Toyota is working hard to expand its global electrified-vehicle portfolio to 70 models by 2025, and today it’s rolling out the final, production version of the 2023 Toyota bZX4, the first alphabet soup-named electric vehicle from the “Beyond Zero” line (bZ), as a nod to Japan’s zero-emissions goals.
With the same exact wheelbase length as the 2022 Highlander (112.2 inches), Toyota’s new bZ4X is distinctly Toyota but with a few twists. The brand says the front end evokes a hammerhead shark, and what I see is a kinship with Ford’s Mustang Mach-E and even Mazda’s CX-5 in that way. Get a little closer, and you’ll see the array of vortex generators sprinkled across the body of the bZ4X for aerodynamic efficiency, which seems to have become the hallmark of Toyota vehicles.
Available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions, the bZ4X promises an estimated 250 miles of range with the 150 kilowatt motor in the first option. The all-wheel-drive model features dual 80-kilowatt motors, though a range estimate is not yet available.
As mentioned above, the electric crossover isn’t exactly a small vehicle, and it shows that by tipping the scales at 4,839 pounds for the front-drive model, and 5,015 pounds for the all-wheel-drive version.
Pledging all-weather capability—especially for all-wheel-drive models—Toyota claims to have targeted a battery capacity of 90 percent even after 10 years of ownership.
Inside, the all-new user interface is front and center, with voice controls that supplant many of the typical knobs and buttons. Say “Hey Toyota” (or even just “Hey ‘Yota” which is exponentially more fun) and tell the system what you want to do and it takes care of it. Behind the steering wheel, the digital driver’s display is positioned high and away; it feels like a physical manifestation of a head-up display.
The bZ4X will also debut the new Toyota Safety Sense TSS 3.0 package, which further expands the detection range of the millimeter wave radar and monocular camera. The improved system offers better low-light recognition of moving and stationary objects, as well as detection of cyclists, motorcyclists, and guardrails.
Why buy this one versus one of the other EVs on the market, such as the nearly identical, platform-twin Subaru Solterra? Toyota VP Cooper Ericksen says he believes the company will draw customers that are new to Toyota as well as loyalists.
“Don’t underestimate the power of the Toyota badge, because it comes with things people like, such as known reliability and a robust dealer network,” he says. “It’s positioned competitively, and it’s going to be a good option for many customers.”
Exact pricing has not been announced, and it’s expected to be in dealerships in mid-spring 2022.
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