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Lexus set to expand its all-electric offering with RZ SUV

Lexus unveils brand-new battery-powered SUV with first deliveries expected by the end of 2022

The brand’s first bespoke electric car, Lexus has revealed the first details about its RZ SUV, which is built on the same platform as the upcoming Subaru Solterra and Toyota bZ4X.

The compact RZ will join the Lexus range as an all-electric alternative to the similarly-sized NX SUV which debuted at the end of 2021, which is available as either a hybrid or plug-in hybrid model. The RZ is set to be the second electric model to join the Lexus line-up in the UK – following the smaller UX Electric SUV – as the Japanese brand aims to be electric-only by 2030.

Embodying what Lexus calls the “next chapter” of the brand’s design ethos, the battery-powered RZ has a similar silhouette to the NX, but with a new minimalist approach to the design of its front end, featuring a lower bonnet and smaller air intakes, sitting below large rectangular headlights.

Most noticable is the absence of a front grille, while the Lexus branding remains front and centre on the SUV’s nose. In the rear, one elongated tail light extends across the width of the tailgate, and the rear window is framed by a lower lip spoiler and a fang-shaped roof spoiler which Lexus says gives the car a “cool, high-tech look”.

In the cabin, The Lexus RZ is very similar to its NX sibling, with a head-up display and 14-inch infotainment screen, though Lexus says that the infotainment sits lower on the dashboard to improve visibility for the driver. The infotainment also includes a new voice-activated on-board assistant, and the brand’s own navigation software.

Like Toyota, Lexus is also looking to introduce its new electric models with a yoke-style steering wheel option. This unusual setup, which will be an optional package for the RZ from 2023 onwards, uses an electrical connection to send steering inputs, with no traditional steering column needed. Lexus says this yoke-style system requires less effort when steering and that its butterfly-like shape improves the driver’s view of the head-up display and the road ahead.

Another first for Lexus, the RZ also features a dimmable panoramic roof which reduces radiant heat on sunny days, and helps to retain heat on colder ones. The RZ is also fitted with what Lexus calls the ‘e-Latch system’, which works with the SUV’s blind spot monitor to cancel the opening of a door when a pedestrian or cyclist is detected.

Like the Solterra and bZ4X, The Lexus RZ is powered by a 71kWh battery. However, while its Subaru and Toyota counterparts are available with a single motor for a cheaper entry-level price, the RZ comes with an electric motor in the front and rear as part of the brand’s new ‘Direct4’ four-wheel drive powertrain.

This dual-motor setup produces 312hp, and Lexus estimates that the SUV has a maximum battery range of over 250 miles – a considerable improvement over the 190 mile range of the Lexus UX Electric.

UK buyers can now reserve a Lexus RZ online, with pricing and further specification details being available later this year. While the SUV is not yet available to pre-order, Lexus expects to deliver its first RZ orders in the UK around the end of 2022.

Sean Rees
Sean Rees
Sean is a content editor at The Car Expert. A enthusiastic fan of motorsport and all things automotive, he is accredited by the Professional Publishers Association, and is now focused on helping those in car-buying need with independent and impartial advice.