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Car Review : Lexus RZ 2024

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The Lexus RZ boasts an exceptionally comfortable cabin and smooth ride quality, That’s just what you’d expect from a Lexus EV. However, the RZ’s short range and slow charging times may simply be a nonstarter for some customers.

Pros

Comfortable ride and seats

Large cargo capacity

Attractive and well-built interior

Cons

Short range compared to many other EVs

No one-pedal driving option

Limited storage for personal items

What’s new

Entry-level RZ 300e model debuts

A dual-voltage charge cable is standard

Part of the first Lexus RZ generation introduced for 2023

Overview

Lexus has a deep roster of hybrid vehicles, but the RZ is the only fully electric model in the lineup. It debuted last year and is related to the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra, but with Lexus’ brand of luxury and refinement. In terms of size, it fills the gap between the smaller Lexus NX and larger RX. As is the case with other Lexus vehicles, the RZ favors comfort over performance and comes with a generous list of driver assistance features.

More range from the new RZ 300e version

Lexus has added a new entry-level RZ 300e trim for 2024. It only has one electric motor and front-wheel drive, compared to the RZ 450e, which has two motors and all-wheel drive. There are two advantages to the new 300e. First off, EPA-estimated range on a full charge for the 300e is a maximum of 266 miles. That’s a significant increase from the RZ 450e, which carries on into 2024 with its max 220-mile estimate. The 300e also costs less, though it isn’t as powerful as the 450e.

Competitors to consider

The Tesla Model Y is a very popular choice. It is less expensive and provides more range than the RZ, though it’s not as comfortable. From luxury automakers, you should also check out the Audi Q4 e-tron, Genesis GV60 or GV70, and Volvo XC40 Recharge. Finally, Acura has come out with its first EV, the ZDX. Be sure to check out our Expert Rating below to see where the 2024 Lexus RX leads and where improvements are needed.

Performance 8.0/10

How does the RZ drive? Most noteworthy about the RZ is how much it feels like any other gas-powered Lexus product, something that was done intentionally to better target that customer base. Some EVs offer immediate shove when you hit the accelerator pedal, but the RZ has some built-in lag to feel more relaxed. The same can be said of the brakes, which feel more traditional and provide very little slowdown from regeneration. As a result, there’s no one-pedal driving setting to allow you to fully come to a stop while just lifting off the accelerator.

The RZ does have decent power when you need it. We tested the dual-motor RZ 450e. At the Edmunds test track, it accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, tying the Tesla Model Y Long Range. Around turns, the RZ’s softly tuned suspension means it bobs and moves more than most EVs in this segment. This EV is best enjoyed from stoplight to stoplight, making for a great commuter and not a twisty road companion.

Comfort 9.0/10

How comfortable is the RZ? Comfort is why you buy a Lexus RZ. With phenomenal ride quality and exceptional sound insulation, the RZ is the most comfortable option among its closest rivals. Lexus tuned the suspension to eat up bumps in the road without issue and without a fancy electronically adjustable suspension. Sure, it sacrifices some handling ability but we think the trade is worth it.

The seats are supportive and soft, with luxurious materials and powerful heating and ventilation functions. The climate system’s heating, however, takes way longer than it should to reach temp — cold mornings will necessitate preheating the cabin or donning a large fluffy sweater until the system wakes up. The radiant heating panels in the front row are a neat idea but don’t provide as much warmth as we’d like.

Interior 8.0/10

How’s the interior? What a gorgeous cabin from a company that is sometimes reluctant to take chances with its interior design. Even with a modern look to everything, all of the main functions in the car are easy to find and operate. There are real knobs for the volume and the climate controls, located high so you don’t need to take your eyes off the road to make changes. The shift controller is a bit complicated for no obvious benefit, though once you learn it the first time it’s easy to remember. A few of our staff members found the steering wheel controls a bit confounding, though, and the learning curve will likely be steep for most.

Overall space in both rows is great for passengers big and small. Getting in and out of the RZ is an easy process, though the low roofline might mean some people have to duck to get in. From the driver’s seat, the visibility in all directions is stellar and the seat offers enough adjustability to get comfortable quickly.

Technology 8.0/10

How’s the tech? Lexus is going in the right direction in this department. Every RZ comes with the large 14-inch Lexus Interface touchscreen system that includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. While a home button would make navigating the system easier, the overall responsiveness is appreciated. We also like the superb sound quality from the optional Mark Levinson audio system and that there are enough USB ports for every passenger.

Storage 7.5/10

How’s the storage? The RZ sits between the RX and NX in terms of overall size, though most of its space goes to the passengers. The cargo area can hold 23.8 cubic feet worth of your things, and the rear seats can split in a 40/60 configuration and the sections fold relatively flat. The space is adequate but nowhere near what a Tesla Model Y can provide, and without a frunk to help out, the RZ’s space limitations come into place pretty quickly.

Small-item storage in the cabin is a bigger issue. The door pockets are too small and the RZ does not have a typical glovebox because of the heated panels. Instead, there’s an opening beneath the center console that is barely large enough to hold a small purse. Car seat accommodations are generally hassle-free, though the low roofline might make it a challenge to install a child safety seat.

Range and Efficiency 6.0/10

How are the range and efficiency? We tested the RZ 450e with 20-inch wheels, which has an EPA-estimated range of 196 miles. That’s a very short range for a modern EV. In our real-world Edmunds EV Range Test, we managed 204 miles, which is a marginal improvement but still pretty unimpressive overall. If you’re worried about range, you’ll definitely want to get the RZ 300e.

Charging speed isn’t all that great either. At a fast-charging station, the RZ has peak charging rate of 150 kW. Most rivals can accept more power and charge more quickly. On the plus side, the RZ is fairly efficient. Our test vehicle used 30.7 kWh of energy for every 100 miles miles of driving.

Value 7.0/10

Is the RZ a good value? It’s an uphill battle to justify buying a RZ. Its price is similar to rivals such as the Genesis GV60 and Volvo XC40 Recharge but you’re generally getting less range or performance. The RZ has a standard warranty of four years/50,000 miles for basic coverage and six years/70,000 miles for the powertrain. The battery warranty is generous, with coverage for 10 years/150,000 miles. Lexus offers the first year of free maintenance and four years of roadside assistance. You also get the Lexus Reserve program that allows the use of a gas-powered Lexus for 30 days over three years, which is a helpful solution for those concerned about the limited range of an electric vehicle.

Wildcard 7.5/10

The Lexus RZ looks sporty in a sort of generic Lexus way, but it isn’t really fun to drive. Most of its appeal comes down to its calm driving experience and solid build quality.

Which RZ does recommend?

Deciding between the new RZ 300e and the RZ 450e will likely come down to your range needs as well your potential need for all-wheel drive. After that, we suggest stepping up to the Luxury trim. For a rather reasonable price, you get several items that enhance comfort along with premium audio and additional driver assist features.

Lexus RZ models

The 2024 Lexus RZ is available in two models: the new entry-level RZ 300e and the returning RZ 450e. The RZ 300e comes with a single electric motor (201 horsepower and 196 lb-ft of torque) that drives the front wheels. Lexus estimates it will offer 266 miles of range on a single charge (224 miles with 20-inch wheels). The RZ 450e adds a second motor for all-wheel drive with a combined output of 308 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. The EPA estimates it will achieve 220 miles of range (196 miles with the 20-inch wheels). Both RZ models are offered in Premium and Luxury trim levels. Keep reading for our rundown of the RZ’s most significant standard features and options.

Premium

Comes with all of the features expected of any luxury vehicle, along with:

18-inch alloy wheels

Hands-free power liftgate

Panoramic sunroof

Dual-zone automatic climate control

Synthetic leather upholstery

Driver’s seat memory functions

Heated and ventilated front seats

Heated steering wheel

Interior ambient lighting

14-inch infotainment touchscreen

Cloud-based navigation system

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

10-speaker audio system

Wireless charging pad

Standard advanced driver assist features include:

Forward collision mitigation (warns you of an impending collision and applies the brakes in certain scenarios)

Adaptive cruise control (adjusts speed to maintain a constant distance between the vehicle and the car in front)

Lane trace assistance (makes minor steering corrections to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane)

Blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning (alerts you if a vehicle is in your blind spot during a lane change or while in reverse)

Safe passenger exit assist (can prevent a rear passenger from opening a door into traffic approaching from behind)

Front and rear parking sensors (alert you to obstacles that may not be visible in front of or behind the vehicle when parking)

Rear automatic braking (applies the brakes automatically to avoid an imminent collision with an object behind the vehicle)

Surround-view camera system (gives you a top-down view of the vehicle and its surroundings for tight parking situations)

Traffic sign reader

Automatic high beams

Luxury

The Luxury trim adds to its appeal with a handful of extravagances that include:

20-inch wheels

Sound-reducing windows

Digital key access

Enhanced interior ambient lighting

Synthetic suede seat upholstery

Radiant front knee heating

Heated rear outboard seats

13-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio

The Luxury trim also adds several tech enhancements:

Head-up display (displays important information in your sight line on the windshield)

Traffic Jam Assist (enhanced lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control functionality)

Lane change assistance (guides the vehicle into the next lane when the turn signal is used)

Front cross-traffic warning (warns you if a vehicle is about to cross your path and cause a collision)

Semi-automated parking system (steers into a parking spot with little or no driver intervention)

Many of the Luxury trim’s features are available on the Premium as options. Other add-ons include:

Illuminated front badge

Dynamic Sky sunroof (Luxury trim only; turns from clear to frosted with a push of a button)

Windshield wiper de-icer and headlight washers

Digital rearview mirror (allows you to see out of the back even with a fully loaded cargo area)

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