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How Does the Singapore Lexus RZ 450e Stack Up? Find Out!

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While Lexus claims the new RZ 450e is its first fully electric vehicle, it was preceded by the UX300e. It is, however, the first Lexus EV designed from the ground up as an EV, and that should mean fewer compromises made in how it is designed. The mid-sized SUV is available in Singapore in Executive and Luxury versions, and it is the latter spec on test here. How does it stack-up?

Good Less Good
Ride quality Range
Quiet cabin Price
Design

What is the Singapore Lexus RZ 450e?

Lexus’s first designed-as-an-EV mid-sized SUV is arguably late to the EV party, though Lexus has been at the forefront with hybrids for quite some time, which may go some way to explaining its tardy arrival.

What you get is a spacious SUV, that – if you choose the right spec model – delivers on the Lexus brand promise of silent, luxurious motoring.

Power is supplied by two motors, with a more powerful 150kW motor on the front axle, and an 80kW unit at the rear, for a total of 230kW (309hp). All four wheels are driven, and a clever system can send power to whichever individual wheel, or combination of wheels, provides the desired driving dynamic.

Overall torque of 435Nm is as much as most drivers will ever want, though a range of ‘up to’ 440km may disappoint some. The limited range is thanks to a relatively modest 71.4kWh battery, of which only 64kWh is usable.

Lexus claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.3 seconds, which means it’s not the quickest EV out there, but still faster than a lot of hot-hatches.

Styling is quite striking at the front end, with some elements of the trademark Lexus spindle grille incorporated despite the lack of a grille. The rear-end design is quite nice too, with wide rear arches giving it a muscular look, and roof fins and a spoiler adding some nice touches.

The coupé-style slanting roof is de rigueur these days, though a drag coefficient of 0.29 is hardly exceptional.

How does it drive?

The Lexus RZ 450e is refined, smooth and incredibly quiet on the move – at least if you choose Luxury trim. We believe the Executive model lacks the Luxury’s double-glazed windows, and therefore lets more road noise into the cabin.

It should be noted the Australian test car’s trim is called Sport Luxury, which is closest to the Singapore Luxury spec, while the Australian Luxury model is closer to the Executive trim sold here. It is confusing, we know, but when we refer to Luxury trim, we refer to the Singapore Luxury variant.

Luxury and refinement as core Lexus attributes, and the RZ in Luxury trim certainly delivers.

Even without adjustable dampers it soaks up bumps incredibly well, and it is very nicely balanced in corners. It feels more agile than most EV SUVs, one suspects because it is lighter than most thanks to that smaller battery.

The two motors deliver plenty of power and potential performance. A clever system sends more bias to the rear when cornering, and it can shift the power to individual wheels depending on the steering, speed, and other inputs, though it all happens unobtrusively in the background.

Overall, it feels smooth, safe, and confidence inspiring.

The 435Nm of torque available is impressive and it is instantly available. On the move a small movement of the throttle sees the car leap forward. You really don’t need more power than this, though from a standstill it doesn’t feel quite so quick.

Regeneration of power when slowing is available in four levels, none of which feel particularly strong. This is probably a deliberate move by Lexus to ensure smooth progress.

In many EVs in city driving, backing off the accelerator pedal and allowing the car to stop without using the brakes is something that works quite well – and increases range – so having the choice would be nice. Still, it's smooth, and well-calibrated, even if it possibly loses-out in efficiency.

Lexus claims 18.7kWh/100km efficiency, though on our drive we saw only 24.5kWh/100km, which would in theory drop the range to only 260km. To be fair, the test drive was on open roads and higher speeds than in town, so owners are likely to get closer to 400km from a charge. Given Singapore drivers average less than 300km a week, that shouldn’t be much of an issue.

What is the cabin like?

Again, the trim level you choose dictates the experience of the RZ 450e, and again, we’d choose the more expensive Luxury model.

The Luxury version feels more Lexus than the Executive, largely thanks to the Ultrasuede ‘vegan leather’ interior, which feels beautifully soft. Overall, the RZ 450e Luxury has a quality feel that you expect from a Lexus.

The centre console has a nice fake ash trim and a rotary dial for gearshift selection. There’s loads of storage here, and wireless charging for devices as well as three USB-C ports. Apparently, Lexus drivers own a lot of devices.

A nice touch is the ability to touch a button for the panoramic roof to go from clear to opaque and vice versa.

Front seats are ventilated, and comfortable too. There are three memory settings and electric adjustment for everything.

There’s a full digital dashboard and a head-up display which is arguably a bit overly fussy. That said, the giant 14-inch central screen is worthy of praise, and there are old-fashioned physical controls for the climate control system, which is a good thing in our books.

Rear seat passengers get plenty of headroom and legroom, though if we’re being picky, the toe room is a little tight under the front seats.

Rear seat passengers have two USB-C charging ports too.

The electrically operated touch-to-open ‘e-latch’ door handles may not be to all tastes, but we like them, and there is a manual override in case of a loss of battery power.

The boot space is fairly generous at 522 litres, and the design is good with a wide aperture for loading and a low floor, which is a nice touch in an SUV – it means less lifting to load your gear.

Rear seats fold 60/40, for even more capacity.

Conclusion

The higher spec Lexus RZ 450e Luxury feels more traditionally luxuriously Lexus than the Executive spec, and it is the one we would be looking-at, even if the price does put it in the realms of some German competitors.

It really is a sublime car though – quiet, refined, and luxurious.

Lexus owners should feel right at home.

Test Drive: The Lexus RZ 450e.


The video is produced by Chasing Cars, partner of our sister company Budget Direct Australia. Some features or options in the car build may not be applicable to the Singapore market (including the availability of car parts). Note that all prices quoted in the video are in AUD. Remember to check with your local dealer for details.   

Written by motoring journalist, Tony Tan  

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