Thursday, July 18, 2024
Reviews2023 Lexus RZ 450e at AJAC EcoRun

2023 Lexus RZ 450e at AJAC EcoRun


  • The 2023 Lexus RZ starts at $59,650 in the United States and from $67,155 in Canada, freight and delivery charges included.

  • Maximum driving range is rated at 220 miles or 354 km on a full charge.

  • The RZ’s combined energy efficiency is 31.5 kWh/100 miles or 19.6 kWh/100 km.


One of the newly introduced EVs in the North American market is the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e, which is the brand’s first fully electric vehicle for the region. It’s positioned as a midsize two-row offering in a substantial lineup of crossovers for the Japanese luxury marque, in which almost every model is available with a hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrain.

This new EV was one of many participating in the 2023 AJAC EcoRun, an annual event that rounds up automotive journalists from across Canada as well as a selection of HEV, PHEV, BEV and FCEV models chosen by their respective manufacturers. The purpose of EcoRun is to promote the benefits of eco-driving and to obtain the best fuel and energy efficiency from these vehicles. This year, the event stretched from Vancouver to Kelowna, with a swing north through Kamloops, split up into 10 drive legs so every got to test a bunch of different models along the way.

A smidge bigger than the compact Lexus NX and smaller than the Lexus RX, the RZ is equipped with two electric motors and a 71.4 kWh battery pack, creating an all-wheel drivetrain and producing a combined 308 horsepower. The 0-to-60 mph (0-96 km/h) dash is said to take 5.0 seconds flat, while top speed is electronically limited to 99 mph or 160 km/h. The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e’s driving range on a full charge is set at 354 kilometres or 220 miles when equipped with 18-inch wheels, and 315 km or 196 miles while wearing 20-inch wheels.

2023 Lexus RZ 450e

Max speed on a DC fast charger is 150 kW, meaning charging the battery from 0% to 80% takes about 30 minutes. On a 240-volt charger, it takes about 9.5 hours to fully charge the battery pack. As for energy efficiency, the city/highway/combined ratings are 29.1/34.4/31.5 kWh/100 miles or 18.1/21.4/19.6 kWh/100 km with the 18-inch wheels, and 32.7/38.8/36.0 kWh/100 miles or 20.3/24.1/22.4 kWh/100 km with the available 20-inch wheels.

Two trim levels are available, Premium and Luxury in the U.S. as well as Signature and Executive in Canada. During the EcoRun, I drove the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e Signature variant which boats the greater range of the two, but when I got behind the wheel, the battery was at about 50% charge, and I had 120 km to cover during my leg. The RZ’s on-board computer indicated 140 km of remaining range with the climate control system turned off, and 120 with it turned on. “Don’t worry, it’s all downhill from here to the next stop,” said one of my colleagues.

It wasn’t all downhill.

Driving with a crack open on all four windows and the A/C shut off, I headed out. I’m generally unaffected by range anxiety, but at some point along the way, the Lexus’ range-o-meter indicated less than the distance remaining on the navigation system, and I started thinking about a plan B in case I wouldn’t make it to our next destination where the vehicle would get charged for the next journalist. The problem is that that particular stretch of highway heading to Kamloops had very few exits and likely no available charging stations, at least that’s what I figured.

Driving at a slower speed is obviously more efficient, but on the highway, I didn’t feel particularly safe puttering well below the posted limit. I was content at feathering the throttle, coasting on declines and keeping a steady foot on the pedal on inclines even though I was slowing down, but expecting to return to a decent clip once the road flattened out.

Two things helped me arrive at my destination—a highway construction zone with a substantially reduced speed limit, and the much-awaited downhill stretch of highway leading to my exit. I arrived with about 20 km of range left after all.

Bottom line is that the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e’s range isn’t as high those of many rivals, but is still plenty depending on our daily commute and what type of roads we must cover during that time. Planning ahead is always a good idea, determining where to find charging stations along the route, and there are several apps available to help us out as well, including Lexus’ own smartphone app.

2023 Lexus RZ 450e

As for energy efficiency, I managed an average of 24.6 kWh/100 miles or 15.3 kWh/100 km during my leg, below the overall average of 28 kWh/100 miles or 17.4 kWh/100 km adding up all ten drive portions of the event. Most of my colleagues managed between 23.3 and 26.9 kWh/100 miles or 14.5 and 16.7 kWh/100 km.

Average (kWh/100 miles)Average (kWh/100 km)Range Projection (miles)Range Projection (km)
Best average16.910.5422680
My average24.615.3290467
Worst average44.427.6161259

 

Electric powertrain aside, the RZ is just like every Lexus, serving up an elegantly designed cabin with first-rate craftsmanship, comfortable seats and a quiet driving experience. It’s also versatile with a cargo area that boasts a competitive volume of 23.7 cubic feet or 672 litres with the rear seatbacks in place, and up to 55.6 cubic feet or 1,574 litres with the seatbacks folded down.

2023 Lexus RZ 450e

Pricing ranges from $59,650 to $67,300 in the United States and from $67,155 to $84,410 in Canada, freight and delivery charges included. These prices exclude any EV tax credits or rebates available in select regions of both countries.

On the same subject:
2023 AJAC EcoRun: Going The Extra Mile
2023 Genesis Electrified GV70 at the AJAC EcoRun
2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid at the AJAC EcoRun
2023 Jeep Wrangler 4xe at the AJAC EcoRun
2023 Kia Niro PHEV at the AJAC EcoRun
2023 Lexus RX 500h F SPORT at the AJAC EcoRun
2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE Sedan at the AJAC EcoRun
2023 Range Rover PHEV at the AJAC EcoRun
2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid at the AJAC EcoRun
2023 Toyota Mirai at the AJAC EcoRun

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