Our review of the Lexus RZ
An electric vehicle as only Lexus could imagine, our team jumped at the chance to get behind the wheel of the all-new Lexus RZ and put it through its paces, traversing from the urban Lexus of Christchurch showroom to the winding, rougher roads of Gebbies Pass – and we didn’t hold back. Keep reading for our thoughts on Lexus’ first dedicated battery electric vehicle.
Lexus RZ pricing and specifications
- Available in two variants (RZ 450e Core and RZ 450e Dynamic), please contact our team for pricing.
- A first for Lexus, the RZ is their first pure battery electric vehicle and is built on a dedicated all-electric platform
- Our Lexus RZ demonstrator has arrived at the Lexus of Christchurch and is available for test drives now
- Make an enquiry with our team for more information, or keep reading for our review of the Lexus RZ 450e Dynamic
An electric vehicle as only Lexus could imagine
On a typical Christchurch autumn day myself, (Marketing Specialist) and Ash, (Assistant Marketing Manager) picked up the all-new Lexus RZ 450e from the Lexus of Christchurch showroom and headed out to capture some content and experience the RZ.
Being in the privileged position of working for over 15 vehicle brands it’s fair to say we get the opportunity to experience a large number of vehicles, with a good percentage of them being EVs. In saying that, we know what we like, dislike, and have been exposed to the majority of modern features these vehicles have. Therefore you can imagine our surprise when Aaron (Lexus of Christchurch General Manager) talked us through some model highlights that the Lexus RZ flaunts… a Dynamic Sky Panorama Roof, tactile steering wheel buttons that are precisely synced with the Heads-Up Display, and heated leg warmers (in lieu of a glovebox, more on that later) got us genuinely excited.
Your world as you command
When you step inside the new Lexus RZ you’ll experience an interior that isn’t just second-to-none, it’s second nature.
Lexus RZ Panorama Roof
We first had a play with the Dynamic Sky Panorama Roof. Larger than your traditional sunroof, the Lexus’ Panorama Roof elevates the entire cabin experience, flooding it with natural light. What’s more, with Dynamic Sky Functionality, this glass roof boasts the ability to go from transparent to opaque at the touch of a button. Perfect for those sunny days when you want to block out UV rays, or starry nights when you want the cabin open.
Human-centred design and technology of the Lexus RZ
It’s clear that the Lexus RZ’s design advances the human-centered philosophy of Lexus. Inspired by the Tazuna reins used by traditional Japanese equestrians, we loved that the steering wheel featured tactile switches that precisely synced up with the Heads-Up Display, allowing us to control nearly everything from the touch of a button or two. We found it seamless to change radio stations, lock in a cruise control speed, or change our drive mode, all whilst driving and not taking our eyes off the road.
That’s not to say that Lexus has skimped on the infotainment system – quite the contrary. A large touch screen integrates into the driver-centric dashboard of the Lexus RZ, which we found easy to navigate. What didn’t go amiss was Lexus’ use of tactile buttons, dials, and switches. It struck the perfect balance of being futuristic, without alienating vehicle enthusiasts. Simply said, we felt it wasn’t too much of an electric vehicle, retaining all the traditional characteristics of Lexus vehicles that have been perfected in their traditional ICE models.
A nice touch is the ‘Hey Lexus’ feature. A simple “Hey Lexus, change the radio station to 94.5” and you’ll be tuned into a new radio station. Cold? “Hey Lexus, turn up the heating to 24” and gone are the chills. Particularly useful if you’re a passenger, without access to the simplistic tactile buttons of the steering wheel and Heads-Up Display.
The RZ’s Radiant Knee Heater
In lieu of a glovebox, Lexus have opted for a radiant front knee heater, which we found heated up quickly and would be a godsend for any passenger on a particularly cold Christchurch morning. You don’t lose any storage capacity, as the Lexus RZ flaunts an almost hidden cubby underneath the gearshift and cup holders.
Design and connectivity
On the subject of storage, the RZ has a decent-sized centre console, which can be opened both ways by the driver and passenger – a nice touch. USBC and QI wireless charging allow you to stay connected.
Couple this with all the luxury Lexus finishing touches you’d expect and this is a vehicle that looks like the future, yet feels like a Lexus. Lush floor mats, heated and ventilated front seats, and Ultrasuede trim alongside the seats and door panels provide a distinguished, premium look.
As someone who traditionally favours a hot hatch and is perfectly comfortable swinging their (Internal Combustion Engine) ICE hatchback around corners, the Lexus RZ is a huge step up in terms of performance, but also size. I found that the panoramic view monitor with four high-resolution cameras (displayed on a large screen) simply fantastic. Providing a bird’s eye view of the RZ, they work alongside Moving View and See-Through View to create a composite image of the vehicle’s surroundings, while on-screen guides helped me with parking and tight manoeuvres. On the subject of parking, the Lexus RZ also boasts Advanced Park, although admittedly we didn’t test that feature. Whether that was because we quite frankly didn’t feel the need to or we just ran out of time, we’ll leave that up to you.
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Driving the Lexus RZ
Given how much we enjoyed just sitting in the Lexus, we had high hopes for how it would actually drive. Straight off the bat, we both remarked at just how smooth the vehicle is. You wouldn’t be mistaken for thinking you were driving on the motorway, not bumpy Christchurch roads. Standard across the Lexus RZ range is Direct4 AWD, an all-wheel drive system that analyses driving information and promises to ‘enhance acceleration, stability, and power consumption for a truly dynamic drive.’ We found this to be true – this AWD technology, in combination with the steer-by-wire delivers a smooth, stable, responsive, and powerful drive that delivers exhilarating acceleration.
We traversed from town, through to Tai Tapu and up Gebbies Pass – and the Lexus RZ took it all in its stride. Tight turns, steep hills, and bumpy roads weren’t a problem, and we found the vehicle to be a fun, engaging drive. What was nice – and a strong tick for the Lexus RZ – is that it doesn’t feel like you’re actively driving an electric vehicle. It’s fast, responsive, and smooth, whilst still handling like the luxury performance brand always has – with the added benefits of zero emissions and zero trips to the petrol station. Although it is an EV – put your foot on the gas and it just goes. The Lexus RZ is crafted to deliver a human-centric driving experience, which we found rang true in every situation we put it in.
The regenerative braking is fantastic, and our preferred mode of driving. Customisable to how effective you like it, it not only made the RZ an easy drive, it also helped maintain our EV range. As someone whose daily driver isn’t an EV, I’ll be the first to admit that I (looking back now) was needlessly cautious of our range. With a total range of approx 450km WLTP*, we found that using regenerative braking vastly helped retain power to the batteries, and even with the heater and radio going we didn’t diminish the range greatly.
Inside the cabin, we found the road noise to be minimal, typical of Lexus. Outside, Lexus engineers matched sound frequencies to the vehicle’s speed during acceleration to ensure the sounds created conveyed the true exhilaration of driving, a win for those that aren’t wanting to fully compromise their traditional ICE experience.
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An evolved safety system
Lexus RZ owners benefit from an active, comprehensive safety system. We quickly realized this when we took our eyes off the road (admittedly to admire our own reflection), and Proactive Driver Assist kicked in, gently reminding us where we needed to divert our attention. This, along with Pre-Collision Safety, Lane Departure Alert, Advanced Drive, and Advanced Park provide total peace of mind.
Turns heads and corners
The Lexus RZ is a striking vehicle. A vision of things to come, the new RZ 450e flaunts an exterior that establishes a new design direction for Lexus’ future electrified offerings. A key feature is the Spindle Body (replacing the spindle grille) which focuses on aerodynamic efficiencies, optimised proportions, and style. Meanwhile, sleek, sharp lines accentuate the RZ’s dynamic silhouette, expressing the vehicle’s athletic personality.
Available in six unique colours, the Lexus RZ is also available in two metallic textures (Aether Metallic and Sonic Copper). A modern-looking bi-tone livery is also available.
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Our final thoughts
We found the Lexus RZ is a vehicle that delivers a premium, engaging, and luxury driving experience – whether passenger or driver. Lexus hybrid and electric technology has paved the way for global automotive transition to sustainability and it shows with the new RZ. It’s human-centric design approach, along side Lexus’ continuous attention to refined design, luxury, and craftsmanship makes this is a vehicle that must be experienced.
Discover the Lexus RZ
Find out more about the Lexus RZ
*WLTP is the new official EU test used to calculate standardised fuel consumption and CO₂ figures for passenger cars. It measures fuel, energy consumption, range and emissions. This is designed to provide figures closer to real-world driving behaviour. It tests vehicles with optional equipment and with a more demanding test procedure and driving profile. Figures are shown as a range under WLTP testing measures. The most economical figures refer to the most efficient/lightest set of options. A vehicle’s actual fuel consumption may differ from that achieved in such tests and these figures are for comparative purposes only.