2023 Lexus RZ vs. 2022 Tesla Model Y Comparison

Erin Riches-Wong | Aug 16, 2022

The sales success of the Tesla Model Y reveals two truths. First, consumers still love compact crossover SUVs. And second, electric vehicles (EVs) will sell in mainstream numbers when they're genuinely useful and convenient to own.

Other automakers are racing to get into this segment, including Lexus. You might be surprised to learn that Lexus doesn't already have a pure electric SUV, given parent company Toyota's early transition to hybrids and then hybrid crossover SUVs. An upscale version of the Subaru Solterra and Toyota bZ4X, the 2023 Lexus RZ goes on sale in late 2022 with a starting price above $50,000.

Though the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e won't match the Tesla Model Y's range or provide access to such a vast network of DC fast chargers (DCFC), it should appeal to buyers seeking an all-electric crossover with a more conventional interior design that upholds Lexus's typically high standards for fit and finish and initial quality.

If you're thinking of ordering either a Lexus RZ 450e or a Tesla Model Y, this 2023 Lexus RZ vs. 2022 Tesla Model Y comparison is worth a read.

Price and Value

2023 Lexus RZ Front Quarter View Action

2023 Lexus RZ

Consumers researching 2023 Lexus RZ pricing will find that Lexus has yet to announce it. Expect the Lexus RZ to cost more than the 2023 Toyota bZ4X, which tops out in the high-$40K range when fully optioned. The existing federal tax credit would not apply to the RZ since Lexus and Toyota have hit the 200,000-unit limit (by selling mostly hybrid vehicles). As of this publication, it's unclear whether the new EV tax credit program in the U.S. Senate's Inflation Reduction Act would benefit Lexus.

Lexus will offer its battery-electric compact SUV in RZ 450e Premium and RZ 450e Luxury trim levels with standard seating for five and Lexus Direct4 all-wheel drive (AWD). Since the RZ is exclusively electric, the AWD system consists of dual electric-drive motors—one in the front and one in the rear.

Connected services on the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e include automatic collision notification, live emergency assistance, and rapid access to roadside services. You'll also get remote access features (like remote engine starting), digital key (RZ 450e Luxury), cloud-based navigation (Lexus Interface), concierge services, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Lexus will provide two complimentary scheduled maintenance visits at 6 months/5,000 miles (whichever is earlier) and 12 months/10,000 miles.

Shoppers who look up 2022 Tesla Model Y pricing will find that this compact premium SUV costs anywhere from $59,990 to $69,990, not including the $1,200 destination charge. Teslas are ineligible for the current federal tax credit, though the Model Y likely would qualify under the new program pending in Congress.

Note that the Tesla Motors website shows only the 2022 Model Y Long Range ($67,990) and Performance ($69,990) trim levels. However, Tesla quietly added the $59,990 base Model Y AWD trim level in April 2022.

Tesla builds the new base Model Y at its recently opened Gigafactory in Austin, Texas (the automaker assembles the other trims in Fremont, California). Although the automaker isn't officially taking orders for the base trim level, reports have surfaced that some customers with existing Model Y orders instead have taken delivery of Texas-built Model Ys.

Like the Lexus RZ, every 2022 Tesla Model Y has standard AWD via dual electric motors. Five-passenger seating is standard. An optional, 2-passenger third-row seat provides seating for seven in a pinch.

Tesla Model Y connected services include automatic collision notification, digital key, Wi-Fi, and deluxe remote access features. You can, for example, remotely grant access to family members needing to drive the car. Owners worried about theft can enable PIN to Drive, while Sentry Mode (part of the premium connectivity package) records video of potential break-ins and parking-lot incidents. No doubt you've heard about Smart Summon (part of the Enhanced Autopilot package), which allows your Model Y to drive to you in parking lots.

You can safely leave your well-trained labradoodle in your Tesla Model Y if you enable Dog Mode, which maintains the climate control at a set temperature. Meanwhile, a message on the infotainment display reassures passersby that your dog is well cared for and that you'll be back soon.

Tesla doesn't offer free scheduled maintenance. Though the automaker doesn't require scheduled maintenance at specific intervals, it advises owners to rotate the tires "every 6,250 miles, or if the tread depth difference is 2/32 inch or greater."

The 2022 Tesla Model Y will likely offer high resale value. It ranks highest in the Premium Electric category of the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. ALG Residual Value Awards.

Advantage: Tesla Model Y

Reliability and Quality

2022 Tesla Model Y White Front Quarter View

2022 Tesla Model Y

The Lexus RZ is too new to have participated in the J.D. Power 2022 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) or the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS). The 2023 Lexus RZ comes with the following warranty coverage:

  • Standard warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles
  • High-voltage battery warranty: 10 years or 150,000 miles
  • Roadside assistance: 4 years and unlimited mileage

Like the Lexus RZ, the Tesla Model Y did not participate in the 2022 VDS. The all-electric compact premium SUV participated in the 2022 IQS but remains ineligible for awards because Tesla Motors does not allow J.D. Power access to owner information in the 15 U.S. states where the automaker must give permission. The Model Y ranks second among Premium Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) models in the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study. The 2022 Tesla Model Y comes with the following warranty coverage:

  • Standard warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 8 years or 120,000 miles
  • High-voltage battery warranty: 8 years or 120,000 miles (10 years or 150,000 miles in California emissions states)
  • Roadside assistance: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Advantage: Lexus RZ

Performance and Efficiency

2023 Lexus RZ Interior Dashboard

2023 Lexus RZ

Every 2023 Lexus RZ comes with a 150-kilowatt front-drive electric motor and an 80-kW rear-drive electric motor. The motors draw current from a 71.4-kilowatt-hour battery pack. Total system horsepower rates 312, but as on all BEVs, the instantaneous torque is what you'll notice from the driver's seat.

Lexus claims the RZ 450e will reach 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not yet published range and energy consumption ratings for the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e. The automaker predicts 225 miles of range with the 18-inch wheels (Premium trim) and 200 miles with the available 20-inch wheels (Luxury trim). While Lexus provides a tow rating for European versions of the RZ 450e, it's not clear if it will offer this kind of utility in the United States.

RZ owners should plan for about 9.5 hours to recharge the battery pack using a Level 2 charger. If you use a DCFC (Level 3) during travel, figure about 30 minutes to recover 80-percent charge.

The base version of the 2022 Tesla Model Y uses a 91-kW front electric-drive motor and a 200-kW rear electric-drive motor. One-pedal driving capability is standard. Unlike the California-built Model Ys, this Texas-built model features a new high-voltage battery design that integrates the pack into the vehicle's structure. The EPA estimates the base 2022 Tesla Model Y's range at 279 miles, while energy consumption rates 28 kWh/100 miles. Equipped with the available tow package, the 2022 Model Y has a 3,500-pound tow rating.

The Model Y Long Range uses similar electric motors but has a higher-capacity battery pack. Tesla says it needs just 4.8 seconds to hit 60 mph. The Long Range is EPA-rated for 330 miles and 28 kWh/100 miles.

The 2022 Tesla Model Y Performance uses 133-kW front- and 179-kW rear-drive electric motors. This is a genuinely fast car capable of reaching 60 mph in less than 4 seconds on a good day with an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. The EPA rates the Model Y Performance for 303 miles and 30 kWh/100 miles.

You'll certainly want access to a 240-volt outlet to enable Level 2 charging at home. While on the go, Model Y owners have access to the Tesla Supercharger network of DCFCs. The network's broad coverage virtually eliminates range anxiety and is arguably the best reason to buy a Tesla over any other BEV on the market.

Advantage: Tesla Model Y

Safety and Driving Assistance

2022 Tesla Model Y Interior Dashboard Front Seats

2022 Tesla Model Y

Every 2023 Lexus RZ comes with the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 package of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS). Both RZ 450e trims include forward-collision warning (FCW) with automatic emergency braking (AEB) and pedestrian, cyclist, and oncoming vehicle detection. You also get blind-spot warning (BSW) with rear cross-traffic warning, lane-departure warning (LDW), lane-keeping assistance (LKA), emergency steering assistance (ESA), and intersection turn assistance (ITA).

When the adaptive cruise control (ACC) is active, the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e provides Level 2 semi-autonomous driving assistance with stop-and-go capability, lane-centering assistance, and curve speed management (automatically reduces vehicle speed on freeway interchange ramps). The 2023 RZ 450e Luxury adds lane-change assistance, front cross-traffic warning, and active parking assistance.

As of this writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has published safety ratings for the 2023 Lexus RZ.

The 2022 Tesla Model Y also comes standard with FCW with AEB, BSW, LDW, and LKA. With the ACC enabled, the Model Y provides Level 2 driving assistance with stop-and-go capability and lane-centering assistance. With the optional Enhanced Autopilot package, your Tesla gains automatic lane-change capability and Autopark active parking assistance.

You will want to consider the optional Full Self Driving (FSD) package, even though it will not allow your Model Y to drive itself. Instead, FSD enables your vehicle to slow automatically for red lights and stop signs on surface streets. However, you'll need to attain a high Safety Score to access all of its functionality. Consumers should know that the NHTSA is investigating Autopilot and FSD after several serious accidents involving Tesla drivers who were apparently using their vehicles' semi-autonomous driving assistance.

For all the controversy surrounding its ADAS, Tesla Motors scores highest in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Tech Experience (TXI) Study, which surveyed owners of new 2021 model-year vehicles. It's not an official ranking since Tesla only permits access to owner data in 35 U.S. states. Still, owner enthusiasm runs high, perhaps due in large part to the automaker's frequent over-the-air (OTA) software updates.

The NHTSA rates the 2022 Tesla Model Y at a maximum 5 stars for overall crash safety, including 5 stars for rollover resistance. The IIHS rates the 2022 Tesla Model Y a Top Safety Pick+, the Institute's highest safety accolade.

Advantage: Lexus RZ

Infotainment and Technology

2023 Lexus RZ Rear Quarter View Action

2023 Lexus RZ

Inside every 2023 Lexus RZ, a 14-inch touchscreen interface runs off the latest Lexus Interface infotainment platform. It's an impressively large display, but you still get a separate instrument panel (in the usual location behind the steering wheel), and there are even physical dials to adjust the volume and temperature. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring is standard, along with factory navigation, OTA updates, natural-voice recognition, a wireless charging pad, and five USB ports.

The central hub of every 2022 Tesla Model Y is a 15-inch touchscreen interface. You'll want to get comfortable using it because it takes the place of a traditional instrument panel and many secondary controls. There are no dials for volume or temperature adjacent to the screen. Factory navigation, OTA updates, natural-voice recognition, a wireless charging pad, and four USB ports are standard, but the platform doesn't support Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Tesla offers built-in apps like Netflix and YouTube, plus various music-streaming apps and an internet browser.

Advantage: Lexus RZ

Comfort and Utility

2022 Tesla Model Y Blue Rear Quarter View Action

2022 Tesla Model Y

Many consumers are smitten with the 2022 Tesla Model Y's minimalist cabin design. Others might find the 2023 Lexus RZ's comparatively traditional approach more comforting and luxurious.

Materials quality on the RZ appears to be consistent with other Lexus models, and because Lexus and Toyota build vehicles in higher volumes, there are also more color options. The Model Y, in contrast, comes with either an all-black or a black-and-white interior.

Both these electric compact premium SUVs can accommodate a pair of adults in the back seat, but the Tesla Model Y is the more spacious of the two. You probably won't wish to use the Y's compact third-row seat every day, but there's more cargo space for your next Costco run. The Tesla offers 30.2 cubic feet of capacity behind its second row (26.6 in 7-seaters), plus a 4.1-cubic-foot front trunk or "frunk." With the seats folded, it provides 72.1 cubic feet (67.9 in 7-seaters).

Although Lexus has not released full specifications for the 2023 RZ 450e, it's likely to offer about as much space as the Toyota bZ4X, which has a 27.7-cubic-foot cargo hold and 56.9 cubic feet with its rear seats folded.

Advantage: Tesla Model Y

Learn More About the Lexus RZ and Tesla Model Y

If you'd like to learn more about these electric vehicles, be sure to read our preview of the 2023 Lexus RZ and research the 2022 Tesla Model Y. To find out how people like you rate models in this segment, check out our ratings from verified vehicle owners.

Also, please keep in mind that while the information in this article was accurate and valid on August 12, 2022, it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker's website or your local dealership.

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