mph) 99 
0-62mph acceleration (sec) 5.6 
Energy consumption – WLTP combined cycle (kWh/100km) ˂18 (target) 
Range – WLTP combined cycle (miles) ˃250 
Overall length (mm) 4,805 
Overall width (mm) 1,895 
Overall height (mm) 1,635 
Wheelbase (mm) 2,850 
Towing capacity – unbraked (kg) 750 


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