2023 Lexus RC

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2023 Lexus RC Review: Cruiser, Not Bruiser

The sports-car market continues to wane to make way for SUVs, but that doesn't mean there aren't some excellent cars to consider. The Lexus RC is one such car, even though it's starting to get old, having first arrived in the USA as a 2015 model. Rivals like the Audi A5 Coupe and BMW 4 Series Coupe may be newer, but the RC has a classy elegance all its own that's almost universally praised, unlike the controversial toothy grin of the big-grille 4 Series. With a favorable IIHS safety review, the Lexus RC clearly still has a lot to offer besides style. There isn't much new for the Lexus RC in 2023, but the infotainment system gets an upgrade and a few other detail changes keep the RC fresh enough to fight another day. With RWD and AWD available, and anything from 241 to 311 horsepower on offer, the RC seems to have all the performance bases covered. Conventional wisdom dictates that a coupe should be sharp and sporty, but the RC takes a different tack and focuses on comfort instead, offering a charming and easy-driving alternative to the mainstream European alternatives. Is this a stroke of genius or just another nail in the RC's coffin?

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 9 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 9 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 7 /10
  • Reliability 10 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
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2023 Lexus RC Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 RC?

The 2023 RC gets an improved infotainment system that allows full control via a new larger eight-inch touchscreen and not just the much-maligned trackpad used previously - although the trackpad is still fitted. This is accompanied by changes to the instrument panel, glovebox, and door panels, in addition to different interior stitching. There are also a few changes to the available interior color schemes. On the safety front, the Lexus Safety Sense+ 2.5 driver-assistance suite is now standard on every trim in the range. A new Special Appearance package is available on the two F Sport trims and comes with 19-inch ten-spoke Enkei alloys in Dark Gray metallic and a bi-tone paint job, with the body rendered in Incognito (gray) and the roof and hood in Obsidian (black). The price of the 2023 Lexus RC starts at just under $45k.

Pros and Cons

  • Stunning styling
  • Top-quality cabin
  • Comfortable ride
  • Low noise levels
  • Lots of standard driver assists
  • Tight second row
  • Small trunk
  • Not as fast or sporty as rivals
  • Uncompetitive gas mileage

What's the Price of the 2023 Lexus RC?

With its $44,670 base MSRP, the Lexus RC 300's price is a few thousand dollars cheaper than its key rivals. Next is the RC 350 at $47,600, the RC 300 F Sport at $49,290, and the RC 350 F Sport at $52,220. These prices are for the RWD variants, and adding AWD will cost you anything from $1,725 to $2,690, depending on the trim because AWD is accompanied by other extras such as heated front seats. These prices don't include the $1,150 destination fee.

Best Deals on 2023 Lexus RC

2023 Lexus RC Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
RC 300
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
RC 350
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2023 Lexus RC Trims and Specs

2023 Lexus RC Handling and Driving Impressions

The Lexus RC is for people who cannot understand why coupes have to handle like race cars and shake loose your tooth fillings when going over manhole covers. The RC's absorbent ride on all manner of surfaces makes it relaxing to drive - and perfect for boulevard cruising. It's also quiet and refined on the highway, making for an agreeable touring companion. Don't let this lead you to believe the RC trips over itself once the first corner arrives. It is immensely stable and, after it has leaned a bit, will blast through a corner with surprising grip and a pleasing measure of feel through the steering wheel. It's not particularly fun to cane, and it doesn't feel made for this kind of thing, but it will corner quickly and cleanly if called upon. Suiting the easy-going suspension setup are equally easy-going engines. The turbocharged 2.0-liter isn't quick at all, and even the 3.5 V6 lags well behind class rivals. Overall, it's a smooth and refined experience, with the auto 'box going about its business unobtrusively - this isn't a seat-of-the-pants sports car.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Lexus RC A Good Car?

Judged according to the standards set by the latest European coupes, the Lexus RC is now behind the curve and doesn't offer the sporty feel and ultimate performance that seem to have become part of the template for modern coupes. It dances to the beat of a different drum and offers an intriguing alternative, providing uncommon comfort and refinement in a sleek coupe body, and it's packed to the rafters with safety kit. This approach limits its appeal to a smaller audience, and a 4 Series owner might fail to see the point, shrug, and walk away. But people who get the RC will be delighted with its ability to meld stunning styling and a cossetting ride with top-shelf Lexus quality and long-term reliability.

What 2023 Lexus RC Model Should I Buy?

We like the RWD RC 350 the most. It offers the speed and six-cylinder soundtrack missing from the base RC 300. You'd want to add the Premium package with its climate-controlled front seats, heated and auto-dimming side mirrors, power steering column, and rain-sensing wipers, as well as the Navigation package with the larger touchscreen. Even then, you'd only just breach $52k, making it sound value. If you absolutely need AWD, it can be had for $2,165 on this trim and includes heated front seats, so the Premium package is commensurately cheaper. Just keep in mind the AWD comes with a six-speed auto and uses a bit more fuel.

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