Maybe that’s why it took so long. The bZ4X is not a RAV4 with extra batteries under the chassis, it sits on a brand new EV platform. The Japanese have ambition. No fewer than 7 of those “Beyond Zero” models are planned. This bZX4 will therefore be right in the middle of the future line-up.
Talking about the RAV4. The BZ4X is 9 cm longer and 8.5 cm lower than its hybrid brother. That makes it, just like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, more like a raised hatchback than an SUV. We also saw the strikingly sloping coupé line with a spoiler split in two on the just named Korean. Of course that has everything to do with the positive effect on air resistance, so something tells us that we will see that shape on many future models.
View our Preview of the bZ4X on Belgian soil here
View photos of the bZ4X without camouflage here
What immediately stands out on the inside is the new large central display — with physical buttons at the bottom, which we like to see. The digital counter party also catches the eye, because it is in a strange place. Just like with Peugeot, it is a lot higher than you expect. This way you don’t see through your handlebars, but over your handlebars to your speed. Not ideal, because even though the steering column was in its lowest position, we still had trouble reading the speed. Then give us a good head-up display. In 2023 there will be a Yoke steering wheel for the bZ4X. That is a “drive by wire” steering wheel without a top, like in an airplane. That would of course be a solution and it would make the bZ4X that little bit lighter.
Furthermore, thanks to the long wheelbase (2.85 m), we see a lot of space at the back. The trunk is also not undersized with 470 liters. Less than the RAV4, but you can stack it up to the top of course. Furthermore, we have nothing to complain about: the seats are comfortable and you quickly feel at home in this Toyota.
When you get behind the wheel of the bZ4X, you immediately notice that the Toyota steers best directly and heavily. You would almost think that you are on the road with a product from Munich. That steering is nicely complimented with a very neutral handling and low center of gravity. Also congratulations to the one pedal driving-system. You can’t change it, but you don’t have to. It works intuitively and you won’t catch it on too abrupt a braking action.
The damping is also firm, which we often see with EVs. After all, there is a lot of extra weight to carry. However, the car is not uncomfortable. Toyota also thought it necessary to let us do a 4×4 track with a four-wheel drive bZ4X. That’s all very nice of course and we were quite amazed by the off-road capability of the EV. That is of little relevance to our market, however, we don’t think we will see many bZ4Xs with mud up to the mirrors.
There is no frunk under the hood, but a 204 hp electric motor with the front-wheel drive bZ4X and two copies with 109 hp (for 218 hp in total) with the four-wheel drive bZ4X. The crossover is thus quickly fed up. He does the obligatory sprint to 100 in 7.5 and 6.9 seconds respectively. Not too fast to cause an instant headache, but not too slow either. No, as far as we are concerned, Toyota has found the sweet spot in terms of power.
You can charge at home at a maximum of 11 kW and fast charging at a maximum of 150 kW. That could have been faster, but we can live with 150 kW. For daily use, you obviously want to avoid the fast charger as much as possible. The bZ4X has a gross battery capacity of 71.4 kWh with which you could theoretically drive about 450 km for the front-wheel drive and 400 km for the four-wheel drive. In practice, and certainly in winter, that figure will be lower. But for real consumption figures, we will have to test the Toyota in Belgium. Another fun fact is that you can tow with the bZ4X, although this is limited to 750 kg.
not a cheap segment
You can already order the bZ4X and it will start at just under 50,000 euros for the time being. A heat pump is standard, as is automatic air conditioning in two zones. Add 7,000 euros and you get a two-tone body, darkened windows, a panoramic glass roof and an electric tailgate. For 1,000 euros more, however, you get a full option where you mainly benefit from the JBL sound system and 360° camera. Optionally, you can order a roof covered with solar panels. According to Toyota, you can charge 1,800 km per year with it. In extreme circumstances that may be true, but in Belgium you can probably leave it for what it is.
The bZ4X is therefore not cheap, but neither are the competitors in this segment. Something tells us that the leasing market and perhaps the private leasing market will be the only options for many potential bZ4X buyers.
The wait pays off for Toyota. For their first real EV, it seems like the Japanese never made anything else. The bZ4X is not a small boy, drives quite sporty and will appeal to a wide audience. However, it lacks some distinctiveness, but of course there will be 6 more “Beyond Zero” models in the near future. You notice in everything, even the naming, that this is a new direction that Toyota is going.