The RZ and RX Outdoor concepts look fantastic. Will they ever come to market?
Lexus has introduced the RZ and RX Outdoor Concepts as part of its display at Autoshow Shanghai 2023. Based on the RZ 450e and RX 450h, both electrified concepts are modified with larger wheels, all-terrain tires, and additional off-road accessories such as mudguards and chip-resistant paint.
That's all fine and good, but the luxury brand has not indicated that it will produce these cars for the global market. It'd make the most sense for them to be in North America, where off-roading is immensely popular. But this is Lexus, not Toyota. The latter has a glorious off-roading history with its TRD Pro Series, but Lexus has no equivalent.
We don't see that changing anytime soon because Lexus caters to a different crowd. Would any Toyota buyers jump ship to Lexus if these concepts make production in some form? Impossible to know for sure, but we know these concepts are pretty cool.
They wouldn't make our list of best overlanders, but we're still impressed.
The RZ Outdoor Concept is all-electric with the Direct4 all-wheel drive system. Painted in Regolith X Piano black, other new bits include a custom skit plate, LED light, and a KC light on the bumper up front. Lexus went as far as designing a custom skid plate and mudguards with "exclusive paint." Matte black door handles and arch moldings give the usually elegant crossover some much-needed attitude, and the bicycle roof carrier and tow hitch are appreciated. For reference, the RZ 450e has a towing capacity of up to 1,653 pounds, which is good enough for a couple of jet skis and a trailer.
The concept is powered by the 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder plug-in hybrid system with standard all-wheel drive. Lexus gave it nearly the same equipment as the RZ, and we must admit we're digging the packaging. Both concepts look the part, and we're very curious to see how they'd perform off the pavement, but we're not getting our hopes up.
Also on display is the two-seat Rov Concept 2, which runs on compressed gaseous hydrogen. With its selectable 2WD and 4WD with diff locks, this little off-roader's identity is hard to make out.
Is it luxury? Kind of. There is a leather-wrapped steering wheel, passenger-side assist grip, machined aluminum shift knob, and Lexus signature front and rear lamps. It sounds pretty capable with an adjustable damping force suspension, skid plate, and air-less tires. Will it appear in Lexus showrooms? No chance. Nor will the previously revealed 402 hp RZ Sport Concept also on display. Lexus has already ruled out production.
Lexus certainly has the ability to offer a luxury off-road experience, but the real question is whether it will. We strongly advise no one to have high hopes, but we'd love for Lexus to prove us wrong.
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