Kelley Blue Book: What Lexus promises for its first luxury electric SUV, and how it compares in its class

United States
  • First all-electric luxury SUV from Lexus
  • All-wheel drive is standard
  • 225-mile range — others have more
What’s new?
  • The Lexus RZ 450e is a completely new electric SUV making its debut for 2023

The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e luxury SUV is the new electric Lexus, with a range of about 225 miles, plus a standard all-wheel-drive system. We expect the new RZ all-electric luxury SUV to start at around $ 52,000.

Say hello to the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e. It’s the first electric Lexus, and it’s a luxury SUV. Size-wise, it’s somewhere between the compact NX and the midsize RX. Range-wise, Lexus says it can achieve 225 miles on a single full charge.

It’s not coincidental that Toyota’s new bZ4X all-electric SUV also launches this year. These two vehicles are based on the same platform and share more than a few mechanical parts. This Lexus naturally has its own interior and exterior designs, though, while catering to the luxury end of the market.

2023 Lexus RZ pricing

In the absence of official pricing from Lexus, we’re going with an extremely rough guesstimate of $ 52,000 for the 2023 RZ 450e, plus a destination charge. If there’s an F Sport variant, a typical Lexus practice, then add another $ 5,000. We’ll update this when possible.

The 2023 Lexus RZ


A federal tax credit, possibly up to $ 7,500, along with state incentives worth a couple of thousand, could further shave the outlay. Lexus might also offer some complimentary charging using the EVgo network, as Toyota does with its new bZ4X.

For some context, the Audi e-tron is bigger and more expensive — from $ 66K or so. The Tesla TSLA, -2.01% Model Y is a little less pricey and capable of 318 miles. The Volvo VLVLY, -0.72% C40 Recharge is in the high $ 50s. Or the dual-motor Polestar 2 PSNY, +6.69%,  which starts at about $ 50,000 and can achieve a range of 249 miles.

Before buying a new Lexus RZ 450e luxury electric SUV, check the Fair Purchase Price to find out what others in your area paid for theirs. Naturally, talk of resale values is premature, but Lexus vehicles are invariably chart-toppers in this respect.

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Driving the 2023 Lexus RZ

An electric form of all-wheel drive, which Lexus calls Direct4, is standard in the new RZ 450e luxury SUV. A 150-kilowatt/201-horsepower electric motor turns the front wheels, with an 80-kilowatt/107 horsepower counterpart whirring away at the back.

Power can be sent back and forth between the front and rear wheels, usually between 60:40 and 40:60. But cornering prompts a more extreme setup. Steering inputs can result in 75% going to the fronts, or 50:50. At the exit of a corner, it’s the rears that gain 80% for traction and efficient acceleration. The driver doesn’t really feel all this going on. Transitions should be seamless.

Lane Tracing Assist adds minor steering corrections to keep this electric Lexus in the desired lane, even when the freeways curve. The company also says that a steer-by-wire system may make it into the RZ 450e at some point.

Interior comfort

Lexus promises an RZ 450e cabin that’s “pleasing to the touch.” Contributing to that are suede-like seating surfaces. Yet there’s still an eco-friendly angle, with sustainable materials making up 30% of their composition.

A 14-inch touchscreen takes up most of the dashboard, keeping separate controls to a minimum. And you can do a lot through voice commands.

In what has become the norm for new electric vehicles, the battery is in the floor, and there’s no transmission tunnel taking up space. No official figures yet for interior dimensions, though.

Options for this 5-seater cabin include a panoramic roof with a dimming feature, radiant heaters that can warm the front section without placing too much of a burden on the battery, and a yoke-style steering wheel.

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Exterior styling

The new RZ 450e doesn’t need a radiator grille up front because there’s no combustion engine to cool, but Lexus has placed its usual huge spindle shape there anyway.

The 2023 Lexus RZ


The rear end has the Lexus name spelled out in uppercase letters, which looks arguably cooler than the regular company logo, while the ducktail spoiler completes the picture. A 2-tone paint job is available, featuring solid black at the front end, running up to the hood and the roof.

At 189 inches long (15.75 feet), the 2023 RZ 450e is 3.5 inches shorter than the RX and 5.5 inches longer than the compact NX. And with a lower roof than both.

Favorite features

14-inch infotainment touchscreen
Not the biggest display in the luxury electric vehicle game, but a substantial size nevertheless. It enables Lexus to keep the rest of the RZ 450e’s cabin nice and tidy.

Frequency reactive dampers
Deployed for the first time in a Lexus, these are a sophisticated form of shock absorber that provide great handling stability without having to make the typical trade-off where ride quality suffers. They could create enthusiast appeal, a rare quality for a Lexus up until now.

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Standard features

Beyond driver assistance features such as forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control, Lexus hasn’t told us much so far about what else is standard in the 2023 RZ 450e.

We figure that Apple AAPL, +1.30% CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration is also included, along with dual-zone automatic climate control, over-the-air updates, and an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty for the battery.

Factory options

Along with the extras mentioned in the Interior section, the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e will also offer parking assistance with a remote function, plus a head-up display. And we can fairly safely state that there will be a Mark Levinson sound system available.

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Engine and transmission

Two electric motors, one for each axle, generate 308 horsepower. The front motor is capable of 196 lb-ft of torque, the rear can develop 124-lb-ft, making 320 lb-ft in total.

Charging the lithium-ion battery pack might take almost an hour to go from 10% to 80% on a DC fast charger. A 240-volt home setup could add around 12 miles of range per hour. Lexus reckons the new RZ 450e SUV can travel 225 miles from a full battery.

Dual electric motors
308 combined horsepower
320 lb-ft of combined torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
Range: 225 miles (Lexus estimate)

This story originally ran on See KBB’s car review methodology here.