Search CarGuide.PH

January 2, 2024

Review: 2024 Lexus RZ 450e

Lexus may have been the pioneer when it comes to electrified vehicles, but they sure bided their time in coming up with a bespoke battery electric vehicle. However, faced with tightening emissions standards and a view of luxury centering around sustainability, it’s something they can no longer ignore. And with a promise to shift to 100 percent electric by 2035, Lexus needs to put a standard down—a measure by which they (and others) could see where the brand’s headed. This is the primary mission bestowed on the Lexus RZ 450e and one it’s managed to both accomplish and fail at.

Cutting to the chase, the RZ 450e’s biggest fault is that it’s not able to backup all of its promise. The looks may be exciting, but the driving experience doesn’t quite match it.

With a two-motor setup (enough for a combined 313 horsepower and 435 Nm), the RZ 450e is quick enough in a straight line—5.3 seconds 0 to 100 km/h according to Lexus, beating out its chief rivals, the BMW iX3 and Audi Q8 e-Tron SUV. But with two tons of mass to overcome, subjectively, the experience isn’t neck-snapping; it’s more tuned for quick, effortless progress. And because feeling excessive g-forces isn’t something you’d come to expect in a luxury SUV, that’s alright in this case.

The issue with the RZ 450e is how the handling borders on the anonymous. Of late, Lexus put a lot of emphasis on its so-called Lexus Driving Signature, but no matter how deep you dig, it doesn’t materialize on this occasion. Don’t get it wrong—it’s quite competent, but at the same time, it gnaws at you that it’s not Lexus’ best.

Moderate speed driving is probably the only place where the RZ 450e shines. Anywhere below 100 km/h, it offers a sense of connection and the steering’s reasonably weighted and precise. However, at higher speeds, this connection is lost; it’s floaty even. Plus, all its handling tech, like the brake-based torque vectoring system, can’t mask the mass. Once you up your pace, it loses some of its composure. There’s much more lean through corners and as a result, it doesn’t feel very well tied down when tackling crests and troughs continuously.

Regardless, refinement remains a high point for the RZ 450e. Whether cruising on the expressway or puttering around on Manila’s pockmark-littered roads, it soaking up everything. The standard 20-inch wheels do mean larger potholes make their way into the cabin, but everything is quelled up nicely. And as with many EVs, the drive’s quiet with just a little wind and road noise at high speed. The brakes and its Active Hydraulic Booster-G—which blends both electronic and traditional braking (for maximum regeneration)—also gives a commendable feel.

Another problem on the RZ 450e is how it can’t seem to match its as-advertised 470-kilometer range. Its 71.4-kWh (64 kWh usable) battery is already on the small side and couple that with an efficiency figure of just 4.4 km per kWh, it doesn’t even reach 300 kilometers before require a charge. The Jaguar I-Pace musters the same sort of efficiency, but it counters that with a larger battery pack. Meanwhile, the BMW iX3 offers both—better efficiency and a larger battery size compared to the Lexus.

These shortcomings aside, the rest of the RZ 450e package lives up to the Lexus billing. In terms of exterior measurements, it comfortably sits between the Lexus NX and the Lexus RX. The styling is recognizably Lexus, even if it’s a bit more subtle than its showroom mates. This is down to the absence of the spindle grille which, in this case, has been blanked out in favor of small air inlets and active grille shutters at the bottom. A two-tone treatment is an available option and this blacks out the spindle part of the front end as well as the hood and roof. Personally, it defeats the purpose of such a clean looking design, but for those who can’t stand the blank grille, at least Lexus is offering the option.

Thanks to its bespoke e-TNGA platform, the interior is on the large side of Lexus SUVs (roomier than the Lexus RX even). There’s welcoming space for five adults, with the rear boasting plenty of knee room thanks to a flat floor. The driver, meanwhile, enjoys an immensely comfortable driving position thanks to plenty of adjustments to the steering wheel and seats.

Storage-wise, there’s a small tray below the gigantic infotainment screen for phones, along with a cubby under the center armrest which flips in different directions depending which button is pressed, and a couple of cupholders between driver and passenger. The door bins are small, though, and, unusually, it doesn’t have a glovebox. Meanwhile, the cargo room itself is huge and the load bay is broad, but most of the space is occupied by the temporary-type spare tire. This limits the number of golf clubs or Rimowa luggage the RZ 450e can carry. Remove it though and the hold’s enough for 522 liters of space, growing to 1,451 liters with the rear seats folded. There’s even a 58-liter underfloor storage for tools, charging cables, and the like.

With an emphasis on minimalism, the RZ 450e puts a spotlight on Lexus’s build quality. Thankfully, it lives up to expectations (and then some) with its impressive fit and finish and use of upscale materials. In keeping with the “green” theme, the seats aren’t upholstered in leather nor are they available as an option. Instead, they’re covered in grippy Ultrasuede. From there, luxury takes on a tech approach with the driver getting an 8-inch screen, a rotary shifter, a glass roof that turns opaque at the touch of a button, and at the center, a 14-inch touchscreen outfitted with Lexus’s latest software. Operation is fine, but because detailed settings including the drive mode selector is buried in menus, the learning curve is steep. Thankfully, there’s a smattering of buttons and knobs for basic controls to reduce on-road distractions.

As their first foray into making battery electric vehicles, the RZ 450e manages to imbue itself with some well-known Lexus traits. It’s compelling in many ways—it’s spacious, solidly built, well loaded, and premium feeling inside and out. Unfortunately for it, it falls short in two aspects; two aspects that show just how high a mountain Lexus needs to climb to succeed in the EV game: range and dynamics. Now, range per se isn’t a big issue given that its intended market would already have more than one Lexus in their garage; they’ll probably use the RZ 450e more for errands and short trips. That leaves the question on dynamics which falls short of expectations. As it stands, it drives too much like a generic EV SUV and for something priced at P 4,828,000, it’s a tough sell. It’s a passable first effort, but Lexus will have to try harder if they want to replicate success in the next stage of electrification.

2024 Lexus RZ 450e

click here for latest prices

Bottom Line
Pros Spacious, well-built, premium feeling inside and out, refined.
Cons Poor range, driving performance isn't Lexus's best.
TL;DR A commendable first BEV effort from Lexus, but it also shows how tall a mountain they have to climb.
Year Introduced 2023
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
8 years (for high-voltage battery)
The Basics
Body Type Mid-sized SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Motor Type Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
Maximum Output (BHP) 313 (204 front, 108 rear)
Maximum Torque (Nm) 435
Battery Size (kWh) 71.4 (64 kWh usable)
Architecture (V) 400
Range, WLTP (km) 470
Range, As Tested (km) 281.6
Energy Consumption (km/kWh) 4.4 (average 11 km/h)
Estimated Charging Time, 1-Phase AC (0-100%) 10 hours
Estimated Charging Time, DC (10-80%) 0.5 hours
Charge Port Type 2 / CCS
Transmission Single Speed AT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,805
Width (mm) 1,895
Height (mm) 1,635
Wheelbase (mm) 2,850
Curb Weight (kg) 2,125
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Parking Brake Electronic, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Dunlop SP Sport Maxx XX 060
235/50 R 20 V (f),
255/45 R 20 W (r)
Recommend Tire Pressure (PSI) 38 front, 35 rear
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 10
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Advanced Driver Assist System Pre-Collision System
Lane Tracing Assist
Lane Departure Alert
Other Safety Features Blind Spot Monitor System
Safe Exit Assist
Tire Pressure Monitoring
Full Park Assist
Exterior Features
Headlights LED, Adaptive, w/ Auto High Beam
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear (LED)
Light Operation Auto
Wiper Operation Rain-Sensing
Tailgate Power, w/ Hands-Free
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic, Electric
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-way, Heated & Ventilated, w/ Memory
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 8-way, Heated & Ventilated, w/ Memory
Seating Surface Ultrasuede
2nd Row 60/40 Split-Fold, Reclining, w/ Arm Rest
3rd Row None
Sunroof Yes
Multi-Information Display / Size Yes, 8-inch
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold, Auto-dimming (Driver)
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control 4 Zone, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
USB Type C
Wireless Charger None
Infotainment Display / Size 14-inch
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay (Wireless)
Android Auto
# of Speakers 10, Mark Levinson
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Lexus just brought this out to shut up the critics. They can definitely do better, perhaps starting in 2026.

  2. That spare tire is really a deal breaker. Tsk tsk


Feel free to comment or share your views. Comments that are derogatory and/or spam will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to moderate and/or remove comments.