2024 Lexus RZ 300e review by Ben Lewis

Here’s an interesting little paradox for you. While the Japanese carmakers are happy to bring you the latest tech, they’ve almost to a fault been slow to bring EV tech to market. Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrids, sure – but full on EV’s, not so much.

Well, maybe they know something we don’t, but they are now getting with the program, and EV vehicles from Mazda, Honda, Acura and Nissan (ok, they’ve been around thanks to the LEAF) are starting to show up. And now we can add Lexus to the fray with the all-new RZ EV lineup. So, we were pretty excited to get into the new 300e and find out how it stacks up.

It’s a Stunner

Well, it makes a heck of a first impression!

If you haven’t seen one in person, based on the TNGA platform that also spawned the Toyota bZ4X EV and Subaru Solterra it’s a few inches longer than the Toy/Subie. The RZ is also very close in size to the Lexus RXcrossover/SUV.

This is one aggressive-looking head-turning design. At the front, the oversize Lexus spindle grille is replaced by the Lexus spindle body, since you don’t really need a grille. Side grilles and a lower fascia give the RZ a hungry look, while signature LED lights and projector beams give a purposeful frown. Adding to the tough look, our tester had the two-tone color scheme that includes a blacked-out hood that wouldn’t look out of place on a Dodge Charger! Our tester had an optional illuminated Lexus badge that we loved. Very Mercedes…

The muscle-fest continues in the profile with wide fenders, lower door cut-ins and gloss black trim around the fender wells, lower panel as well as the C-pillar. Finishing off the side view are optional 20-inch alloy wheels that give the proper stance. Interestingly, going from the 18-inch alloys to the 20’s will cost you a bit of EV range. Looks or function – you make the call. But we love the look!

The rear feels modern and Lex-like with L E X U S spelled out in handsome block letters, sitting atop an LED light bar that runs the width of the back. A sharp cut-in on the rear hatch works with grille-like panels coming off the rear wheels. A gloss black lower fascia adds some extra vibe.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the design is the all-new color for 2024 called Copper Crest. A bold, bright and unusual hue that looks like a shiny penny got tons of compliments while we had our tester.

The Lap of Lexus Luxury

Step inside and the feeling is pure Lexus.

Being the Luxury trim model, our tester was decked out – but in a way that will appeal more to the EV eco-minded buyer. So, there’s no leather, but with the rich Ultrasuede on the seats and door panels, you feel surrounded in goodness. Elevating that was a handsome medium blue/ivory two tone that brightens up the interior and looks very posh. And the quality of materials is just top shelf – you definitely feel your money is well spent in the RZ.

The front seats are noticeably comfortable and supportive, and the rear seats have impressive legroom – this is a spacious vehicle for all on board. Cargo space is likewise plentiful, and the rear seats fold flat to create a nice cargo hold for big items.

It’s interesting too, while the RZ shares the chassis with the bZ4X, it replaces the Toyota’s raised gauge cluster – an effort to give a heads-up display without a heads-up display. That design sort of forces the wheel in your lap. Instead, Lexus goes with a more traditional digital display, and we like it much better. You get a simple circular display for all the key features, laid out in a commonsense way.

If you’re feeling left out, Lexus will offer an optional steering yoke on some models, replacing the steering wheel. So those of you who have a Knight Rider fantasy, step right up.

Info-tainment is served up with a massive 14.0-inch display, with dedicated icons below for climate control features, heated and cooled seats and heated wheel. And yay! Lexus finds space to give you a volume knob. And you also get Thematic Ambient Illumination with door trim illumination to create a perfect vibe.

Below that is a handy wireless charging port for your smartphone. Like many luxury brands now, you can just say “Hey Lexus” and your info-tainment and climate controls are voice controlled – once you get used to it, you do get kind of spoiled! Another showstopper was our tester’s optional Dynamic Sky Panorama Glass Roof that goes from opaque to transparent at the touch of a button. Impress your friends! – The roof itself doesn’t open, so you’ll need to decide if that extra airflow matters to you.

Lexus giveth and taketh away in other areas as well. Luxury models feature standard radiant heating elements in the lower dash, so those up front get nice warm legs on frigid days.  The downside – no glovebox. You do have a massive center console and storage areas underneath, so you really don’t miss it.

Welcome to the First Lexus EV

Ok, so how does it drive?

Well, in the way of the saying “Good things come to those who wait” our tester shows the biggest change from 2024 vs the 2023 launch model – a new front drive edition with better range.

In 2023 the sole offering was the RZ450e, and while the specs sound impressive with 308 horsepower and standard AWD, the range dropped below 200 miles when equipped with 20-inch wheel and tires. That’s a tough sell when competitors like the much larger Kia EV9 stroll past with a 270-mile range.

Charging time is a bit slower than some of the competition, but with a DC fast charger, you should be able to go from 0-80% charge in 35 minutes – perfect for charging when you go grab a bite, but some of the Hyundai/Kia models knock that off in half the time.

Lexus helps to sooth range anxiety for ’24 with the new RZ300e model like our tester, with front wheel drive and a bit less power, but up to 266 miles on a charge. Opting for 20inch wheels again hurts range, but even at 224 miles it seems to hit a sweet spot that will appeal to many drivers.

And sweet really does describe the drive. If there’s any place where smooth, silent vibration-free power feels at home, it’s in a Lexus. Sitting in the beautiful interior and just gliding along – it’s a lovely place to be. Off the line, there’s plenty of oomph and the 300e is quick and easy. Only at higher freeway speeds do you notice the difference in power from the 450e, but we’d still opt for the better range.

Handling again is very Lexus like. Where the Subaru Solterra that shares its chassis feels lively and sporty, the RZ trades some of that for a buttery smooth ride that’s just delightful It’s no boat though, handling is responsive and confident. It’s just aimed at a different kind of buyer, and it does an excellent job of appealing to the those with luxury in mind.

Can I Afford the Luxury Electric Life?

One of the great points about the new RZ300e – it’s even more affordable than the 450. While the RZ450e starts at $59,850, the RZ300e starts at $55,150. Our Luxury trim adds goodies and starts at $59,730. Nicely optioned, our tester included an illuminated front badge ($200), Dynamic Sky glass roof ($550), Bi-tone paint ($1,295), and a few miscellaneous accessories. Add in $1,150 for Destination, and we rang the bell at $63,485.

The most obvious competitor is the sibling  Toyota bZ4X coming in at $49,739.  So, the Lexus is a substantial bump in price, but it does feel substantially more luxurious. If you’re not sure you’re ready to go full-on EV, the Lexus RX 500h is a great choice – yours for $68,685.

We’d also look at the Hyundai Ioniq 5 – especially if range is a concern. It’s closer in price to the Lexus, coming in at $58,005, but it can’t match the luxury vibes of the RZ.  So, while Lexus is late to the EV party, its initial offering is impressive.

Pure Lexus style luxury and design, combined with the whisper-quiet electric powertrain, the 2024 Lexus RZ300e is the perfect luxury EV crossover!