Select Page

Genesis GV60 Review

If you are of the mindset “A-B-T” — Anything But Tesla — or Anything But Elon, the GV60 and Genesis brand have that upstart passion without the politics

An exterior view of a white 2023 Genesis GV60 alongside the ocean

The compact Genesis GV60 electric SUV is sold in two AWD trim levels with battery-electric driving ranges of 248 or 235 miles. Starting prices are about $60,000 and $70,000. (Photos courtesy of Genesis USA or as credited)

Table of Contents

9 Cool Things
Genesis Brand Overview
GV60 Pricing
Genesis Warranties
State of the Art and Aesthetics
Face Connect
GV60 Powertrains
GV60 Charging Times
Ride and Handling
Why Buy the Genesis GV60?


The Genesis GV60 brings a fistful of finesse to the staid state of electric vehicle design. This small battery-electric “SUV” has a custom appearance, the best-looking rear-end in autodom today, and not one EV badge anywhere.

It’s that dang skateboard powertrain that has complicated EV styling. Once that foundation is laid, designers must wrap a superstructure above and around it. The result is taller body sides, raised ride height, and lower rooflines to craft a sporty presence. Of course, there are roof rails for accessory carriers. So, the vehicle then becomes an “SUV.” Ford calls its Mustang Mach-E an SUV, but is it really an SUV?

Most new EV exterior designs are awkward. Stylists apply some creative spackle to aid aerodynamics and to make their vehicle look different — maybe even cool. But all makers seem to agree that their EV must not look like the traditional combustion-engine vehicle.

Hyundai broke away from that styling bondage with Ioniq 5 and the just-released 2023 Ioniq 6 sedan. Both models creatively disguise their skateboard architectures without defaulting to SUV.

Genesis continues that inspiration with the GV60 — and likely for its other vehicles moving forward.

Will such design innovations be the future “normalization” for electric vehicles?

A view of the front seat space

The interior is rich in non-pretentious luxury and ergonomic placement of controls.

9 Cool Things About GV60

  • A night view of the crystal sphere glowing red

    The crystal sphere is to create an atmosphere of futuristic mobility.

    Biometric fingerprint access and Face Connect. Enter and drive the GV60 without the key;

  • Electric-Active Sound Design;
  • Rotating and illuminated crystal shift ball;
  • Glove box drawer. A rethinking of a glove box, which slides out and is lighted;
  • Boost mode. Shaves about 0.3 of a second from a performance run to 60 mph;
  • Mobile Power Source: Vehicle-to-Load charging ability is emergency ready to power and recharge devices;
  • i-Pedal driving. Speed up, slow down, or stop using the accelerator pedal as the system captures kinetic energy to replenish the battery (in small amounts).
  • Multi 400/800Volt rapid charging system. The standard cable helps shorten charging time at public stations.

The Small EV Competition

There are almost too many choices for the uninitiated shopping for a new small SUV EV, and many more EVs will be available soon.

Among the competing vehicles are the Audi Q4 etron, BMW i4, Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Bolt, Mercedes-Benz EQB, Nissan Ariya, Polestar (models 1, 2, or 3), Toyota BZ4X (and Subaru Solterra and upcoming Lexus RZ 450e), VW iD4, and Volvo XC40 Recharge.

A door panel shows careful attention to assembly and refined materials

The GV60 has layers of refined materials, with more of the round design theme. (Mark Maynard)

Genesis Brand Overview

Genesis is the luxury division of South Korea-based Hyundai Motor and also the parent company to Kia Motors. The Genesis GV60 is the first Genesis model developed on the Hyundai Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). It is a dedicated EV platform used for the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6, and the Kia EV6.

It was in late 2016 when the brand launched in the U.S. It debuted with a sedan lineup of the G80 and G90 large sedans. Unfortunately, American motorists were fixated on SUVs, and the well-regarded Genesis sedans were overlooked or viewed with suspicion. Then, in 2018, the Genesis G70 sport sedan debuted, but it also faced resistance from many other established sport sedans from the more well-known luxury brands. It did not help that the dealer group was disorganized, and the supply of cars needed to be better.

It wasn’t until 2020 that the brand introduced its first SUV, the large-midsize GV80. “V” in the nameplate stands for versatility. The GV80 was followed by the Electrified (battery-electric) G80 sedan in 2021. The midsize GV70 SUV followed in 2021, and the Electrified GV70 will go on sale later this year. Genesis says it will have a fully electric lineup by 2030.

The compact-class GV60, today’s tester, went on sale in 2022 as a 2023 model.

The GV60 has a small front trunk, but how would an owners use such space?

How would an owner use this slim front-trunk space of .07 cubic feet? (Mark Maynard)

Genesis GV60 Pricing

The 2023 Genesis GV60 is sold in two all-wheel-drive trim levels of Advanced and Performance. Pricing starts at $60,415 for Advanced, which has a 314-horsepower, dual-motor powertrain (for AWD), and a battery-electric driving range of 248 miles.

The Performance model, today’s tester, starts at $69,415. With one option for Matterhorn white paint ($1,500), the tester was $70,915.

Retail pricing includes the $1,125 freight charge from Ulsan, Korea.

Initial availability for the electrified models is in 15 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Utah, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington.
Genesis is also in a collaboration with Electrify America to offer three years of 30-minute free charging sessions from the date of vehicle purchase.

The availability of tax credits for electric vehicle leases, such as for the GV60, still needs to be determined. For current pricing and offers, go to

Genesis Warranties

Owning a Genesis brings some special warranty perks:

  • Concierge Services;
  • 10 years or 100,000-miles powertrain;
  • 10 years or 100,000-miles electric vehicle system (or in California, 10 years or 150,000 miles);
  • 5 years or 60,000 miles bumper to bumper;
  • 3 years or 36,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance;
  • 3 years or 36,000 miles free service valet;
  • 3 years of free map updates;

Service valet is money to an owner. Genesis will handle vehicle pickup, deliver a replacement Genesis, and return your vehicle when service is required. The pickup and return can be anywhere the owner chooses, within reason. Learn more about the Service Valet here.

The free three-year subscription also provides online or app scheduling of service appointments. The GV60 also will give a screen alert to owners when it is time for service and then connect to schedule an appointment with the preferred dealership.

Concierge Services

Many new vehicle owners develop relationships with the dealer’s service manager, but Genesis encourages owner involvement through its concierge services. For example, if the nearest Genesis dealer is out of your way, the concierge can arrange an at-home test drive or multiple test drives. And if you loved the Genesis you tested, the concierge will help make arrangements at the nearest dealership to finalize the sale. To get started, go here.

State of the Art and Aesthetics

Inside and out, the Genesis GV60 has some unique design elements, some of which are just fun.

Most EVs use special colors and badging, usually green or blue, to proclaim the owner is driving an electric vehicle. The GV60 has none of those.

A view of the LED headlights of small square bulbs

Full LED lighting.

And there is very little brand identification. There is one GV60 badge on the rear deck, one Genesis winged logo on the hood, and the name spelled out on the deck.

The exterior styling is complete and substantial. Most makers would have designated the GV60 an “SUV coupe,” defined by a sloping rear roofline and the smallish back seat area. The so-called SUV coupe does not focus on cargo capacity but on style and speed.

For the GV60, the arching roofline trails smoothly to the rear. There are no contrived bulges on the hood or along the sides to make the GV60 look fast. The 20- or 21-inch tires and wheels fill their spaces for a solid stance.

A chrome strip outlines the windows and flows rearward to an uncommon “V” cut into the rear pillar that appears to be part of the rear glass. At the base of the back glass is an integrated spoiler. It’s probably just a design gimmick, but it adds to the solid appearance. The spoiler does, however, create a split rear-window issue. At first glance in the rearview mirror, it looked problematic, but it became a non-issue for me. And the around-view camera system enables complete visibility.

A rear view of the GV60

The Genesis GV60 has the best looking rear-end in autodom today.

GV60 Interior Design

The interior is of non-pretentious luxury with much microsuede, such as in the headliner, and appealing Nappa leather (in the GV60 Performance). There is a circle theme in the door handles, speakers, and the rotating crystal ball — a “sphere” in Genesis terms — on the shift console.

Genesis says the crystal sphere is to create an indoor atmosphere of futuristic mobility. When the GV60 is ready to drive, the sphere rotates 180 degrees to present the Shift By Wire dial. Upon shutoff, the sphere rotates again to become a mood light.

Circular dial buttons on the lower arc of the steering wheel are for performance settings. The left button sets the performance modes of Eco, Comfort, and Sport. The bold yellow button on the right is labeled “Boost.” When activated, Boost performs a nitrous-like 10-second overboost of acceleration. For a blast to 0-60 mph, “boost” mode trims about 0.3 of a second from the time standard time of about 4.2 seconds to 3.9.

To me, the “Boost” is a novelty. The new owner will do it a few times to impress friends. But the acceleration in Sport mode is already quick, depending on how hard the driver pushes the accelerator. Eco, to me, is frustratingly resistant, and Comfort is true to the word.

Face Connect and Fingerprint ID

The GV60 introduces a pair of technologies that might initially seem alien to the experienced motorist: Face Connect and Fingerprint Authentication Systems.

I would never knowingly leave home without the key fob in my pocket. However, the key fob for the GV60 is large and bulky. And in this morning’s newsfeed, a surfer lamented that his car had been stolen from a parking lot. He said he had hidden his car key and hurried down to the surf. When he returned, his car was gone.

This is validation for Face Connect and Fingerprint Authentication. For sports enthusiasts who don’t want to risk losing a key during an activity, bring your face and index finger.

Face Connect uses a Near Infra-Red camera to recognize the driver’s face to lock or unlock its doors without a key. A driver only needs to touch the door handle and show their face to the camera on the B-pillar. The system can register two faces, and the setup is similar to how facial ID is used for a smartphone. Genesis says the NIR system also functions accurately in the dark or when the weather is cloudy.

But to start the GV60 without a key requires Fingerprint Authentication. As for a smartphone fingerprint ID, users must record a fingerprint on the shift console’s small (round) fingerprint pad. Touch the recorded fingertip to the button, and the car is ready to start with the ignition button.

The GV60 also has the second generation of Digital Key, which now works without holding the smartphone near the door. Users just have to touch the door handle. The digital key can be shared with up to three people.

A photo of the 21 inch alloy wheel with Michelin tire

21-inch Michelin Primacy Tour tires (255/40) are wide and meaty on the GV60 Performance.

Genesis GV60 Powertrains

The standard AWD model has a 74kW front motor and a 160 kW rear motor. The power adds up to 234 kW or 314 horsepower. Torque of 446 foot-pounds is key to instant acceleration. The standard model has a driving range of 248 miles.

The Performance model has two 160kW motors, one each for the front and rear wheels. The second motor raises total output to 320kW or 429-hp and torque of 516 lb.-ft. The Performance model has an EPA-estimated driving range of 235 miles. However, I achieved a range readout of 244 to 247 miles when charging at home on my Level 2 charger.

Both models have the same size lithium-ion polymer battery of 697 volts and 77.4 kWh capacity. And the transmission for both models is a single-speed reduction gear.

There also is a Drift mode. And breaking loose those fat Michelins will require that 516 lb.-ft. of torque.

Intelligent Pedal

The Intelligent Pedal function (i-Pedal) works through the accelerator pedal to decelerate, stop, and pipe energy back to the battery (regeneration). Regen can be increased or decreased by using the shift paddles at the steering wheel. Not all manufacturers believe in the so-called e-pedal and prefer the driver to be more active in driving. I find i-Pedal provides precise function and maximizing regen when I’m not paying attention to it.

Battery Conditioning

Genesis says the GV60 is the first model to feature battery conditioning. It preheats the pack for better performance in cold weather. And it also shortens the amount of charging time by adjusting the battery temperature.

The GV60 has a multi-400/800Volt rapid charging system that boosts the 400V supplied by the charger to 800V. The heavy-gauge onboard charging cable works with various public charging systems.

For example, when charging at 350kW with the ultra-speed charging function, the battery can be charged from 10 percent to 80 percent in just 18 minutes. Also, the charging time for slow charging is quicker by increasing the charging capacity from 7.2kW to 11kW.

GV60 Charging Times

  • AC Level 2, 240-volt: about 7 hours from 10 to 100 percent;
  • 50 kW rapid charging: 73 minutes from 10 to 80 percent;
  • 250 kW (800 volts): 18 minutes from 10 to 80 percent;
  • AC home120V / 12A: about 68 hours

GV60 as Mobile Power Source

The GV60 can also be used as a mobile power source to tap the battery to charge other electronic devices. The so-called V2L (Vehicle to Load) function supports a 3.6kW charge, which is higher than the power supply in the average home. The system can be a savior in a power-out emergency, tailgating, or camping.

GV60 back seats

Back seat space feels compact with a butts-down, knees-up position. (Mark Maynard)

GV60 Performance Ride and Handling

The GV60 Performance is a sport sedan EV. Its release of power is eager and controllable. And this is despite a curb weight of 4,890 pounds, of which 1,055 to 1,060 pounds is for the battery. Most small electric SUVs are in this weight range, but AWD takes horsepower to move the mass.

While the GV60 has plenty of power, it’s not a sparkling performer in its cornering ability. It is quite responsive, but its arching roofline and electronic suspension are not assets in performance driving.

Both GV60 models have an independent suspension with front struts and a rear multilink. The GV60 Performance adds an electronically controlled suspension with road preview. The preview function pulls information from the front camera and navigation system to recognize rough roads or speed bumps. In such conditions, the damping force adjusts to the road conditions.

I’m sure suspension electronics can read the road in milliseconds, but sometimes a millisecond is too long. A well-engineered steel spring suspension can sometimes provide a quicker and more controlled response.

In my experience driving the Performance model, the ride quality in Comfort mode was luxuriously compliant (soft). It absorbed the harshness of rough pavement, but a pothole could produce an unnerving jolt. In Sport mode, the suspension tightened but was not harsh.

Long Wheelbase

Because of the powertrain skateboard layout, the GV60 has a long wheelbase of 114.2 inches; that’s several inches longer than a comparably sized combustion SUV. Consequently, the GV60 has a relatively wide turning circle of 39.2 feet, or maybe wider with the 21-inch tires. Its maneuverability is not unwieldy, but it does not feel nimble in underground parking.

Stopping force is absolute from four-wheel ventilated discs front and rear, with 14.1-inch rotors. There are four-piston calipers at the front and a single-piston rear caliper.

The GV60 Performance gets 21-inch Michelin Primacy Tour tires (255/40), which are wide and meaty for an SUV of this size. The standard GV60 gets 20-inch Michelin Primacy but has a narrower tread face of 255/45.

electric-Active Sound Design

Genesis says the GV60 is also its first model to use electric-Active Sound Design (e-ASD). The system provides various virtual driving sounds through the speakers based on the driving mode, the vehicle’s speed, and accelerator pedal data.

Drivers have a choice of three sounds:

Futuristic, symbolizes the direction of future mobility;

G-Engine, based on soft and sporty engine sounds;

E-Motor, reimagines motor sounds.

I don’t even know which sound was active when I was driving. It sounded like any electric vehicle, which was just fine for me. Will owners really personalize the sound of their GV60?

Cargo space is about 6 feet long with the back seat folded

Fold the back seats for up to 6 feet in length. (Mark Maynard)

Highway Drive Assist

Keep your hands on the wheel for Highway Driving Assist. It’s the same system found in Hyundai and Kia models. (Full safety features are listed in the specs box below.)

The sophisticated array of advanced technologies allows Level 2 assisted driving. The system works with reasonable accuracy, though in my experience the system would allow the GV60 to drift beyond the lane markings. And then give a warning tone, as if I was at fault.

These driver-assist systems take time for the uninitiated to find their comfort level. The support is an all-seeing set of eyes that is of particular value in the crammed daily commuting traffic, especially in narrow construction areas. I now activate steering assist in HDA as a distraction-avoidance safeguard.

Tidy storage space under the cargo floor for the charging cables and manuals.

Tidy storage space under the cargo floor for the charging cables and manuals.

Why Buy the Genesis GV60?

If you are of the mindset “A-B-T” — Anything But Tesla — or Anything But Elon, the GV60 and Genesis brand have that upstart passion without the politics.

While many GV60 reviews are critical of the driving range that is less than 300 miles on a full charge. For most owners, 300 miles is a benefit for vacation travel. For the daily drive, however, most owners will have (or should get) a home charger. There is good range for a Saturday drive to the country without range anxiety. And if a quick charge is needed, it won’t take that long with the GV60’s speed charging system.

The buyer for the Genesis GV60 will value its aesthetics and artful presentation. The engineering and electronics have already been well-tested in the various Hyundai and Kia models. And the Genesis warranties provide security for a brand still developing a reputation.

Lease the GV60 today, and in three years, trade it in for the updated version with a fresh battery and another three years of Service Valet and Concierge support.

Genesis GV60 Performance Specifications

Body style: compact 5-door, 5-seat AWD SUV

Motor: Permanent magnet synchronous reluctance motor; 429-hp, 320 kw total; front: 160 kW, rear 160; 10-second Boost Mode allows for 483-hp or 360 kW; 516 lb.-ft. torque

Transmission: single speed reduction gear

Estimated driving range: 235 to 246 miles

Battery: 697-volt lithium-ion polymer; 77.4 kWh capacity; 618 cells; weight 1,060.3 pounds

Charging times: AC Level 2, 240-volt: about 7 hours from 10 to 100 percent;
50 kW rapid charging 73 minutes from 10 to 80 percent; 250 kW (800 volts) 18 minutes from 10 to 80 percent

Onboard charger: Ultra-fast up to 800 volts or 350 kW

0-60 mph acceleration, estimated: 4.2 seconds, 3.9 seconds in Boost Mode

Towing capacity: 2,000 pounds, with a braked trailer


Front head/leg room: 39/42.3 inches

Rear head/leg room: 38.1/37.6 inches

Length/wheelbase: 177.8/114.2 inches

Width/height: 74.4/62.4 inches

Curb weight: 4,890 pounds

Turning circle: 39.2 feet

Cargo space: 24-54.7 cubic feet; front trunk, .07 cu.ft.


Standard equipment includes: Nappa leather-trimmed upholstery, surround-view camera system, smart cruise control with stop-and-go, 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system (1,400 watts), remote smart parking assist, electric parking brake with auto-hold, 14-way power driver seat with 4-way power lumbar and cushion extension, a 12-way power front passenger seat with 4-way power lumbar, heated and ventilated front seats, carpeted floor mats;

Safety features include: 8 air bags, electronic stability and traction controls, brake assist, hill-start control, park distance warning front and rear, driver-attention warning, high-beam assist, rear occupant alert;

Driver-assist technologies include: forward collision avoidance assist; lane-keeping assist and lane-following assist; blind-spot collision avoidance-assist; blind-spot view monitor; rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist; highway driving assist; intelligent speed-limit assist; parking collision-avoidance assist.


Base price: $69,415, including $1,125 freight charge; price as tested $70,915

Options on test vehicle: Matterhorn white paint $1,500

Where assembled: Ulsan, Korea

Warranties: 5-years/60,000-miles bumper to bumper; 3-years/36,000-miles free scheduled maintenance; 3-years/36,000-miles free service valet; 10-years/100,000-miles powertrain; 10-years/100,000-miles electric vehicle system; 3-years free map updates.

Read more

Lexus RZ 450e First Drive

The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e is a lightning rod of change for the brand

The battery electric 2023 Lexus RZ 450e has standard all-wheel-drive, and driving ranges of 196 or 220 miles, depending on tie size. Pricing starts at about $61,000.

The battery electric 2023 Lexus RZ 450e has standard all-wheel-drive and driving ranges of 196 or 220 miles, depending on tie size. Pricing starts at about $61,000. (Photos courtesy of Lexus)

Table of Contents

6 Intriguing Features
Pricing and Warranties
Incentives and Rebates
RZ Buyer Demographics
Driving the RZ
Safety Technologies
Reinventing the Wheel
Why Buy the Lexus RZ 450e?


Lexus flipped the switch for its electric-vehicle future with the 2023 RZ 450e midsize SUV. The RZ is the brand’s first purpose-built battery-electric vehicle that will be available throughout the U.S. and globally.

Built on the e-TNGA platform shared with the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra, the RZ will go on sale this spring. Sizewise, the RZ is technically a small SUV, but it splits the segment between a super-compact and midsize.

Sold in two all-wheel-drive trim levels with two wheel sizes, RZ 450e starting prices range from about $61,000 to $66,000. Because the RZ and BZ-Solterra are built in Japan at the Motomachi Plant (in Toyota City), none qualifies for the federal tax incentive of $7,500. State and local incentives, however, might be available (details below).

Both models have a 71.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack for total system horsepower of 308. RZ’s DIRECT4 all-wheel-drive system has two eAxle motors, a 150 kW front motor and an 80 kW rear.

Entry models with 18-inch wheels have an EPA-estimated electric driving range of up to 220 miles and an MPGe rating of 115/98/107 city/highway/combined. Models with 20-inch wheels have an EPA-estimated range of up to 196 miles or an MPGe of 102/87/95.

“RZ” stands for “Radiant Zero,” such as for “shining” and Zero Emissions. Similarly, Toyota uses BZ for Beyond Zero to brand its battery-electric vehicles.

In a full year of RZ 450e sales, Lexus says it hopes to sell 4,900 units. In the U.S., there are around 240 Lexus dealerships.

The RZ interior has a minimalist design theme with new materials and special lighting to create a luxurious impression.

The RZ interior has a minimalist design theme with new materials and special lighting.

6 Intriguing RZ Features

Steering By Wire

The steer by wire system uses a yoke rather than a wheel. The optional system is still be tested and refined by Lexus engineers.

Steering by wire uses a yoke rather than a wheel.

The optional steer-by-wire system eliminates the mechanical steering column to the front axle and, with it, the transfer of vibration. Instead, electrical signals communicate steering inputs for much quicker steering response. And instead of a steering “wheel,” Lexus uses a steering yoke. A yoke will help train drivers to use smaller steering inputs rather than hand-over-hand movements to rotate a wheel. The system’s steering ratio constantly adjusts to the speed of the vehicle. Steering by wire provides more “agility in slow-speed situations and impressive stability at higher speeds,” Lexus says.

The steer-by-wire system also has a different gauge cluster that sits higher (1.5 inches) and farther away (1.4 inches) from the driver. The change in positioning is to minimize the driver’s line-of-sight movement.

Dealerships will provide initial testing to familiarize owners before sending them down the road. And it will take time for new users to adapt, but not just to the quicker steering response.

It was an odd initial experience in my testing of the yoke system. That was primarily due to my muscle memory of rotating a wheel. The yoke requires the driver’s hands to be in a 9-and-3 position. There will be fewer positions to rest hands on longer trips.

The system, however, is still being refined and is expected to be available in the U.S. at a future date. Pricing has not been set.

Electrochromic Dynamic Sky panoramic roof

The electrochromic Dynamic Sky panoramic roof changes from opaque to clear at the touch of a button.

The electrochromic Dynamic Sky panoramic roof changes from opaque to clear.

All models of RZ have a panoramic glass roof, but the Luxury model has the option ($550) of an electrochromic function. The so-called smart glass transitions from opaque to clear at the touch of a button at the top of the windshield header. The goal is to eliminate the need for a sunshade.

Radiant Heating

The optional radiant heaters are positioned at the base of the dashboard to heat front passengers’ legs and feet.

The optional radiant heaters are positioned at the base of the dashboard.

It takes less energy to heat occupants than to heat the entire cabin, so Lexus added radiant heating for the front seat, standard in the Luxury model. The heaters at the base of the dashboard warm legs and feet and are in addition to seat heaters (and ventilation).

Radiant heat might have more value to buyers in colder regions. The radiant heater on the passenger side replaces the glove box, removing any interior locking storage.

With the loss of the glove box, materials that typically are kept in the glove box, such as owner’s manuals, can be stored in the under area of the shift console peninsula. But even this space required an adjustment. To help keep items from slipping off the shelf and into the driver’s foot space, the console has about a 2-inch taller lip on the driver’s side versus an inch lip on the passenger side.

Shadow Illumination

Embedded lighting in the door panels is used in the RZ 450e to create a sense of luxury.

Embedded lighting is used in the RZ 450e to create a sense of luxury.

Part of Lexus’ plan to redefine luxury is using shadow illumination. The upper front door panels are embedded with a span of light that creates a decorative pattern. Trouble is, the pattern is only visible at night. During the day, the door panels are rather bland looking. In the Luxury model, users have a choice of 50 ambient interior colors and 14 themes.

Vortex Generators

Vortex Generators at the end of the roof are intended to channel air flow down the glass to sweep away rain.

Vortex Generators are intended to channel air flow down the glass to sweep away rain.

At the roof’s end at the back glass, the so-called vortex generators channel airflow down the glass, eliminating the need for a rear wiper arm. In theory, the downward flow of air could be effective at highway speeds. But in town, those vortex generators will do nothing to clear away rain, heavy morning dew, or frost.

Illuminated Logo

An illuminated front logo, $200, also lights up when the RZ is charging.The RZ will be recognizable at night by the optional lighted front Lexus logo, $200. The logo also illuminates when charging.

Lexus RZ Pricing and Warranties

Starting prices listed below include the $1,150 freight charge from Motomachi Plant in Toyota City, Japan.

Premium with 18-inch wheels: $60,800;

Premium with 20-inch wheels: $62,040;

Luxury: $66,300.

Check here for current pricing and incentives.

Competing EVs to the RZ 450e include the Audi etron, Genesis GV60, Jaguar iPace, Polestar 2, Tesla Model Y, and Volvo XC40 Recharge.

A two tone paint option for Ether and Black paint is $1,200.

Two-tone Ether and Black paint, $1,200.

Color Choices

The RZ has a selection of five paint colors, including the new Ether blue. Four of the hues are $500 each, and only Caviar (black) is a no-cost choice. There also are two two-tone choices of Ether and Black Onyx or Cloudburst Gray and Black Onyx, $1,200 each.

And there are three interior color options: Thunderstorm and Macadamia, Palomino, and Dapple Gray.

Lexus RZ Warranties

  • 10-years/150,000-miles high-voltage battery;
  • 4-years/50,000-miles bumper to bumper;
  • 6-years/70,000-miles powertrain;
  • 2 free scheduled maintenance service appointments at 6-months/5,000-miles (whichever is earlier) and 12-months/10,000-miles;
  • Roadside assistance: 4-years/unlimited mileage

RZ Incentives and Rebates

The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e does not qualify for the Federal Electric Vehicle Tax Credit because it is built in Japan, not the United States. And because Lexus and Toyota have exceeded the government’s 200,000-unit limit. However, the RZ does qualify for some state and regional perks. The California Clean Fuel Reward amount has been temporarily reduced to $0 from $750.

As of this posting, information for the California Clean Vehicle Rebate for the Lexus RZ 450e was unavailable. When active, the rebate was $2,000. Participants are eligible based on gross annual income, as stated on their federal tax return.

Toyota created this incentive finder for federal, state, and municipality incentives.

The RZ 450e also qualifies for California (and other states) High-Occupancy-Vehicle freeway access, with the green DMV decal

Lexus Reserve

This new Lexus Reserve program aims to reduce “range anxiety” for drivers who don’t want to plan a driving trip around stops at charging stations. RZ 450e owners and lessees can rent another Lexus vehicle from their dealer for free. The program provides 30 days of a rental that can be used for three years from the date of purchase or lease. RZ 450e owners also will have access to a concierge guest experience to answer BEV questions.

Lexus RZ Buyer Demographics

Lexus expects the target customer for the RZ 450e will be:

  • Highly educated professionals and city and suburban residents;
  • Higher than average household income of $175,000-plus;
  • Older millennials and couples or families, with an even split of male and female buyers.
  • Lexus loyalists moving up from the comparably sized RX SUV or compact NX, and Toyota-brand move-ups.
  • First-time EV buyers who waited to make an intentional, refined choice.

Redefining Lexus Luxury

Lightweight materials are essential when building an EV. The lighter the curb weight, the farther the battery range. But the traditional materials that define a luxury car are heavy — leather upholstery, wood or metallic trim, and extensive power-operated features.

Instead, Lexus presents new interior design and materials, with special lighting effects to create a luxurious impression.

NuLuxe synthetic leather (half the weight of leather) is the standard upholstery in Premium models. And manufactured Ultrasuede fabric is standard for the Luxury. Luxury models also have access to an optional Tsuyasumi film, which has a shiny charcoal effect on the center console.

The minimalist interior treatment, however, might not appeal to the traditional buyer accustomed to Lexus’ pampering features.

More standard features are highlighted in the specs box at the end of this story.

Interior Function

There are five USB charging ports in the RZ cabin. Three USB Type-C ports with a wireless charger are on the lower instrument panel. Back-seat passengers have two Type-C USB ports at the base of the center console.

A standard 14-inch touchscreen has high-definition clarity for infotainment, navigation display, and the panoramic view monitor. The Luxury adds a 10-inch-wide head-up windshield display.

Tall headroom of 39.8 inches with the pano roof is spacious enough for 6-foot-6 occupants. Legroom is a comfortable stretch at 42.1 inches.

Driver controls are traditional with intuitive function and reach. And sightlines are open at the side windows and across the hood. Rearward views are slim out the back glass, but the panoramic view camera system is a great enabler in tight parking situations.

There is a standard 10-speaker sound system or an optional 13-speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound system.

Back seat space is reasonably accommodating, but legroom of 38 inches is not limo-like, depending on who is sitting ahead.

The fast slope of the roof crops some cargo space, but Lexus says there is width for a golf bag at the tailgate entry. Or fold the second row for up flat space of 48 cubic feet.

Back seat legroom of 38 inches can be tight when tall occupants are seated ahead. Shown is the Palomino NuLuxe upholstery.

Back seat legroom of 38 inches can be tight when tall occupants are seated ahead.

Driving the RZ

At the recent media launch in San Diego, journalists could drive both trim levels of RZ in 18- and 20-inch wheels. The RZs were preproduction models but appeared production ready. Still, it is the procedure for preproduction media vehicles to be well-prepped for the perception of full function. The production version, however, might have differences. The following observations came after driving various short routes in the area.

The first thing prospective buyers will notice about the RZ 450e is its styling. Lexus embraced its “spindle” grille treatment but as a complete spindle body design. The RZ exterior is a movement of angles, arcs, and aerodynamic twists and turns.

Noise Calmed Cabin

Once buckled in place, the second aspect of the RZ will be the cabin’s quietness. Lexus is proud of its ability to filter out unpleasant noise and harshness. In my experience, this cabin might be the quietest of any in the high-luxury segment. The quiet is so penetrating that it is relaxing.

While the Premium model is luxuriously calmed, the Luxury model adds acoustic front and rear side window glass for the vault feel.

Another quieting aid is the tires. For the stable ride quality Lexus wanted, the RZ has staggered-width tires, wider at the rear. The Luxury model preserves its hushed cabin with ultra-high performance Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 060 20-inch tires 235/50. These are soft and grippy tires. But know that the treadwear rating (UTQG) for these ultra-performance Dunlops is a low 280. That number translates to a tread lifespan of around 25,000 miles or so. And plan on purchasing snow tires for driving in winter weather.

The Premium model is fitted with 18-inch Bridgestone Turanza EL450 (235/60) all-season touring tires. The Turanza EL450 has a more durable treadwear rating of 400. For a UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading) comparison, a midsize all-season touring tire for a crossover SUV will have ratings as high as 700 to 800.

Parking is uncomplicated with a turning circle of 36.8 feet or a little more with 20-inch tires. And there is the Advanced Park system as part of the $1,475 Technology package. Use Advanced Park to find and automatically park horizontally or nose-in. The package includes the Digital Key app and the 10-inch head-up display.

The Luxury model rolls quietly on 20-inch ultra-high-performance Dunlop tires.

The Luxury model rolls quietly on 20-inch ultra-high-performance Dunlop tires.

RZ Safety Technologies

Under its skin, the RZ 450e has an advanced neural network of safety and driver-assist technologies. Lexus’ driver-assist systems are among the most steady and predictable for lane-centering and vehicle control, without frightening alerts to potential intrusions from other vehicles.

Leading the lineup of tech is the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0. Among its assist features are:

PCS — Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection.

DRCC — All-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control: In highway driving, the adaptive cruise system uses radar and camera technology to help keep the vehicle at a preset speed and distance from vehicles ahead, even in stop-and-go traffic.

CSM — Curve Speed Management, within DRCC. A new feature to help manage speed in curves when cruise control is engaged.

LTA — Lane Tracing Assist. Lines on the road or a preceding vehicles give active assistance to keep the vehicle centered in its lane;

LDA w/SA — Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist;

PDA — Proactive Driving Assist: Initiates gradual braking into curves or braking and steering to maintain distance control between the vehicle and a preceding vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist;

Risk Avoidance Emergency Steer Assist: Objects in the lane can be avoided by gentle braking and steering under certain daytime conditions;

Left Turn Oncoming Vehicle Detection/Braking.

The open RZ hood shows th e The electric powertrain modules and control hardware.

The electric powertrain modules and control hardware under the hood.

Lexus RZ Powertrain

The Lexus RZ 450e has a total system power of 308 hp, generated by two dual permanent-magnet synchronous motors. The dual-motor setup has a 150 kW motor at the front and an 80 kW rear. Transferring power is a single-speed e-Axle.

Either model, Lexus says, can launch to 60 mph in 5 seconds.

A “skateboard” style battery pack is positioned under the floor, extending from about the engine-bay firewall to just ahead of the back seat. The 96 cells of lithium-ion batteries generate 355 volts for total battery power of 71.4 kWh; the battery capacity is 201 Ah (ampere-hours).

Lexus uses water-cooling and water-heating systems to protect the battery pack from temperature swings.

RZ acceleration can be brisk and forceful, depending on how hard the accelerator is used. RZ performance can be manipulated by four drive modes of Normal, Sport, Eco, and Range. Range mode switches off the air-conditioning system and applies a more rear-wheel-drive bias.

I’m always conservative when driving an EV, but Sport is a go-to in heavy traffic to help guard my line.

There is no “e-pedal” driving, in which the vehicle can be slowed to a stop by lifting off the accelerator pedal. Instead, paddle shifters at the steering wheel can be used to vary the amount of regenerative braking force.

Lexus RZ Charging Times

Under ideal conditions, the RZ can fully recharge in about 9.5 hours with a Level 2 charger, and from 0-80 percent in approximately 30 minutes with a DC fast charger.

The RZ comes with a Level 1 vehicle-charging cable for 120-volt outlets. And all models are equipped with a Combined Charging System (CCS) socket for at-home and public charging.

For at-home charging, most Lexus dealers offer an option to purchase a ChargePoint Home Flex Level 2 charger ($749, not including installation) at the dealership or directly from ChargePoint. ChargePoint Home Flex is Energy Star certified and Wi-Fi connected. The charger can be installed indoors or outdoors and comes with a 23-foot charging cable. The home charger can add up to 25 miles of range per hour and fully recharge the battery when plugged in overnight.

For help in charger selection and installation, Lexus recommends Qmerit.

The installation service can help locate a certified electrician to install the EV charger and provide an initial free quote. Customers will be provided information on Qmerit during their purchase checkout process at participating dealers.

The open charge door on the left front fender of the RZ

150kW rapid charging can add 10-80 percent in around 30 minutes.

Curb Weights

Heavy electric cars are not always dynamic to drive. While the RZ is not exactly sporty in its handling, sportiness was important in suspension engineering.

Lightweighting features and technologies in developing the RZ have made it among the lighter EVs in its size segment. The RZ weighs 200 to 300 pounds less than competitors such as the Volvo, Mustang Mach-e, or the VW ID.4. The RZ weighs a whopping 1,296 pounds less than the Cadillac Lyriq.

The RZ Premium model weighs 4,586 pounds with 20-inch wheels, and 4,619 pounds for the Luxury model. Hefting that weight smoothly is a challenge, especially with SUV height. But the suspension engineering creates a truly svelte ride quality. There is no objectionable bottoming-out jounce and rebound as the dampers adjust to catch and control the heave of weight.

RZ Suspension, Steering, Braking

The RZ suspension is not overly sophisticated. It is comprised of front MacPherson-type struts and a rear trailing arm multi-link configuration. Both assemblies are tuned and located for handling balance, roll posture, and ride comfort.

At the rear, Frequency Reactive Dampers alter the dampening force on the extension stroke in response to road surface frequency input. The FRD works to provide a high level of handling stability, Lexus says.

Also neatly dialed in with the suspension are the steering response and braking engagement. The drive-by-wire steering is constant in turns, but I could not discern any road feedback.

Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes have 12.9-inch front rotors and 12.5 inches rear. The regenerative braking has no on-off effect as the brake pedal is applied and pushes through to the engagement point. Drivers will value the smooth engagement when nosing their RZ into a parking space with a vehicle or wall ahead.

Folded seatback of the open cargo area

The fast slope of the roof crops some cargo space, but Lexus says there is width for a golf bag.

Reinventing the Wheel

The automotive industry is in the middle of a once-in-a-century transition from internal-combustion propulsion to electric. And Lexus, too, is in a pivotal moment of major transformation, said Greg Kitzens, Lexus marketing GM.

Lexus aims to sell fully electric vehicles worldwide by 2035, with the hope of selling 1 million EVs globally in 2030, Kitzens said at a recent media test drive. (According to industry reports, Toyota targets global sales of 3.5 million EVs in that time frame.)

Electrified vehicles are not new to Lexus. The brand launched its first gasoline-electric hybrid RX SUV in 2004 and today has seven hybrid or plug-in electric vehicles in its lineup.

Electrification of existing Lexus and Toyota vehicles was the faster route to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to help slow climate change. The world’s largest automaker is now being criticized for not launching more battery-electric models.

It was a simple business plan, with some consideration of the planet, Kitzens said on the sidelines of the RZ media drive.

“The battery resources to build one battery-electric vehicle could instead be used to build six plug-in electric Lexus vehicles or 90 gasoline-electric hybrids,” Kitzens said. He was citing research by Gil Pratt, Toyota Motors’ chief scientist and executive fellow for research.

Today, Toyota Motor is at work on a wholly re-engineered, next-generation platform dedicated to battery electric vehicles arriving in 2026. It is a “BEV-first mindset,” but with a balanced approach that will include plug-ins and hybrids.

With lithium as scarce as it is, automakers can reduce carbon emissions more quickly through a multipronged approach to electrification that includes hybrids rather than focusing exclusively on fully electric vehicles, said Pratt in an Automotive News report.

A rear view of a blue RZ 450e

The RZ styling is a movement of angles, arcs, and aerodynamic twists and turns.

Why Buy the Lexus RZ 450e?

The RZ 450e doesn’t set any charging speeds, driving range, or powertrain efficiency benchmarks. But Toyota and Lexus focus on the real-world range for reliability and battery life.

Don’t get hung up on competitors’ claims of 300 or more miles of battery driving. With a home charger, it really doesn’t matter if your EV has a range of 200 or 350 miles. You’ll both meet at the public charging station on a long driving trip.

Either RZ model is favorably priced as a luxury electric SUV.

A nicely equipped Premium model will cost around $63,415. A nicely optioned Luxury model with such extras as two-tone paint ($1,200), the cold-weather package ($200) and another $200 for the illuminated Lexus grille logo, and the Dynamic Sky roof ($550) will run $67,300.

For the $3,885 pricing difference, I prefer the Luxury model for the complete Lexus luxury treatment.

2023 Lexus RZ 450e Specifications

Body style: midsize, 5-door, 5-seat electric SUV with standard AWD

Motors: dual permanent magnet synchronous, 150 kW front, 80 kW rear

Total system power: 308 hp

Transmission: e-Axle single speed

Battery: 355-volt lithium-ion with 71.4 kWh total battery power from 96 cells

EPA-estimated driving range: 220 miles with 18-inch tires; 196 miles with 20-inch tires

Fuel economy equivalents: 115/98/107 mpg-e city/hwy/combined with 18-inch tires; 102/87/95 mpg-e with 20-inch tires

Top speed: 99 mph

0-60 mph acceleration: 5 seconds

AC Charging Times

Level 1, 110-120 volts, from 0-100 percent, around 50 hours;

Level 2: 240-volt, 32 amp (7 kW), around 9.5 hours

DC Fast Charging Times

400-amp, 150 kW: 0 to 80 percent, around 30 minutes

Charger output: 6.6 kWh


Cargo space: 24 to 48 cubic feet

Front head/leg room: 39.8/42.1 inches

Rear head/leg room: 39.7/38 inches

Length/wheelbase: 189.2/112.2 inches

Curb weights

Premium 18-inch wheels: 4,564 pounds

Premium 20-inch wheels: 4,586 pounds

Luxury: 4,619 pounds

Turning circle: 36.8 feet


Standard Luxury model equipment includes: Panorama glass roof, NuLuxe-trimmed seats and interior door trim, 14-inch touchscreen infotainment-navigation display, panoramic view monitor, 10-inch head-up windshield display, wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, wireless phone charging pad and 5 USB charging ports, single-color ambient lighting with Shadow Illumination, electric parking brake, heated and ventilated front seats, paddle shifters with regenerative braking force indicator, memory presets for driver’s seat-steering wheel-side mirrors, digital rearview mirror, power liftgate with kick sensor, 10 air bags;


  • Premium model: 18-inch Bridgestone Turanza EL450 all-season touring, 235/60 front, 255/55 rear
  • Luxury model: 20-inch Dunlop SP Sport Maxx ultra-high performance, 235/50 front, 255/45 rear

Safety features and technologies include: 10 air bags, Advanced Park and Intuitive Parking Assist with auto braking, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, Lexus Safety System+ 3.0

Where assembled: Motomachi Plant, Toyota City, Japan


  • 4-years/50,000-miles bumper to bumper;
  • 6-years/70,000-miles powertrain;
  • 2 free scheduled maintenance service visits at 6-months/5,000-miles and 12-months/10,000-miles;
  • High-voltage battery warranty: 10-years/150,000-miles;
  • Roadside assistance: 4-years/unlimited mileage
Read more

Subaru BRZ Review

Like a good red wine, the 2023 Subaru BRZ has gotten better with age. It has earned its tire wear as a sports car — not an “sporty” car with apologies

An exterior view of the a blue BRZ

The 2023 Subaru BRZ is offered in two trim levels of Premium and Limited. Pricing starts at $29,615 for the Premium and $32,115 for the Limited. (Photos courtesy of Subaru or as credited).

Table of Contents

2022 Subaru BRZ redesign
2023 BRZ Pricing
Ride and Handling
Suspension, Braking, Steering
Interior Function
Why Buy the 2023 Subaru BRZ?


The Subaru BRZ is a dagger of inspiration when it’s time to cut to the chase. This rear-wheel drive, subcompact 2-plus-2 coupe has a snick-shift attitude with steely resolve. And by 2023 standards, it’s almost cheap to buy. Pricing starts at $29,615.

2022 Subaru BRZ Redesign

When the first BRZ launched in 2012 as a 2013 model, it was basically a badge-engineered model of the Scion FR-S. And when the Scion brand died in 2016, Toyota adopted it as the 86, or “eight-six” to purists. (In 2008, Toyota bought 16.5 percent of Fuji Heavy Industries, which includes the Subaru automotive brand.)

With its 200-hp, 2.0-liter engine (205-hp for automatic-equipped models), the first BRZ was a tepid performer that looked faster than it was.

That all changed with the redesigned and re-engineered second-generation 2022 BRZ. It introduced the 2.4-liter engine, the gear-changer that transformed the BRZ from a “sporty” car to a sports car.

Moving the BRZ to the Subaru Global Platform brought a 50-percent boost in twisting stiffness. The stiffer body allows a more responsive turn-in and throttle steering control.

The new body has been lightened with an aluminum roof, front fenders, and hood. With the reduced body weight, the center of gravity is now lower than the first-gen model, Subaru says — putting the BRZ on par with exotic hyper-cars.

The double-bubble roof design is just part of the aerodynamically enhanced body design. Other design elements include:

•An engine undercover insulator;

•Front fender air outlet;

•Body color rocker spoiler;

•An integrated trunk spoiler.

The 3 spoke steering wheel in the BRZ

A heated three-spoke wheel, and three pedals.

2023 Subaru BRZ Pricing

BRZ is available in two trim levels of Premium and Limited (today’s tester). Premium pricing starts at $29,615. It has the same performance elements as the Limited but with fewer interior upgrades. Among the standard BRZ fare is smart-key locking with push-button ignition, 17-inch wheels, fabric upholstery, a six-speaker audio system, and the leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel with red stitching.

The Limited starts at $32,115. It has such upgrades as leather-and-Ultrasuede-trimmed performance front seats, BRIN NAUB nubuck-like trim on the instrument panel visor and door trim, an eight-speaker audio system, and blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert. Get the list of standard equipment in the specs box at the end of this story.

Retail prices include the $1,020 freight charge from Gunma, Japan.

Check here for current pricing and offers.

The integrated trunk-lid spoiler.

The integrated trunk-lid spoiler.

Sporty BRZ Accessories Include

Rear Bumper Diffuser, $699.95: Lower rear body panel helps to direct airflow and adds a sculpted finished appearance.

STI Flexible V-Bar, $429.95: The performance-tuned STI Flexible V-Bar tightens steering response, stability, and cornering grip.

STI Shift Knob (for manual shifter), $216: A statement piece of aluminum and leather materials.

*Accessory prices do not include dealer installation.

A snick-shift six-speed manual.

A snick-shift six-speed manual.

BRZ Powertrain

In 2013, the co-developed engine began as a naturally aspirated flat-four 2.0-liter. At 200 horsepower, it was underpowered. But it was a debut for Toyota’s D-4S — Dynamic Force ‘Superior’ with direct and port fuel injection. The pairing improves fuel atomization while the port side is a self-cleaning feature to help rinse injector carbon build-up.

Fast forward to the 2022 redesign, and the new FA24 2.4-liter is still a “boxer” with horizontally opposed cylinders. The engine has 228 horsepower and a peak torque rating of 184 foot-pounds at 3,700 rpm. The sophisticated mighty-mite has a high-compression ratio of 12.5:1, requiring the energy of premium fuel.

Power delivery is by choice of six-speed transmissions, either a stick with a Torsen limited-slip differential or automatic. The automatic — $1,500 in the Premium, $1,700 in Limited — includes adaptive control, manual shift mode, downshift engine blipping, and steering wheel paddle shifters. Opting for the automatic also adds Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology.

Both gearboxes have a Track mode and Traction Control Off switch. And for those who actually run their BRZ through a performance course, the tire pressure monitoring system has individual tire pressure displays and registrations for two sets of wheels, such as for your race rubber.

Testers at managed a 0-60 mph acceleration run in 6.1 seconds in a manual BRZ Limited. “That’s almost a second quicker than the previous version and similar to the acceleration of the latest Golf GTI (5.9 seconds) and Mazda Miata (6 seconds),” wrote senior vehicle test editor Kurt Niebuhr.

Fuel economy ratings for the manual are 20/27/22 mpg. I worked up to 29.3 mpg on a longer highway run. The automatic offers an incremental mileage improvement of 21/30/25 mpg city/highway/combined.

The 24-liter 'boxer' four cylinder engine in the BRZ

The FA24 ‘boxer’ 2.4-liter has 228 hp and peak torque of 184 foot-pounds at 3,700 rpm.

BRZ Ride and Handling

The more powerful 2.4-flat four-cylinder has the guts to pull steady from liftoff to interstate cruising. It is an eager scrapper that does not blow past the pleasure of feeling the suspension give and take. A reassuring push is felt in the driver’s seat from rear-wheel control.

There is no need to rush shifts. The engine’s 184 foot-pounds of peak torque are easily finessed with the six-speed stick. The clutch is light and the gears engage with steely engagement, and I never missed a one in my week of testing. (A seven-speed gearbox might help fuel economy, but I liked the control of the six-speed.)

Hill-start assist eliminates clutching anxiety — there’s about a 3-second hold before the backward roll.

Despite a low-slung stance and driving position, the BRZ is not prone to chin-scraping at every low dip in the road or driveway. However, while idling in traffic, I was looking into the ass-end of a Prius, and just about any other car.

At speed on the highway, the BRZ is a maelstrom of sounds. There is a rush of road noise and wind noise. But this is a sports car, and the rage of sounds can be forgiven. Tach it up, and revs in the higher rpms start speaking in enthusiast’s tongues.

The customizable 7-inch digital instrument panel.

The customizable 7-inch digital instrument panel.

Suspension, Braking, Steering

Underpinning the BRZ is a four-wheel independent suspension. The front has MacPherson-type struts with lower L-arms, coil springs, a stabilizer bar, and a strut tower brace. At the rear is a double wishbone with coil springs, stab bar, and anti-lift engineering.

Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes have 11.6-inch front rotors with dual-piston calipers. At the rear, 11.4-inch rotors with a single pot caliper.

Quick-ratio rack-and-pinion has well-calibrated electric assist. The turning circle is a tidy 35.4 feet.

Tires on the Premium model are 17-inch summer performance, 215/45. The Limited’s 18-inch tires are Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer performance, 215/40. Both models have a tire repair kit, not a spare.

The Limited’s 18-inch tires are Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer performance

The Limited’s 18-inch tires are Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer performance, 215/40. (Mark Maynard)

BRZ Curb Weights

The Limited manual weighs 2,864 pounds or just 49 pounds more than the Premium. (Compared to the first-gen model, the 2023 BRZ manual is just 88 pounds heavier.) Opting for the automatic shifter adds just 17 pounds for the Limited or 20 lbs. for the Premium.

Ultrasuede-trimmed performance buckets in the BRZ

Ultrasuede-trimmed performance buckets.

Interior Function

Settle into the cockpit, and you’ll notice some functional roominess. Headroom of 37 inches will be limiting to some, but a 6-foot-6 friend had no problem getting comfortable behind the wheel.

Sightlines are surprisingly open for such a low and swoopy body style.

There is much carryover content and materials between the BRZ and its alt-ego Toyota GR86. But there are subtle differences. For one, the BRZ has an electric parking brake, and the Toyota GR86 has a hand brake, which is beneficial for scooting the rear end at the apex of the slalom. Otherwise, Subaru’s interior treatment has premium appeal.

The Limited adds a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel and shifter, Ultrasuede-trimmed performance front seats, heated front seats, carpeted floor mats with red stitching and BRZ logo, and a six-way manual driver’s seat.

Interior space is compact with a modular Subaru Starlink 8-inch multimedia audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The screen doubles as a decent-sized rearview camera. Navigation is via the Starlink app.

The eight-speaker audio system works hard but is challenged by the noisy ride.

My daily complaint was how the seat belt cut across my neck. There is a guide loop, but it unsnapped almost immediately after securing the belt.

The very small back seats in the BRZ

The back seats make a better platform with the seatback folded. (Mark Maynard)

Back Seat and Cargo Space

Back seat space is a mere suggestion. Technically, there are 29.9 inches of legroom, but that becomes zero-inches with any occupant in the front seats. But fold the seatback, and there is about 5 feet in length for sports gear.

The BRZ cargo space with the back seat folded

Fold the seatback for about 5 feet in length. (Mark Maynard)

Why Buy the 2023 Subaru BRZ?

Like a good red wine, the Subaru BRZ has improved with age. It has earned its tire wear as a sports car, not a mere “sporty” car.

There is simple and honest integrity to the 2023 Subaru BRZ. Unlike some high-strung performance coupes, the BRZ is an everyday driver that does not extract a pound of muscle pain upon entry or exit.

It is built for fun, and the BRZ lets it rip with precision. It seems as if it should cost more, but just grab it and run with it like you stole it.

A rear view of a bold, blue BRZ

The second-gen BRZ has a lower center of gravity than the first-gen model.

2023 Subaru BRZ Limited Specifications

Body style: subcompact, 2+2 rear-wheel-drive coupe with aluminum hood, front fenders and roof

Engine: FA24 228-hp 2.4-liter, horizontally opposed (‘boxer’) 4-cylinder with direct and port fuel injection with multi-spray injectors), aluminum alloy cylinder block and cylinder heads; 184 lb.-ft. torque at 3,700 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual with Torsen limited-slip differential

Fuel economy: 20/27/22 mpg on the recommended premium fuel

0-60 mph acceleration: 6.1 seconds *per


Fuel tank: 13.2 gallons

Trunk space: 6.3 cubic feet

Front head/leg room: 37/41.5 inches

Rear head/leg room: 33.5/29.9 inches

Length/wheelbase: 167.9/101.4 inches

Width/height: 69.9/51.6 inches

Curb weight: 2,864 pounds

Turning circle: 35.4 feet


Limited model standard equipment includes: smart-key entry and push-button ignition, rearview camera, steering responsive LED high and low beam headlights, LED running lights, Subaru Starlink 8-inch multimedia audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, 8-speaker audio system with satellite radio, carpeted floor mats with red stitching and BRZ logo, heated front seats, leather-wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel and shifter, Ultrasuede trimmed performance-design front seats, 6-way manual driver’s seat, fold-down rear seatback, 18-inch alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer performance tires (215/40)

Safety features include: 7 air bags, stability and traction controls, blind-spot detection with cross-traffic alert, brake-force distribution, brake assist


Limited base price: $32,115, including $1,020 freight charge; price as tested $32,115

Options on test vehicle: None

Where assembled: Gunma, Japan

Warranties: 3-years/36,000-miles bumper to bumper with roadside assistance; 5-years/60,000-miles powertrain

Read more

Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Review

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 gives a leg up as a family-class adventure SUV with standard all-wheel drive

A trail side view of a Mazda CX 50in zircon sand metallic paint

The 2023 Mazda CX-30 Turbo is sold exclusively with all-wheel drive. Turbo model pricing starts at $43,575. (Photos courtesy of Mazda or as credited)

Table of Contents

Mazda CX-50 Overview
Going Up the Country
CX-5 to CX-50 Comparo
CX-50 Powertrains
Curb Weight Dilemma
Ride and Handling
Driver-Assist Technologies
Back Seats and Cargo
Why Buy the Mazda CX-50?


The Mazda CX-50 crossover SUV is a stepping stone along the brand’s plan to move upmarket. The brand’s evolution has been ongoing since the slightly larger CX-30 replaced the CX-3. Next is the larger CX-90 three-row SUV replacing the CX-9.

The CX-50 shares sales space with the smaller CX-5, which is likely to be phased out as the sophistication of the CX-50 is recognized. After all, the 2023 CX-50 starts at just $850 more than the CX-5. The larger CX-50 is marketed as an off-road adventure vehicle, Mazda says. Both models are the brand’s top sellers, hitting a combined 16,575 sales at the end of 2022.

The 2023 Mazda MX-30 EV goes on sale in California dealerships this spring but in limited numbers. Mazda says the MX-30 is a full battery-electric small SUV that will work best for urban drivers. It has a 35.5 kWh lithium-ion battery and a driving range of 100 miles. Sold in two trim levels, starting prices are $35,385 and $38,395. Built in Hiroshima, Japan, pricing includes the $1,275 freight charge.

Competitors to the Mazda CX-50 include the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Kia Sportage, and Toyota RAV4. Some of these have their own “X,” “Wilderness,” and “Off Road” trim levels.

The driver area with wide infotainment screen for the camera, navigation, and cabin controls

A 10.25-inch center display for the rearview camera, maps, apps, and other cabin controls.

Mazda CX-50 Overview

Mazda USA has plans to move the brand upmarket to generate higher revenue per vehicle, according to a report in Automotive News. And at the same time, Mazda is going country, or at least more adventurous in how its vehicles are equipped.

The CX-50 was developed for North America, particularly to support customers’ active and outdoor lifestyles in this region, Jeff Guyton, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations, said in a release.

Guyton also said there are plans (in the coming years) to offer an electrified CX-50, including a traditional hybrid model, which will use a Toyota system. More information about electrified models will be shared later, he said.

Trail-riding capability is necessary for those just starting their journey into an active lifestyle, Guyton said. Among the capability elements are standard all-wheel drive, high-strength roof rails, and reinforced B-pillars and door jambs for strapping gear to the roof.

The CX-50 is the first Mazda vehicle to be assembled at the new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM) plant in Huntsville, Ala.

A view of the front passenger area with the new terracotta colored leather upholster.

The CX-50 debuts a terracotta interior color with heated and ventilated front seats.

Going Up the Country

Whether the adventure trend is pandemic based or just a general malaise of urban bitchiness, carmakers are adding off-road-influenced SUVs to help people get the hell out of town. There are lots of jacked-up pickup choices, but the uprated adventure SUVs are fewer but growing.

Long the territory of Jeep and Subaru, the dual-sport SUV choices are growing:

• Ford Motor staked its claim to the outdoors with the new Bronco and Bronco Sport, both with elevated pricing.

• Toyota now offers two adventure-oriented models of the RAV4 (Adventure and RAV4 TRD Off-Road), with a range of quality survival accessories.

• Honda has its Passport TrailSport, $45,000, with standard i-VTM4 all-wheel drive and a 5,000-pound towing capacity. The TrailSport has a 10mm wider track for trail stability and an increased ground clearance of 8.1 inches.

• Kia has an X-Pro trim for the Sportage.

And now Mazda is joining the trend in family-class adventure SUVs with the compact-class, five-seat CX-50.

Mazda has engineered its famed sport-tuned handling into the CX-50, but its off-roading credentials are caught in a crossfire.

It has rugged fender overriders for trail riding, but the suspension is not raised. Ground clearance of 8.6 inches (or 8.5 for the Meridian Edition) is slightly more than half an inch more than for the CX-5. The wider CX-50 on the longer wheelbase with 20-inch tires also has a wide turning circle of at least 39 feet. However, the tester was able to curl neatly into tight parking spaces. Making a U-turn on the trail might be less tidy.

A Meridian Edition CX-50 pulling a camping teardrop trailer on a forest trail

The CX-50 has a 3,500-pound tow rating with the turbo engine.

CX-5 to CX-50 Comparo

Owners who know the CX-5 will likely immediately notice the larger body of the CX-50. Here is a look at other size comparisons:

Wheelbase: The CX-50 wheelbase is a significant 4.6 inches longer than the CX-5. The longer wheelbase gives the CX-50 a more settled highway ride.

Overall length: The CX-50 is 5.7 inches longer, mainly benefiting cargo space. Back-seat legroom has a generous reach of 39.8 inches, but that depends on the person sitting ahead and how far back their seat is positioned.

Body Width: Total body width with the side mirrors folded is 3 inches wider at 80.8 inches (mirror to mirror). However, cabin space from door to door is 1.2 inches narrower in the front seats but 1.2 inches wider in the back seats.

Body height, with the shark fin antenna: The CX-50 roof is 2.4 inches lower than the CX-5, or 66.3 vs. 63.9 inches for CX-50.

Front head and legroom: With the lower roofline, headroom in the CX-50 was trimmed by about a half inch to 38.6 inches vs. 39.2 inches in the CX-5. Legroom gains 0.7 inch or 41.7 inches vs 41 in the CX-5.

Rear legroom: The CX-50 gains just 0.2 inch in rear legroom, or 39.8 vs. 39.6. The rear bench is short on thigh support, and the seatback is somewhat erect with no recline function; that complicates comfort for adults but is acceptable for the school carpool.

Cargo space: The CX-50 has less than a cubic foot of space (0.9 cu.ft.) than the CX-5. Using the EPA measurement standard, there are 30.9 cubic feet of space behind the back seat vs. 30 cu.ft. in the CX-5.

A view of the dashboard to show off the baseball-type cross stitching in terracotta color

Baseball-style cross stitching shows off the more premium interior elements.

2023 Mazda CX-50 Pricing

There are 10 trim levels of the 2023 Mazda CX-50, all with all-wheel drive, a choice of two 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, and a six-speed automatic transmission.

Starting prices, including the freight charge, range from $28,825 with black fabric upholstery to the midrange CX-50 2.5 S Preferred with black leatherette and gray fabric trim. The top-line CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus (today’s tester) starts at $43,575.

The new-for-2023 Meridian Edition, $38,830, has a few more outdoorsy elements, such as black metallic 18-inch alloy wheels and all-terrain Falken Tires (225/60). Other Meridian-unique features include a matte black hood graphic, black wheel locks and lug nuts, and side rocker panels to help fend off scrapes and stone chips to the body.

The Meridian Edition has its own paint colors of Polymetal Gray or Zircon Sand exterior paint, $395 each. All seven paint colors are metallic. Only Jet Black Mica and Ingot Blue Metallic are no-cost choices; Machine Gray Metallic is $595.

New this year is the two-tone interior of Terracotta leather with black interior accents.

Mazda’s Mi-Drive is a standard feature with driving modes of Normal, Sport, Off-Road, and Towing. The Turbo models have a tow rating of 3,500 pounds.

Check here for current pricing and offers.

The panoramic sunroof, a first for Mazda

The panoramic moonroof is a first for Mazda.

Meridian Apex Package

Boosting the Meridian equipment list is the optional Apex Package, $1,235. It includes roof-mounted black crossbars, a roof platform, and front and rear splash guards. The roof platform allows customers to secure even more outdoor equipment, including the rooftop tent from Mazda’s accessory line.

Meridian Choice Package

Optional for any CX-50 model in either powertrain is the Meridian Choice Package, $1,899. It is a dealer-installed option, including roof-mounted black crossbars, roof platform, front and rear splash guards, side rocker garnish, and black wheel locks and lug nuts. The package also includes a matte black hood graphic with a different design from that on the Meridian Edition.

The flat black hood graphic on the Meridian Edition

The flat black hood graphic on the Meridian Edition.

CX-50 Powertrains

Both four-cylinder engines for the CX-50 are designated Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter, with direct injection. And all models have a six-speed automatic transmission.

The base non-turbocharged engine has power ratings of 187 horsepower and peak torque of 186 foot-pounds at 4,000 rpm.

The twin-turbocharged Skyactiv-G 2.5 has split power ratings depending on the fuel used, 87 octane or premium fuel.

Running 87 octane, the 2.5 turbo has power ratings of 227 hp and 310 lb.-ft. torque at 2,000 rpm. Pay for the premium fuel, and the ratings rise to 256 hp and 320 lb.-ft. torque at 2,500 rpm.

Mazda cites no power improvement with premium fuel for the base engine. Neither Mazda nor the EPA indicates a variance in fuel-economy ratings between regular and premium.

Sport mode kicks the turbo engine into rapid acceleration without hesitation. I used Sport mode frequently in town because the uptake is sharp and the force is not abrupt or wheel-spinning. Sport is also strategic in the clogged daily commute to guard your line. Acceleration in Normal is more gradual but not power starved.

For those who plan to tow something into the wilderness, the turbocharged engine has a higher tow rating. It has a max towing capacity of 3,500 pounds vs. 2,000 pounds for the non-turbo engine.

The turbo engine has 227 horsepower

The twin turbocharged Skyactiv-G 2.5 has power ratings of 227-hp or 256-hp, whether running 87 octane or premium fuel. (Mark Maynard photo)

Fuel Economy Ratings

EPA estimated mileage ratings for the base 2.5-liter engine are 24 mpg city, 30 highway, and 27 mpg combined, on 87 octane. With a full 15.9-gallon tank, owners can expect a total driving range of 427 miles, per

The CX-50 2.5 Turbo has mileage ratings of 23/29/25 mpg city/hwy/combined on 87 octane, or a total range of 395 miles.

According to the onboard computer, most of my mileage around town was 15-16 mpg and up to 21-22 mpg on the highway. I’ll blame the reserved mileage on Sport mode. But it might be more than that.

The six speed automatic shift console

A six-speed automatic transmission is standard in all models of CX-50.

Curb Weight Dilemma

New owners gripe about CX-50 mileage, but its EPA fuel-economy ratings are just an mpg or three different from most of its competitors.

Curb weights tell another story that will influence fuel economy. The Mazda CX-50 is heavier than most of its compact all-wheel-drive competitors. The top-line tester weighs 3,907 pounds. The Honda CR-V is 19 pounds heavier but has the best EPA mileage ratings in the segment of 40/34/37 mpg.

Here is a look at other competitors’ curb weights with mileage ratings:

Subaru Forester Wilderness, 3,620 lbs. — heaviest of the Forester models; 25/28/26 mpg

Toyota RAV4 Adventure: 3,615 lbs.; 25/33/28 mpg

Hyundai Tucson: 3,666 lbs.; 23/28/25 mpg

Nissan Rogue: 3,737 lbs.; 28/34/31 mpg

Kia Sportage X-Pro Prestige: 3,834 lbs.; 23/28/25 mpg

The driver-info gauge array

A 7-inch LCD gauge display.

CX-50 Turbo Ride and Handling

In my test of the CX-50 Turbo, the highway ride was on glide control. It rode solid and steady at interstate speeds and with little variance, whether along California’s grooved concrete or blacktop.

As comfortably as the CX-50 rolls on the interstate, the ride is less svelte around town. The suspension is firm, even hard. I expect Mazda strapped down the CX-50 for sporty handling, but the ride can be jarring over bad pavement and potholes.

The front suspension uses MacPherson struts with a torsion-beam rear axle. Torsion beams are flat in design, which benefits cargo space, but the rear ride quality can feel clunky over bumps.

Mazda’s G-Vectoring traction-control system uses the center and rear differentials to control weight transfer, which is helpful on-road or off. There is confident front-end grip through enthusiastic cornering.

In the snow or dirt, Mazda’s i-Activ all-wheel-drive system is masterful at anticipating wheel slip before barely an inch of traction is lost. Mazda says it is a predictive system that monitors 27 sensors more than 200 times a second.

Rather than moving power “from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip,” the i-Active system directs engine torque to the necessary wheel to maintain forward momentum.

Mazda also stepped up and gave the CX-50 four-wheel disc brakes a millimeter or three larger than the competition. There are 12.8-inch ventilated rotors in front and 12.8-inch solid rotors rear.

Tire and wheel packages range from 17 inches on entry models to 18 inches on the off-road-focused Meridian Edition. Premium Plus and Turbo models are on 20-inchers. The Premium Plus Turbo tester was fitted with 20-inch Goodyear Eagle Touring tires 245/45.

The 20-inch black alloy wheels have bright outlines for a handsome appearance

Premium Plus and Turbo models are fitted with 20-inch Goodyear Eagle Touring tires. (Mark Maynard photo)

CX-50 Interior Function

The interior layout is ergonomically designed and straightforward to use. Sightlines are open across the hood and over the shoulder. But the 360-degree-view monitor in the Premium Plus package is an enabler when in tight parking situations.

The tester had desirable standard features, such as the heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, an eight-way power driver’s seat, and a six-way front passenger seat.

There is wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but a wireless phone charging pad is only offered in the top-trim Turbo Premium Plus. Nor is there an interior tailgate release, only at the tailgate and the key fob.

Interior textures and colors enhance a premium appearance. The tester’s terracotta-and-black leather upholstery, with perforated centers, is handsomely set off with terracotta-color baseball-type stitching. The stitching also spans the dashboard face and upper door panels.

Standard on upper-trim models is a panoramic moonroof, a first for Mazda.

Not so enjoyable for me is the nagging and insistent alert should the driver use left-foot braking with the accelerator. And the same tone nags until the seat belt is secured.

The list of standard features is highlighted in the specs box below.

The back seats in the CX-50

Back-seat legroom has a generous reach of 39.8 inches, but the seat bottom is short on thigh support, and the back is somewhat erect without recline.

Mazda CX-50 Accessories

Another notable omission in the CX-50’s list of features is a power inverter with a household plug. A power inverter, now typical in many new vehicles, allows external electrical devices to be used with power from the vehicle.

A power inverter is handy for outdoor enthusiasts to plug in an inflator for tires, air mattresses, and inner tubes or play video games.

A new owner can buy a plug-in inverter, but Mazda should have considered including this for their new adventure SUV.

Also missing among the standard features of the $43K tester was a retractable roller cover, a $225 accessory. In today’s rampant smash-and-grab thefts, the cover is essential equipment to help keep valuables out of view.

Otherwise, a few camping and road-trip accessories are listed below. But, of course, dealer pricing might vary, and installation is not included in the price.

Roof Top Tent, $1,899: The tent sleeps one or two and has large doors, windows, and skylights. Mazda claims four-season weather protection with a rainfly and waterproof coating. The package includes a ladder and 2.5-inch-thick foam mattress.

Roof Platform, $899: Strap down large items, such as a full-size spare tire. Crossbars are required, adding $350.

Trailer Hitch Cargo Box, $900. Add another 13 cubic feet of storage with this rear-mounted, waist-level box. It slots into most 2- and 1¼-inch hitch receivers — but the box also might create a tail-dragging scrape through dips in the trail.

All-Weather Floor Mats, $150. These heavy-duty rubber mats are ideal replacements for carpeted mats.

Cargo Blocks, $50. Brace your groceries, sports equipment, and other gear.

The CX-50 accessory bike mount with a mountain bike

A bike carrier, tent and roof platform are among the CX-50 accessories.

CX-50 Safety Ratings and Features

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the new Mazda CX-50 its highest award of Top Safety Pick+. In IIHS testing, the CX-50 earned good ratings in the institute’s six crashworthiness evaluations:
• Driver-side small overlap front
• Passenger-side small overlap front
• Moderate overlap front
• Original side
• Roof strength
• Head restraint tests

Its front crash prevention system earned a superior rating in the vehicle-to-vehicle and daytime vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations. The CX-50 also has good or acceptable rated headlights standard across all trims, garnering IIHS’s higher-tier award.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet tested the Mazda CX-50.

Driver-Assist Technologies

Mazda has equipped the CX-50 with a range of driver-assist technologies, but the grouping does not add up to Level 2 semi-autonomous driving.

Among the technologies are hill-launch assist, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and radar cruise control.

With the assist technologies activated, the CX-50 would not stay centered in the lane. Blind Spot Assist, however, will add a minor steering intervention to help the driver avoid a collision.

The Turbo Premium Plus package adds such safety tech as traffic jam assist (rerouting), front and rear parking sensors, rear smart brake support, and blind-spot prevention

The open cargo area of the CX-50 with back seats folded.

Fold the back seat for flat sleeping space of 6-plus-feet in length. (Mark Maynard photo)

Cargo Space

Car campers have 6.3 feet of flat space for sleeping when the 60/40 back seat is folded. The area is about 42 inches wide by 29.6 inches tall to the headliner. Oddly, I found only two tie-down anchors but four bag hooks. On either side at entry are two jug-size indents.

Space behind the back seat is wide at 42.6 inches and flat for about 30 cubic feet of space, stacked to the headliner.

A temporary spare is stored below the floor.  In the event of an off-road flat,  however, the small spare could be problematic.

Why Buy the Mazda CX-50?

Mazda has a built-in fan club with its CX-5 and CX-50. A check of Mazda CX-50 forums and social media shows excited reports from CX-5 owners who traded up to the CX-50 after a test drive.

The new CX-50 owners like the larger cabin — though they say cargo space isn’t quite as large as they’d like. Other comments suggest that the interior is more luxurious than the Subaru Forester. The biggest complaints were about the disappointing fuel economy and the firm ride.

With Mazda’s elite engineering and a network of traction-control assists, the CX-50 is safe and secure for families to try trail riding. New owners to off-road driving must use common sense when choosing their routes. The CX-50 will be a capable scamp along forest trails, but Jeep-grade excursions will eat it alive.

An on-road rear view of the Mazda CX-50

The CX-50 is the first Mazda vehicle out of the automaker’s new manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Ala., a joint venture with Toyota.

2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Specifications

Body style: compact, 5-seat, 5-door AWD SUV

Engine: twin-scroll turbocharged Skyactiv-G 2.5 with direct injection; 227-hp with 87 octane, 256-hp with premium fuel; 310 lb.-ft. torque, 87 octane; 320 lb.-ft. torque, premium

Transmission: Skyactiv-Drive 6-speed automatic

Fuel economy: 23/29/25 mpg city/hwy/combined on 87 octane; 395 miles total range.

Towing capacity: 3,500 pounds (w/turbo engine)


Fuel tank: 15.9 gallons

Cargo space: 31.4 to 56.3 cubic feet

Front head/leg room: 38.6*/41.7 inches *w/moonroof

Rear head/leg room: 38.6/39.8 inches

Length/wheelbase: 195.8/110.8 inches

Width/height: 80.8 inches (mirror to mirror)/63.9 inches

Curb weight: 3,907 pounds

Turning circle: 39 feet


CX-50 Turbo standard equipment includes: smart-key entry with push-button ignition, 10.25-inch color center display, active-driving display, radar cruise control, rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio, Mazda Connected Services, wireless Android and Apple Carplay, electric parking brake, leather-trimmed upholstery, power driver’s seat with 2-position memory, power passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, remote power liftgate, rear AC vents, 4 USB ports, 12-speaker Bose audio system;

Exterior features include: black 20-inch wheels with P245/45 all-season tires, rain-sensing wipers, wiper de-icer, rear roof spoiler, power-folding side mirrors (automatic on engine shutoff), adaptive front lighting (turning headlights), LED headlights and taillights, high-beam control, roof rails, rear privacy glass;

Turbo Premium Plus features include: heated rear seats, 360-degree view monitor, traffic jam assist, front and rear parking sensors, rear smart brake support, blind-spot prevention, auto-dimming driver-side mirror, Mazda navigation system, active driving display, traffic sign recognition, frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror, wireless phone charger.

Safety features include: 7 air bags, hill-launch assist, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross-traffic alert, dynamic stability and traction controls, brake assist with brake-force control.


CX-50 Turbo Premium Plus base price: $43,575, including $1,275 freight charge; price as tested $43,970

Options on test vehicle: Zircon Sand Metallic paint $395

Where assembled: Huntsville, Ala.

Warranties: 5-years/60,000-miles powertrain; 3-years/36,000-miles bumper to bumper with roadside assistance

Read more

Kia Carnival MPV Review

The 2023 Kia Carnival is an ark of accommodation. Its lean styling is a refreshing reset to the typical minivan’s big hips and broad beam

An exterior view of the blue Kia Carnival in front of a train station

The 2023 Kia Carnival MPV SX Prestige tester was $49,285 with three options. (Mark Maynard photos or as credited)

Table of Contents

The Last Honest Vehicle
New for 2023
Interior Function
Back Seats and Cargo
Powertrain and Performance
Ride and Handling
Why Buy the Kia Carnival?


I see the look in fathers’ eyes as they follow my slow cruise in the Kia Carnival MPV through the beach parking lot. It is a look of envy — with resignation that their lot in life could be so much easier with that damn M-word — minivan. But, no, their hands and their partner’s hands are struggling to untangle a stroller from a crowded trunk while they schlep armloads of a trike, scooter, and a stuffed duffel of clothes and snacks for when everybody is wet, tired, and cranky.

There is much irrational venom directed at this most-efficient mode of moving people. It is as if the minivan represents swallowed pride to make the best of a sad situation.

I count my blessings that this stage has passed in my life. But I always enjoyed testing minivans. Not for their lively drivability but for an hour or so of free time. I’d park the latest test minivan in the driveway, and the kids would want to do homework or watch a movie. It was a secure space that would give me 45 minutes of peace and quiet … for laundry or cooking.

There is comfort and security in the family minivan. It is the modern ark of accommodation. Sure, bring a friend or three. And parents can pull the seats for room to haul furniture … to usher that college kid to the college dorm.

Minivans are built for comfort and accommodation. They are part lounge and part romper room. And any minivan with a combustion engine will get better fuel economy and cost less to maintain (tires and suspension elements) than a comparably sized SUV.

Driver controls are smartly placed and ergonomically designed.

Driver controls are smartly placed and ergonomically designed.

The Last Honest Vehicle

Unlike the SUV, the minivan is the last honest vehicle made today. Minivans don’t have to be something other than what they were intended. A minivan does not need sport bucket seats with their annoying in-your-crack bottom bolsters. A minivan doesn’t need paddle shifters. They surely don’t need a tachometer, which might be the most worthless space-cluttering element in the driver’s gauge display for an automatic-transmission vehicle. And they don’t need a Sport mode to turn the gauge display red.

Manufacturers have tried to sportify the minivan to little avail. Sporty features, such as aerodynamic fairings and hot wheels, just added to the cost. Today, the minivan segment is small: the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and today’s tester, the Kia Carnival MPV.

Kia has sold a minivan in the U.S. since 2002 called Sedona. It was unremarkable at the time when compared to the competition from Honda, Chrysler, and Toyota. But it did get high marks for safety from NHTSA and IIHS.

Undeterred, Kia moved forward with a second generation in 2005 as a 2006. A third generation came along in 2014 as a 2015. And now, the fourth generation debuted in North America in Feb. 2021 as a 2022 model. The 2022 redesign included adding Kia’s global nameplate Carnival MPV, or multi-purpose vehicle.

There isn’t a beauty competition for a minivan — it just can’t be ugly. Except for the Kia Carnival, there is dowdy minivan DNA in the exterior styling of the competitors, mainly in the big hips and a broad beam. The Kia Carnival, however, looks more like a business attaché. It has lean lines without contrived curves or bulges to hint at “sport.” The Carnival’s styling is legitimate and contemporary.

The 12.3-inch-wide navigation screen

A 12.3-inch navigation screen. (Kia)

2023 Kia Carnival Pricing

All models of Carnival are front-wheel drive with no option for all-wheel drive. For that traction capability, minivan shoppers must consider the Chrysler Pacifica or Toyota Sienna.

The 2023 Kia Carnival MPV is sold in four trim levels of LX, EX, SX, and SX Prestige. Pricing starts at $34,465 for the LX, and there is an LX Seat Package model for $36,465; it adds eight-passenger seating with SynTex upholstery and second-row slide-flex seat adjustment.

The midrange EX and SX start at $39,965 and $43,165.

The SX Prestige tester starts at $47,565 and was $49,285 with three options:

  • Astra Blue paint ($495);
  • Rear seat entertainment package ($1,000);
  • Carpeted floor mats ($200, for three rows).

All MSRPs include the $1,395 freight charge from Gwangmyeong, Korea.

For current Carnival pricing and incentives, go to

VIP lounge seating with power controls.

VIP lounge seating with power controls.

What’s New On the 2023 Kia Carnival?

With the Carnival’s debut just a year ago, updates for 2023 are a minor shuffling of features for the SX and SX Prestige models. And there were price increases of $800 for the LX and EX models and $500 for the SX; the freight charge went up by $70.


  • Integrated panoramic 12.3-inch digital cluster and 12.3-inch center display are now standard;
  • Blind-Spot View Monitor is now standard;
  • Dual screen rear seat entertainment and streaming media package was added as a $1,000 option.

SX Prestige

  • 8-passenger Slide-Flex Seating with second-row center multi-function seat is now standard;
  • Dual screen rear seat entertainment system and streaming media capability is a new $1,000 option;
  • 2nd row VIP Lounge Seats is a no-cost option, replacing 2nd-row Slide-Flex Seats. The seat package is for seven-passenger seating and adds a pair of power-operated VIP lounge seats that recline with leg support and an adjustable headrest. The seats also are heated and ventilated.
The video Passenger View display.

The video Passenger View display.

Carnival Interior Function

Space is the luxurious frontier of a minivan. And while the Kia Carnival is not a luxury vehicle, its refinement of interior materials, switchgear, and touchpoints are of rewarding quality.

The Carnival cabin has big-and-tall front headroom of 40.9 inches and shoulder room (door to door) of 64.2 inches, which is 2.6 inches wider than the Kia Telluride SUV.

Sightlines for the driver are unobstructed at the side mirrors and across the hood. Of special value is the around-view camera with overhead and forward views. The camera can be switched on when inching forward in a parking slot or the garage.

There is no stress to step in and buckle up, and definitely no need for running boards, but there is still an elevated ride height for a clear view down the road.

The interior design is fresh with no old-fogey faux wood trim, just clean metallic trim elements. All controls are smartly placed and ergonomically designed.

The shift console is a functional work zone with cup holders divided by a phone slot. A charging e-bin includes a wireless pad and USB charging ports. Small storage areas are handily placed throughout, including a large armrest box.

Rather than a flip-down conversation mirror to keep an eye on children, Kia has a video passenger view and talk function. It is accessed through the main 12.3-inch wide screen and can be set up as a one-touch button on the steering wheel.

The third row seats in the Kia Carnival

Third-row legroom of 35.6 inches is up to 3 inches less than in some competitors.

Back Seats and Cargo Space

Sliding side doors are a parent’s friend — power-operated and foot activated. The openness of the doors allows a parent to get close to the child seat for buckling without hoisting a child up into an SUV seating position.

The driver has controls to open and close either side door, which is helpful for the school taxi when admitting your charges, especially when there is rain or snow.

I would prefer the standard three-position second row; it has more family function than the VIP Lounge seats that are exclusive to the SX Prestige. With the eight-seat configuration, the second-row seats can be removed, or just the center seat removed for an aisle pass-through to the third row.

Kia adds a nifty feature of slide-flex seat adjustment. Both window seats can be moved manually inward by a couple of inches. The side movement is beneficial with the VIP Lounge seats, which cannot be removed and do not have a fold-and-tumble design for third-row access. The side flex isn’t much, but it doesn’t take much for a kid to slip by and into the third row.

Lounge seats (heated and ventilated) seem like a cool idea, cruising in a La-Z-Boy style with legs supported. But the full recline position made me feel propped up and vulnerable. It might seem more special when parked and watching a movie. I felt uncomfortable (safe) with the sizeable iPad-like video screens so close on the front seatbacks.

There is adult legroom in the second row — a max of 40.5 inches if a tall person is not sitting ahead. But a tall adult might not feel comfortable in full recline of the lounge seats.

The power panel for second-row climate controls.

Electronic second-row climate controls.

Carnival’s Third Row

There is no shortage of details for those in the third row. There are charging ports, an inset for cups or juice boxes, and a phone slot.

Headroom of 38.6 inches is adequate for adults of average size. However, the max legroom of 35.6 inches is up to 3 inches less than some competitors.

The Carnival cargo area with the third row folded

Fold the third row for 5 feet in length of flat storage.

Carnival Cargo Space

Carnival earns its cargo salt with the obligatory 4-foot width, as if owners will load sheets of plywood. As with most minivans, the waaay back has multi-function.

With the third-row seats in place, there is a deep well of steamer-trunk capacity that neatly corrals a multitude of grocery bags or whatever. Fold the 60/40 seatbacks to drop flat into the cargo well and a parent could roll in bikes and trikes or strap down a large dog kennel. The interior height of 40 inches is about 31 inches or less for a midsize SUV. With the third row folded there is flat space that is 5 feet in length.

The storage well in the cargo area when the third row seats are upright

Steamer-trunk cargo capacity behind the third row.

Carnival Powertrain and Performance

No overworked turbocharged four-cylinder for this Carnival. All models have the same V-6 and eight-speed automatic powertrain. The 290-horsepower direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 has 262 foot-pounds of peak torque at 5,000 rpm.

Fuel economy ratings are 19 mpg city, 26 highway, and 22 mpg combined using the recommended 87 octane fuel. In my week of testing, the mileage around town was 19-21 mpg, and on the highway, I tooled along at 28.9 mpg, which might have gone higher had I not needed to exit.

With the generous 19-gallon fuel tank, thrifty drivers could expect a vacation-driving range of 500 miles or more.

Acceleration force is easy to modulate to maximize mileage or to put the hammer down for evasive action. There is no delay in acceleration response.

An open hood view of the 290-hp 3.5-liter V-6

The 290-hp 3.5-liter V-6. (Kia)

Carnival SX Prestige Ride and Handling

One of the most endearing aspects of minivan ownership is, generally, a forgiving ride quality. The Kia Carnival is especially adept at not tossing heads when pulling into driveways or when transitioning speed bumps.

The suspension is a well-engineered four-wheel independent setup with steel springs and gas-charged shock absorbers. The front has MacPherson struts and a multi-link at the rear.

Ride quality with the 19-inch Goodyear Assurance Finesse tires (235/55) was poised and carpet smooth — traits I did not expect from my past experiences with Goodyear Assurance tires. These tires are affordable and will cost between $220 and $250 each when replaced.

Advantageous is the light weight to the steering and very compact turning circle of 38 feet. It is possible to make a U-turn on most residential streets. Steering control, though light, is entirely on track while cruising at speed.

Four-wheel-disc braking engages with uncommon smoothness and direct engagement. Front and rear rotors are 12.8 inches, with ventilated discs at the front and solid discs rear. These discs are comparable to the competition’s and seem fit to handle a 3,500-pound trailer with brakes.

19-inch Goodyear Assurance Finesse tires and black alloy wheels.

The SX Prestige tester in 19-inch Goodyear Assurance Finesse tires and black alloy wheels.

Why Buy the Kia Carnival?

Minivan marketers have told me that once the children are out of the house, many parents hold onto their weary, old minivan. It’s just too convenient for its size.

If so, the Kia Carnival SX Prestige will be their upgrade minivan. The VIP seats will be a special perk for those travel getaways with friends.

And best of all, the Kia Carnival doesn’t look like a minivan.

The Carnival EX and SX trim levels are the meat and potatoes of family fare. And the package for rear seat entertainment is worth the $1,500 option. It’s the price for 45 minutes of rest time for parents.

A rear view of the Astra Blue Carnival

The Kia Carnival has a very compact turning circle of 38 feet. (Kia)

Kia Carnival SX Prestige Specifications

Body style: large 7- to 8-passenger front-wheel-drive minivan

Engine: 290-hp, direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6; 262 lb.-ft. torque at 5,000 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Fuel economy: 19/26/22 mpg; 87 octane

Towing capacity: 3,500 pounds


Fuel tank: 19 gallons

Cargo space: 40.2 to 86.9 cubic feet

Front head/leg room: 40.9/41.1 inches

2nd-row head/leg room: 39.5/40.5 inches

3rd-row head/leg room: 38.6/35.6 inches

Length/wheelbase: 203/121.7 inches

Curb weight: 4,727 pounds

Turning circle: 38 feet


SX Prestige standard features, include: smart-key entry and push-button ignition, electric parking brake, surround-view monitor, 12.3-inch dual panoramic displays for driver gauges and navigation, blind-spot view monitors (side mirror image display in driver gauges); smart cruise control with stop-and-go; dual power tilt and slide sunroof; LED projection headlights and LED rear combination lights; LED interior lighting; leather-trimmed upholstery; heated and ventilated front and rear seats; Bose premium audio; heated steering wheel; auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink controls, passenger view (camera) and passenger talk.

Safety features include: 7 air bags (including driver’s knee bag), rear occupant alert with ultrasonic sensors, parking distance warning forward and reverse

Driver-assist technologies, include: forward collision-avoidance assist with cyclist and junction turning; blind-spot collision-avoidance assist; rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist; driver attention warning and high-beam assist; lane-keeping assist and lane-following assist; parking collision-avoidance assist reverse; safe exist assist; highway driving assist.


Base price: $47,565, including $1,395 freight charge; price as tested $49,285

Options on test vehicle: Astra Blue paint $495; rear seat entertainment package $1,000; carpeted floor mats $200, for three rows.

Where assembled: Gwangmyeong, Korea

Warranties: 10-years/100,000-miles powertrain; 5-years/60,000-miles bumper to bumper with roadside assistance

Read more

Corvette E-Ray Overview

The 2024 E-Ray is the quickest production Corvette in history, clocking a 2.5-second 0-60 mph time before passing the quarter mile in 10.5 seconds

An exterior view of the E Ray

The 2024 Corvette E-Ray goes on sale later this year with an MSRP of $104,295 for the 1LZ coupe and $111,295 for the 1LZ convertible model. (Photos courtesy of Chevrolet)


The Corvette had a second day of infamy yesterday when Chevrolet released photos and many details for its 2024 Corvette E-Ray. It will be the first electrified Corvette with all-wheel drive and a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain using the 6.2-liter V-8.

For Corvette enthusiasts, the E-Ray reveal on Jan. 17 is exactly 70 years after the 1953 Corvette debuted at Motorama in New York City.

“In 1953, the enthusiastic reaction to the Chevrolet Corvette concept kicked off seven decades of passion, performance and American ingenuity,” Mark Reuss, General Motors president, said in a statement. “E-Ray, as the first electrified, all-wheel-drive Corvette, takes it a step further and expands the promise of what Corvette can deliver.”

The 2024 E-Ray — available as a removable roof coupe or hardtop convertible — pairs two separate propulsion systems. The gasoline-electric hybrid system provides naturally aspirated V-8 power with a permanent magnet electric drive motor and a 1.9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack between the seats.

“The electrification technology enhances the feeling of control in all conditions, adding an unexpected degree of composure,” said Tadge Juechter, chief executive engineer, Corvette.

E Ray driver area with bright blue leather interior.

E-Ray’s interior choices include 2 carbon fiber trim packages, 3 seat choices, and 7 interior colors.

E-Ray Performance

The E-Ray is the quickest production Corvette in history, Chevrolet says. The E-Ray will accelerate to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds (a tenth of a second faster than the track-ready Corvette Z06) and complete the quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds.

Achieving such quickness and top speed is notable for the Corvette. According to Chevrolet, the E-Ray has a base dry weight of 3,774 pounds for the coupe and 3,856 pounds for the convertible. That is around 400 pounds heavier than the Stingray and about 300 pounds more than the Z06 equipped with carbon fiber wheels and the Z06 Performance package. The curb weight, with fuel, etc., will be higher.

Chevrolet is developing a fully battery-powered Corvette, but officials have not said when that model might arrive.

Driver side 3/4 view of 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray 3LZ convertible with Natural Tan Interior.

A 2024 E-Ray 3LZ convertible with Natural Tan Interior.

2024 Corvette E-Ray Pricing

The 2024 Corvette E-Ray goes on sale later this year with an MSRP of $104,295 for the 1LZ coupe and $111,295 for the 1LZ convertible model.

A base 2023 Corvette Stingray coupe starts at about $66,000 or $74,000 for the Stingray convertible. The Corvette Z06 starts at $110,00 for the coupe and about $117,000 for the convertible.

Z06 pricing includes $2,600 for the gas-guzzler tax. Will the E-Ray avoid the GGT?

E-Ray production will be at GM’s Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, Ky.

More information and specifications will be released closer to the on-sale date. Follow E-Ray developments at

Close up view of gauges layout on E-Ray Performance App

The E-Ray Performance App on the infotainment screen.

E-Ray Hybrid Powertrain

The 6.2-liter LT2 small-block V-8 is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission. The gas engine puts 470 foot pounds of torque at 5,150 rpm to the rear axle. The permanent magnet electric drive motor puts another 160-hp and 125 lb.-ft. of torque through the front wheels.

In total, E-Ray produces a combined 655 horsepower from the electric motor and V-8.

The engine’s Active Fuel Management system uses the electric motor to run on four cylinders, such as when coasting at highway speeds.

The amount of electric assist varies for the Corvette E-Ray’s six driver-selectable modes: Tour, Sport, Track, Weather, My Mode, and Z-Mode. Drivers can also select the Charge+ feature to maximize the battery’s state of charge.

Chevrolet says it has created a “visceral sound experience” for the combined powertrain. And to keep peace with neighbors, a Stealth Mode allows all-electric driving at start-up. The quiet mode will hold until the engine fires at 45 mph for everyday driving.

E Ray gloss black wheel finish

The E-Ray has 15.7-inch brake discs at the front and 15.4-inch discs rear.

Intelligent eAWD

E-Ray’s eAWD system continually learns the road surface, Chevrolet says. The so-called intelligent system seamlessly adapts to traction conditions and driver input. During enthusiastic driving and in low traction road conditions, E-Ray’s eAWD system enhances vehicle stability by directing additional power to the front wheels.

E-Ray Features and Technologies

  • New lightweight lithium-ion 12-volt battery for stop/start functionality
    of the gas engine;
  • Standard Brembo Carbon Ceramic brake system;
  • Standard Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 with three suspension settings;
  • Staggered 20- and 21-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport all-season tires. (Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires are available with an optional performance

The E-Ray Performance App on the infotainment system provides the driver with technical insights into how the propulsion system is operating. There are three primary display layouts:

  • Gauges (displays dynamic power output from electric motor and V-8 engine);
  • Dyno (provides a graph of power/torque across selectable time intervals) ;
  • Data (showcases electrical system performance and efficiency).
Overhead view of the Silver Flare with Electric Blue stripe package.

The Silver Flare with Electric Blue stripe package.

E-Ray Exterior Design

The E-Ray is built from the wide-body Corvette Z06. The wider body accommodates wide staggered-width wheels to help manage the increased torque. The lightweight alloy wheels have a twisted five-spoke star design exclusive to E-Ray.

The Corvette E-Ray’s compact electric motor over the front axle preserves space in the front trunk.

Rear 7/8 view of an E-Ray coupe in Seawolf Gray parked in a parking garage.

The E-Ray’s low, wide stance is 3.6 inches wider overall than the standard Stingray model.

Corvette E-Ray Design Highlights

  • 4 aluminum wheel finishes;
  • 14 exterior color choices — including new for 2024 Riptide Blue, Seawolf Gray, and Cacti;
  • E-Ray-exclusive body-length stripe package in Electric Blue;
  • Standard carbon flash badging;
  • Available black exhaust tips and bright badging;
  • Available carbon fiber ground effects;
  • Optional carbon fiber wheels in carbon flash, visible carbon fiber finish or visible carbon fiber with a red stripe;
  • New  Artemis Dipped interior, available on 2024 Corvettes. The treatment features deep green tones throughout the cabin. Other options for interior design include two carbon fiber trim packages, three seat choices, seven interior colors, and more.
Read more