Lexus RZ review

Lexus RZ review

Luxury brand Lexus is a little late to the party with its first purpose-built electric vehicle. So, the question is – has the RZ been worth the wait?

Lexus is no stranger to electrification. After all, Toyota’s premium sister brand launched its first hybrid, the RX 400h, way back in 2005.

However, it’s taken until now for Lexus to introduce its debut pure electric car designed from the ground up – the RZ 450e – which sits between the mid-size NX and larger RX SUV models.

The RZ’s many EV rivals include the Audi Q4 e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQA, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Kia EV6, Genesis GV60, Polestar 2 and Jaguar I-Pace.

Lexus RZ review

Before I begin, let’s deal with the elephant in the room, because the RZ has been co-developed with the very similar Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra EVs.

In fact, the RZ 400h is being manufactured alongside its cousins in the same plant at Motomachi, Japan, and they all share the same e-TNGA platform.

It may bear more than a passing resemblance to the Toyota and Subaru, but the RZ differs in some key areas.

The exterior has some uniquely Lexus touches. Its sharper front end features the signature spindle grille (now sealed), while its derriere features a light bar running across the width of the car and softer lines than the BZ’s rump.

Lexus RZ review

Naturally, there’s also a more opulent, driver-focused interior with leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and Lexus’s latest (and much improved) 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system, plus an optional double panoramic roof (which is dimmable and has a coating to reduce the heat it lets into the car) and 20-inch wheels.

So-called “radiant” heaters mounted at knee-level in front of the driver and passenger are another option. Unlike convection heating, they use infrared radiation to heat solid objects directly in front of them and Lexus claims they use around 8% less energy.

The RZ 450e has an all-wheel-drive layout as standard. Named Direct4, it features two electric motors mounted on each axle, and though it has the same 71.4kWh battery ((of which 64kWh is usable) used by its cousins, the front motor has been upgraded to deliver 201bhp while the rear remains unchanged at 107bhp, producing a combined 308bhp with a maximum torque of 321 lb-ft.

It’s swift, with a 0-62mph sprint time of 5.3 seconds, while driving range varies from around 245 miles (20-inch wheels) to 270 miles (18-inch).

Lexus RZ review

The RZ has a maximum 150kWh charging capability, meaning a boost from 10-80% can take as little as 30 minutes when connected to a fast public charger. Naturally, it will also charge overnight using a 7kW wallbox.

Sounds good, but some rivals have ranges of around 300 miles, while the Kia EV6 and Genesis GV60 have a maximum charging capacity of up to 350kWh – that’s 10-80% in just 18 minutes.

On a more positive note, Lexus loves innovation and the RZ is a classic case. From 2024 there will be an option to ditch the traditional steering wheel and choose a butterfly-shaped ‘yoke’ instead.

Looking like something out of Top Gun, it also utilises Lexus’s new One Motion Grip steer-by-wire system. That means it has no mechanical link and no steering column between the steering wheel and driving wheels.

Lexus RZ review

The system requires just 150 degrees of steering wheel rotation between straight ahead and full lock, eliminating the need for any hand-over-hand movements, and allows a better view of the instrument binnacle ahead. However, you also have to keep your hands at the quarter to three position.

I tried the ‘yoke’ version, as well as a regular wheel with a conventional electric power steering rack.

Given a few weeks to adapt, I think the quirks of the new steering wheel would become second nature. For instance, at low speeds, little movement is required for a lot of steering to the front wheels, making it easier to manoeuvre.

Higher speeds require more movement to apply less steering to the wheels for better stability. In practice, that change in ratio meant that my cornering wasn’t as smooth at higher speeds because the steering is so sharp and fast.

Lexus RZ review

Frankly, I felt much more confident driving the RZ with a traditional steering wheel, though the yoke and steer-by-wire are not just a gimmick and many drivers will prefer the system.

My only other observation would be that the yoke’s diminutive stature means the stalks for indicators and lights are on the stubby side, while the regenerative braking paddles have been reduced to buttons.

When it’s available from 2024, a test drive in both versions would be highly recommended.

The steering is a talking point, but ultimately the RZ drives like a Lexus, which means it’s luxurious, smooth, refined and supremely comfortable.

Lexus RZ review

Compliant over poorer road surfaces, it felt nothing but composed over our varied test routes. Hustle it in Sport mode and it stays nicely flat in faster corners and there’s no shortage of grip. Given its agility, you’d never know it weighs more than two tonnes. That said, the RZ is best enjoyed wafting along in the default Normal setting.

Unlike many EVs, the RZ’s brakes seemed fairly responsive and I liked the use of paddles behind the steering wheel to adjust the level of regen on the move.

Ultimately, the Lexus RZ ticks Lexus’s three Cs of confidence, control and comfort in all driving situations. Job done.

The cabin is a mixed bag. The design up front means it’s not quite a spacious as some other EVs because the centre console is solid and fixed. Puzzlingly, there’s not even a glovebox on the passenger side.

Lexus RZ review

The good news is there’s plenty of head and legroom for three adults in the back and boot capacity is a healthy 522 litres, or 1,451 litres with the rear seats flipped. Note, there is no ‘frunk’ under the bonnet – the charging cables have to be stored in the boot.

There are three trim levels to choose from (Premium, Premium Plus and range-topping Takumi).

Priced from £62,600-£72,100, the entry-level Premium model comes with a generous amount of standard equipment including LED headlights, eight-way electrically adjustable front seats, a powered bootlid, leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and Lexus’s extensive safety and driver assistance systems.

Move up the grades and other goodies such as a head-up display, 360-degree camera system, radiant heated front seats, a two-tone paint job and a Mark Levinson sound system are offered.

Lexus RZ review

And a special mention for Safe Exit Assist (a Lexus exclusive) which prevents your door opening into the path of vehicles and cyclists approaching from the rear. Great idea.

Finally, if you choose an RZ you’re also buying into Lexus’s reputation for reliability and award-winning customer service.

Like all Lexus cars, it also benefits from an extended manufacturer warranty for up to 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first (as long as you service your car with Lexus).

What’s more, Lexus guarantees the battery will retain at least 70% of its capacity after 10 years. And given its long experience in battery technologies, the company believes the actual capacity at the point should be at least 90%.

Ultimately, the Lexus brand means a lot, which may trump the fact that some RZ rivals offer longer ranges, more power and engagement, plus quicker charging at a lower price.

Verdict: Striking, sumptuous, safe and sensible, the pure electric Lexus RZ 450e is a classy family-sized SUV delivering superb build quality and clever innovations. An impressive debut EV from a top-notch brand.

Lexus UK

Lexus RZ review

Audi RS5 Destroys Lexus IS500 In Drag and Roll Race

Audi RS5Audi RS5 Coupe is a quick car. Audi claims it can hit 60 mph from a dig in 3.7 seconds. It is also a beautiful car. Especially when it is covered in Sonoma Green Metallic paint. Which is almost the same color as money. And money is exactly what you will win if you drag race your RS5 against a Lexus IS500. The IS500 is no slouch. In fact, on paper it has even more power than the Audi. But the Audi makes more torque. They both weigh about the same and they both use an 8-speed automatic transmission. But the Audi is all-wheel-drive, and the Lexus sends all the power to the rear wheels. Does that fully explain the results we see here or is the Audi more powerful than we think?

Sam CarLegion recently posted a video to his YouTube channel. And in this video has races an Audi RS5 Coupe against a Lexus IS500 from both a dig and a roll. The cars may be evenly matched on paper but in the real world the Audi decimates the Lexus in every race. Is it all down to the AWD system in the Audi or is there something else going on here?

Audi RS5

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Venice Film Festival role for Lexus RX

Home / Auto News / Venice Film Festival role for Lexus RX

Gareth Herincx

16 hours ago
Auto News

All-new Lexus RX luxury SUV Official Car of the 79th Venice International Film Festival

The all-new Lexus RX is to take a starring role at the 79th Venice International Film Festival – La Biennale di Venezia.

The luxury brand is returning as sponsor for a sixth consecutive year, and the RX SUV will be the official car at the prestigious event.

Due for launch towards the end of this year, the all-new RX will be Lexus’ first performance-focused hybrid – the turbocharged RX 500h with DIRECT4 all-wheel drive force control. 

It will feature alongside the first plug-in hybrid electric RX, the RX 450h and the new RX 350h premium hybrid electric model.

As the official car of the festival, the RX will be used to chauffeur festival VIP guests, celebrities and officials to and from red carpet events, supported by other models from the Lexus  range, including the all-electric UX 300e crossover. 

In keeping with the glamour of the event, the Lexus fleet will also feature the LC Convertible – the multi-award-winning flagship model.


Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who’s worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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10 alternative EV charging locations off the motorway

Lexus UX 300e charging

It’s the Great British Holiday season and millions of us will be taking to the roads for staycations and days out.

Motorway service stations are an obvious choice for drivers of electric vehicles looking for places to recharge on their journey, but car maker Lexus has researched some interesting alternative locations.

The EV charging locations suggested by Lexus are all a few miles from a motorway junction and offer more than a place to plug-in your car – providing a view, an activity, or a cafe, for a stop that is an enjoyable experience, rather than a necessary chore.


Strawberry Fields Farm Shop, Lifton, near Launceston, four minutes from the A30 exit signposted Tavistock/B3362/A384

Anyone who has driven to Cornwall is likely to have encountered the A30, running through the heart of Devon and Cornwall, all the way to Land’s End.

Strawberry Fields is a family-run, award-winning Devon farm shop and restaurant, which includes a butchery selling home-produced meat, an artisan bakery, a jam room, and a well-stocked deli. During the summer months the popular ‘Pick Your Own’ strawberry fields are open.

This popular stop-off has two electric charge points.

Strawberry Fields Farm Shop


Stockwood Discovery Centre near Luton, one mile from junction 10

Stockwood Discovery Centre features lots of open space for children to let off steam and a range of themed landscapes including an Elizabethan knot garden, a Dig for Victory planting, 17th century Italian and Dutch gardens, and a Victorian garden.  There is also a lovely café, serving sandwiches, cakes and hot drinks, a play area and a shop selling a range of gifts and artisan food products. If you have enough time, go and see the largest carriage collection in Europe, which is also housed here.

The centre is free to enter and is open from 11am to 5pm, Wednesday to Sunday during the summer and 11am to 4pm during the winter.

There are two EV chargers with four connectors in the car park.

Clifton Park Museum, Rotherham, Yorkshire: four miles from junction 33 or 34

For adults, Clifton Park has beautifully landscaped gardens surrounding a grade II listed Georgian house containing a museum, which will provide an interesting diversion while the car is charging.  For those travelling with younger children, you might want to make a day of it, to take full advantage of the fun park, with its crazy golf, miniature funfair, water rides, bumper cars, and arcade games.

Clifton Park Museum is open every day except Monday (check the website for opening times).

There are two 22kW EV chargers with three connectors in the car park.

Wimpole Estate, near Cambridge, eight miles from junction 12

This National Trust-owned estate is an all-year-round place to visit, reflecting the changing seasons, with something to captivate and inspire all visitors, including parkland and the Old Rectory Restaurant, as well as Wimpole Hall house itself. Parking is included within cost of entry to the Estate.

There are six devices with 12 connectors available.

RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey, three miles from junction 10

This is one of the UK’s most visited and best-loved gardens. Wisley was given to the RHS in 1903 and is now a hub of horticultural excellence with some of the largest plant collections in the world. However, if you don’t have much time, you can enter the Wisley garden centre for free, to browse the collection of indoor and outdoor plants, gardening tools, gifts and homewares, or visit the Coffee Shop at the entrance.

There are eight standard 7.2 KWH 32 Amp sockets available for re-charging

Cotton Lake and Wharf pub, one mile from junction 1

Cotton Lake is a small fishing lake which you can wander around, have a picnic, or visit the Wharf pub which has a carvery and bar where customers can enjoy views over the lake. There are two pay-as-you-go rapid charging points, suitable for all electric cars.

National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

National Motor Museum, Beaulieu nine miles from junction 3

The Beaulieu Motoring Museum houses a world-famous collection featuring 285 vehicles. You can see the cars that broke the land speed record, be star struck by Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and re-live some favourite TV moments in the World of Top Gear. There’s also a new adventure play area, Little Beaulieu.

There’s an electric charge point that has 3 devices and 6 connectors.

Tredegar House, National Trust, two miles from Junction 28

Tredegar House is one of the architectural wonders of Wales and one of the most significant late 17th century houses in the British Isles. Situated in 90 acres of beautiful gardens and parkland, this delightful red brick house provides an ideal setting for a stroll. It has a play area (with ice cream kiosk in peak months) and a cafe.

Tredegar offers a ‘pay and display’ car park with a 7.2KW EV charging point with connection mode three.

British Motor Museum Warwick: 1.3 miles from exit 12

The British Motor Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of historic British cars, with more than 400 on display.  It offers free tours and interactive family activities.

There are four charging points at the conference entrance, located at the back of the museum building, and six charging points to the rear of the museum’s visitor car park. Two of these have a 22kW charging socket, the others have 7kW charging sockets. You can charge your electric vehicle using the Shell Recharge app, or ad hoc using a QR code.

Bicester Village, three miles from junction 9

Bicester Village is home to more than 160 outlet boutiques from leading British and international fashion and lifestyle brands, all offering year-round savings on recommended retail prices. You can also dine at various restaurants on outdoor terraces, with menus offering a wide variety of choices from salmon poke bowls, to cream teas, and sushi.

There is free parking at Bicester village and there are seven charging devices with 14 connectors, providing a top-up service only.

Clevedon Seafront & Pier  – 1.9 miles (6 minutes) from junction 20

The seaside town of Clevedon is a quick hop from the M5. It’s low craggy coastline includes many fine shingle beaches and a lovely west facing cliff-top promenade – ideal for a stroll to stretch your legs, or to sit and relax and take in the sea air and spectacular views across to the Welsh coast.

There is parking at Clevedon Hall, which has four charging devices and four connectors available.  It’s just a 10-minute walk from the Victorian pier.

Quarry Bank | National Trust, National Trust: 1.5 miles from junction 7

Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate is one of Britain’s greatest industrial heritage sites, home to a complete industrial community. Depending on how much time you can spare, you can explore the domestic life of the mill-owning Greg family in their home, Quarry Bank House, or walk to Styal village to see how the mill workers lived, or grab some food at the restaurant, café or mill shop.

Entry to this attraction is free to National Trust members; charges apply to non-members. The car park is open from 8am to 8pm, and parking is included with entry to Quarry Bank.

There are two devices with three connectors for EV charging.

Rheged Centre two miles from junction 40

If you’re travelling to the west of Scotland, consider charging at the Rheged Centre, which is an ideal meeting place at the gateway to the Lake District, offering a gallery, café, shopping, and a cinema. Outside there is a large play structure designed to resemble a Roman fort with tunnels, slides, and ramparts to explore.

There are two charging devices with five connectors available in the car park, which is open daily from 8am to 8.30pm.

Helpful EV apps

Drivers who own a Lexus EV or PHEV can use the Lexus Link app on their phones. It has a map function that shows every charger covered and you can zoom in on locations to find charging stations nearby, or along the route, or can type them into the search box: Lexus charging network

The app can also be used to check the status of progress of battery re-charging, and to pre-set the cabin temperature, or to defrost the windscreen in winter. It also has some handy contact details, such as roadside assistance.

Lexus UX 300e review

Lexus UX 300e review

Lexus was a part-electrification pioneer when it launched the RX400h self-charging hybrid SUV way back in 2004.

However, it’s taken until now for the premium car maker to bring its first all-electric vehicle – the UX 300e – to market.

Consequently, it’s a little late to the party, joining the likes of the similarly sized Kia e-Niro, Hyundai Kona Electric and Peugeot e-2008, to name but a few.

Lexus UX 300e review

Starting at £41,745, the Lexus has an official range just shy of 200 miles (190-196 miles, depending on the wheel size) and looks much the same as its hybrid sibling (priced from £29,955).

“Compact, classy, comfortable and economical, it’s engaging to drive, distinctive and oozes badge appeal,” was our conclusion when we reviewed the regular UX (Urban Crossover) in 2019.

In fact, our only gripes were the CVT gearbox (short doses of uncomfortably high revs on hard acceleration) and the infotainment screen which is accessed via a fiddly touchpad down beside the gear selector.

Lexus UX 300e review

The infotainment system is much the same in the UX 300e, but going all electric means there’s no need for a CVT because it’s a one-speed like all EVs, so the new model is a smoother operator.

For now there’s just one power option and three trims levels. A 201bhp e-motor and 54.3kW battery pack combine to power the front wheels and it’s good for a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.5 seconds.

The UX 300e can be fully charged at home in just over eight hours or via a 50KW public charger (up to 80%) in as little as 50 minutes.

Lexus UX 300e review

Naturally, it’s also (modestly) charged on the move via regenerative braking (the levels are controlled via steering wheel paddle shifters) which converts much of the energy lost while decelerating back into stored energy in the car’s battery.

Talking of charge, we found the UX’s real world range to be closer to 170 miles, though this figure will always depend on driving style, terrain, whether you use items such as the heater and the outside temperature.

To look at, the sleek electric UX is definitely one of the most stylish compact SUVs available.

Lexus UX 300e review

In fact, it looks like no other car in its class with bold, sculpted lines, a full-width rear lightbar, roof spoiler and that unmistakable Lexus mesh front grille.

Slightly lower than most competitors and sporting a coupe-like profile, it’s full of innovative features including wheel arch mouldings which not only protect the bodywork, but also have a secondary aerodynamic function, just like the rear lights and the special alloy wheels.

Inside, it oozes class. There’s plenty of room up front, though it’s not as spacious in the rear as some rivals, no is there much space to stick your feet under the front seats, thanks to the batteries below.

Lexus UX 300e review

Luggage capacity is a useful 367 litres (more than the hybrid UX) expanding to 1,278 litres with the rear seats folded.

The cabin itself is stylish, beautifully finished and very Lexus with superb attention to detail. Up front it’s very driver-centric with the instrument panel, switchgear and infotainment screen subtly angled away from the passenger.

Despite its batteries, the UX 300e feels light on the road and even swifter than the official acceleration figures suggest. In fact, in the wet, the traction control system struggles to stop the front wheels spinning if you really go for it.

Lexus UX 300e review

There is a Sport mode, but the difference isn’t that dramatic, and while body control in faster corners is fairly good, the overwhelming sensation is one of comfort and refinement, which again, is very Lexus.

Like many electric cars, the brakes aren’t massively responsive, though the steering is light, making it easy to drive around town.

The 300e is packed with safety and driver assistance systems, and when the hybrid UX was tested by Euro NCAP in 2019 it achieved a maximum score of five stars.

Lexus UX 300e review

And for extra peace of mind, it comes with the standard Lexus three-year/60,000 mile manufacturer warranty for the car, plus an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.

Perhaps the 300e’s biggest challenge is its price point and range. For instance, it costs significantly more than the e-Niro and Kona Electric (which both have a range closer to 300 miles) and is even nudging the bigger Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model 3.

Verdict: Refined, comfortable and offering a premium experience, the all-electric Lexus UX 300e is a class act. With a range best suited to urban ownership, it’s easy to drive and stands out from the crowd, but it’s also up against some serious competition.