2023 Toyota bZ4X | Toyota's First All-Electric SUV
The 2023 bZ4X is Toyota's first foray into the all-electric market. This is no conversion of an ICE vehicle, and up to now, this iconic Japanese brand has played in the hybrid and hydrogen fields but has not ventured into the pure EV environment.
The "bZ" stands for "beyond zero" and is the first in a range of seven bZ vehicles that will come from Toyota. The others in the range can be expected in 2025.
So, what do we know at this time?
ExteriorThe 2023 Toyota bZ4X comes in a four-door hatch form and is slightly larger than the RAV4.
Toyota describes the front of the car as reminiscent of a hammerhead shark, and perhaps with a squint, that would be true, but the vehicle has a very modern look with crisp body lines and sharp angles.
It is a very modern-looking hatch that will appeal to many, especially the younger market, and with its purported performance figures, it will be popular.
InteriorThe interior appears very attractive with cloth trim on the seats and dash. There is a small, dully digital instrument cluster near the windshield, in front of the driver, and a large flat screen that carries the infotainment between the seats.
The drive shifter is a knob. Turning the outer ring of this knob puts the vehicle in reverse or drive, while pressing the centre puts the car in neutral.
There is good legroom in the front and rear, and the centre console has plenty of storage. A storage bin is beneath the centre console, and the charger is stored under the cargo floor.
TechnologyToyota has fitted the bZ4X with Safety Sense 3.0, a range of sensors that provide driver assistance with pedestrian, cyclist, and lane detection capability, amongst several other aids.
The vehicle is equipped with a heat pump for climate control and radiant heating for the legs and feet.
Models and PowerThe bZ4X is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.
The front-wheel-drive model is powered by a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery coupled to a 150kW motor, giving 201hp.
The all-wheel-drive model has the same battery pack as its front-wheel-drive cousin, but it has two 80kW motors, each driving an axel, giving 215hp together.
This means that the AWD model is no muscle car of the bZ4X stable, but the extra motor driving the rear wheels will give more stability on icy winter roads.
With only one motor, it's reasonable to expect that what the FWD model loses on traction in winter, it will gain in range.
The expected range for these vehicles is 400 kilometres, which is par for the course in this type of EV. Toyota has indicated that the bZ4X will charge from almost empty to 80% capacity in 60 minutes when the DC fast charger is used.