Advantages: Good quality with FWD; A relatively conventional small SUV; High ground clearance for an EV; Useful interior storage
Difficulty: Subper range with AWD; Slower charge than some competitors; Internal trimming of your eyes; Hide-your-eyes styling
This may sound amazing, but the 2023 Toyota bZ4X is the first scratch electric Toyota. And no, the handful of RAV4 EVs produced to please California regulators are not counted. It turns out that the company that popularized the hybrid is reluctant to join the all-electric revolution. The bZ4X addresses that dilemma: it’s a highly secure endeavor with styling like the RAV4, as well as range, power, and recharging specs that are rarely ambitious. Toyota has even split development with Subaru, calling its AWD-only version the Solters. For those who still want Toyota to sell a RAV4 EV today, the bZ4X will probably be satisfied. For everyone else, there are more mandatory EVs in the end.
At the same time, specific versions of the bZ4X present a strong value case. Specifically, the front wheel-drive version. As you can see, most other EVs such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and Volkswagen ID.4 are standard with a single motor that drives the rear wheels. Their optional all-wheel-drive system, which adds a second motor to the front wheels, will make it essential in winter weather, but with them will add a lot of performance and price. The AWD bZ4X is replaced by a smaller motor mounted one by one on each axle, replacing its larger front motor – performance upgrades are rarely noticeable, but the price increase is pretty much the same as you would find in a gas-powered SUV. Front-wheel drive is also perfectly acceptable for winter, so you can easily completely bypass the AWD option and enjoy a more acceptable range (228 vs. 258 miles).
Basically, it would be easier for more people to live with the base-model bZ4X XLE than the similarly priced Ioniq 5, EV6 and ID.4. Cheaper is a more competitive car, and it’s equipped enough that you shouldn’t feel the need to change. Don’t expect anything to be fully realized like the exceptional Ioniq 5 and EV6, even with the characteristic but flawed ID.4. Not a terrible way to get safe (Toyota sold 400,000 RAV4s last year), but we hope Toyota would at least have been more ambitious with the powertrain.
Interior and Technology | Passenger and Cargo Space | Performance and fuel economy
What does it feel like to drive a car? Pricing and trim level | Crash rating and security features
What’s new for 2023?
The bZ4X is a brand new model.
How about the bZ4X interior and in-car technology?
The BZ4X strikes a fine balance between functionality and achieving future aesthetics more than an EV in general. Basically, it’s not too weird. There are physical toggles for temperature settings and the accompanying touch-sensitive climate buttons are illuminated and seem to be quite responsive during our first drive (which said, we would prefer a volume knob). The shifter is another new-fang design that differs for a variety of reasons, but it was also fairly easy to figure out. More basic vehicle functions are still served by buttons and stalks. We like a lot of storage on the front with a closed bin for your smartphone.
Unfortunately, the cover of that bin and the surrounding trim are glossy black, which drastically attracts fingerprints and is able to consistently reflect the sun to our eyes while driving. The gray fabric on the dash is a much more successful and glamorous interior decoration.
In-car technology is dominated by a standard 12.3-inch touchscreen, with Toyota’s latest interface being shared only with the Tundra. It’s a clean upgrade over what you’ll find in other Toyotas, and it’s generally user friendly. However, we want a split-screen functionality, as Toyota Highlander offers with a widescreen display. The bZ4X has a unique digital instrument panel that is placed fairly in the middle where the traditional gauge and a head-up display will be in your sight. This means it is above the bottom of the wheel rim. Short drivers can find rim blocks at the bottom of the display, but taller drivers should be better. Toyota will apparently offer a Tesla-like yoke to remedy this, but it seems like a “solution” to a problem that doesn’t need to exist.
How big is the bZ4X?
The bZ4X is about 4 inches long and 2 inches shorter than a RAV4, with a 2.5-inch lower legroom, but that still makes it a compact SUV – a little smaller, unlike a Mazda CX-5. As a result, the front seat may be less able to fit the baby’s back seat than the front seat.
Due to the fastback roofline, cargo space is also limited compared to conventional compact SUVs. It’s not really like the Toyota Prius’ cargo area design, though it’s definitely bigger. Its 27.7 cubic-feet is actually the same as the Kia EV6, and given the same shape, it could probably carry as much stuff as the Kia.
What are the bZ4X range and performance specs?
The front-wheel-drive bZ4X comes with a 150-kilowatt motor that produces 201 horsepower (almost like the RAV4 hybrid, though it weighs less than 500 pounds). It has a 71.4-kWh battery that covers approximately 252 miles with the XLE trim and 242 miles with the Limited.
The all-wheel-drive bZ4X has one pair of 80-kW motors, one for each axle. Together they produce 214 hp – most all-wheel-drive electric vehicles have considerable performance advantages over their two-wheel-drive versions. The advantage here is the much lower price. Although the AWD bZ4X battery has the same capacity of 72.8 kW, it is actually a different hardware, and gets significantly worse range at 228 miles with XLE and 222 miles with Limited. These reflect AWD-only subaru solitaire.
How does it feel to drive bZ4X?
The main difference between FWD and AWD bZ4X is the good old style torque steer. The FWD model mid-turn gun and bZ4X all sub turbo go into your hand, the tiny steering wheel in your hand immediately spills 196 pounds-feet of torque through the front wheels. With AWD, it’s drama-free. Same if you go to the accelerator easily.
Once the speed increases, you will be hard pressed to tell the difference. The bZ4X basically feels like a more significant RAV4, being 576 pounds heavier than the comparable RAV4 Hybrid The weight of the battery is evenly distributed in a long wheelbase, as opposed to scattering everywhere with the help of engines, transmissions, batteries, gas tanks, etc. And before you joke, remember that the latest RAV4 is actually a pleasurable, precise and nicely weighted steering wheel for a surprisingly small SUV, with a suspension that maintains its restraint when rushed. So be bZ4X. It’s not as compelling as the RAV4 Hybrid’s SE trim level, though (including the RAV4 Prime), and you certainly shouldn’t expect the kind of fun-to-drive experience you’d expect from an Ioniq 5, EV6 or ID.4. . Still, as a commuter, driving is better than most and the benefits from a well-operated one-pedal drive mode (pictured above, bottom left) will be the most breaking for you in and around the city.
Now, if you want to mess up the bZ4X, the all-wheel-drive version has Subaru’s X-mode off-road-specific drive mode (pictured above, bottom right) that changes different vehicle systems to maximize traction. Its ground clearance is much higher than all other electrical crossovers, although it also goes for the FWD version.
What other reviews of Toyota BZ4X can I read?
2023 Toyota bZ4X First Drive Review
In this review, we dig deeper into its design and engineering, plus what’s the deal with that name?
What is the price of 2023 bZ4X?
Pricing for the bZ4X is pretty easy. XLE trim levels start at $ 43,215; Ltd. starting at $ 47,915. Add 2,080 for all-wheel drive. The bZ4X is currently eligible for a $ 7,500 federal tax credit and a potential state-level tax credit or direct rebate.
As mentioned above, we think bZ4X is most competitive with front wheel drive due to its reasonable price, wide range and adequate winter-weather traction (compared to RWD competitors). The XLE trim is also very well equipped – we want that Really Just miss the limited power front seat. You can add a weather package that adds a heated front seat and a heated steering wheel.
What are the bZ4X security ratings and driver support features?
Each bZ4X includes an automatic collision warning and automatic emergency braking system with pedestrian, cyclist, motorcycle (during the day) and girdle detection. Also standard are Lane-Keeping Assist, Blind-Spot Warning and Safe Exist Assist, which use blind-spot warning sensors to alert passengers to vehicles coming from behind.
bZ4X has not been crash tested by third parties.