Toyota first showed the bZ4X back in July as a concept. People hoped the name was also just a concept. But alas, it is not. And there are six more bZ vehicles coming.
While we don’t know too much about this first mass-produced U.S. electric vehicle from Toyota just yet, we do have some details. So, here’s what we know so far.
At first blush, 250 miles of range is a solid number. But as I quickly found out on TikTok, people don’t think it’s nearly enough for an SUV. Several people even commented that it has the same range as the compact Chevrolet Bolt EV, which is a car.
But I will point out this is enough range to drive from Chicago to Indianapolis and still have 70 miles of range left. So, with home charging at either end – even with some inclement weather thrown in – there shouldn’t be a problem with short road trips.
The standard drivetrain is going to be front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive being available. Obviously, weights and capacities will be different depending on the drivetrain, and while we don’t have a lot of specs just yet. We do know that only the FWD model is rated at 250 miles of range – which means the AWD model will be something less than that.
We also know that the maximum power output for FWD and AWD models will also be slightly different, ringing in at 150 kW and 160 kW, respectively. Total power will also be slightly different at 71.4 kWh and 72.8 kWh, respectively.
I’ve heard a lot of people compare the bZ4X to the RAV4 – and it’s easy to do since it has a similar profile. But I’ve also heard people say it looks smaller than the RAV4 – more along the size of the recently launched compact Corolla Cross.
Well, it isn’t.
The bZ4X is larger than the RAV4 in every measurement except height. The wheelbase is about 6 inches longer, and bZ4X is about 3 inches longer than RAV4.
Plus, bZ4X is about 1,000 pounds heavier due to the added weight of the battery pack.
Though the exterior may look a little like the RAV4, the interior is distinctly modern, and it will be the second Toyota-badged vehicle to get the new infotainment system. We’ve previously seen it in the Tundra and the new Lexus NX, and it’s leaps and bounds better than the current-gen system.
Other modern touches include a hoodless digital gauge cluster, puck-like gear shifter, USB-C charge ports, automatic heated steering wheel and dual climate controls.
Another interesting thing Toyota does with the bZ4X is maximize energy-saving features, specifically designed for colder climates. That includes a heat pump for the HVAC, heated seats and steering wheels and front-seat radiant foot-and-leg heater.
We aren’t a fan of alpha-numeric nomenclature on vehicles – especially when they don’t make sense or have any meaning. Thankfully, even though the name is weird, bZ4X does stand for something.
Toyota plans on bringing 15 all-electric vehicles to market globally by 2025, and not all of them will carry the “bZ” branding. Furthermore, there will only be seven bZ vehicles globally – and it is unlikely that all seven will make it to the U.S. Thus, though Toyota will have 15 EVs, the U.S. won’t get all those either.
The bZ4X will be available as 2023 model, but it will start hitting dealers next year. In typical vague fashion for an all-new vehicle, Toyota simply says it will go on sale in mid 2022. So, that could be anywhere from April to September.
One big thing to note: the bZ4X will go on sale throughout the U.S., whereas the previous RAV4 EVs were only intended to be sold and used in California.
I’m intrigued by the bZ4X. The design pushes the envelope just enough to show it’s special but not enough to look weird. It bears a Toyota family resemblance and, presumably, will be backed by Toyota’s indefatigable reliability.
Though 250 miles of range might seem like it’s not enough, it seems like plenty to me – assuming you have a home charger and don’t need to depend on public chargers.
What do you think? Does the Toyota bZ4X hit the spot? Or did Toyota not take this first mass-produced EV far enough?