Toyota Hybrid Leader Goes Full Electric
At the end of 2021, Toyota global president Akio Toyoda laid out the company’s plans for a full range of electric vehicles, based on a dedicated platform developed for the global market. The company’s battery-electric vehicles will be branded “bZ,” standing for “beyond zero,” Toyota’s commitment to achieve overall carbon neutrality in manufacturing by 2035.
The first product you’ll see on the roads will be the bZ4X. Arriving in dealers across America this July, it dives right into the heart of one of the compact crossover segment – one of the biggest and most competitive. Priced starting at $42,000 before federal, regional, and local incentives, it is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models, in XLE and Limited trims.
Cheapest Model Has Best Range
The least expensive bZ4X, the $42,000 front-wheel drive XLE, delivers the most range, with an EPA estimate of 252 miles from its 201-hp electric motor. The front-wheel drive Limited ($46,700) has larger, more stylish wheels and tires, but range drops to 242 miles. There are also all-wheel drive versions of the XLE ($44,080) and Limited ($48,780), both with 214 hp, and range estimates of 228 and 222 miles, respectively.
In addition to 20-inch instead of 18-inch wheels, Limited models add chrome exterior trim, a power liftgate, SofTex (leatherette) heated and ventilated seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, radiant heating, high-end JBL audio, bird’s-eye camera, and more.
With available all-wheel drive and a low center of gravity, the bZ4X should provide excellent handling. Both FWD and AWD models feature a regenerative braking “boost mode,” which makes accelerating and decelerating convenient with just one pedal. All-wheel drive models also have X-MODE, with driver-selectable settings for snow/dirt, deep snow/mud and off-road “grip control.”
Front-wheel drive bZ4X models can charge at an impressive 150 kW on a Level 3 fast charger, with all-wheel drive models dialed down to 100 kW. Charging at home on a Level 2 AC charger maxes out at 6.6 kW – lagging behind class leaders, some of which can charge more than twice as fast.
Exceptionally Well Equipped
While the bZ4X is not the least expensive compact crossover, it is comprehensively equipped – the XLE trim, which is usually one of the top trim levels on other Toyota vehicles, is actually the “base” model. Naturally, its safety features are state of the art. All bZ4X versions will include Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, which features enhanced hardware and detection performance. Also new with bZ4X is Safe Exit Assist, which utilizes the Blind Spot Monitor to help prevent customers from stepping out into moving traffic or other obstacles.
Inside, simple, intuitive technology awaits the bZ4X’s driver. There is a new 7-inch digital instrument cluster, sitting right above the steering wheel to keep drivers’ eyes on the road. Above the center console is the standard 12.3-inch multimedia display, which includes wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto compatibility. A new Toyota App lets drivers take advantage of climate controls and charging functions. Every bZ4X comes with one year of complimentary EVgo charging, and can also link to ChargePoint’s network of public chargers for easy payment.
Customers can also purchase the $699 ChargePoint Home Flex Level 2 AC charger for faster home charging. This charger provides a faster rate of charge and can be hardwired or plugged into a 240-volt outlet. You can find an charging station installer here.
All of this is topped off by an 8 year/100,000-mile electric drive components limited warranty. ToyotaCare’s standard roadside assistance is extended from two to three years to provide even greater peace of mind.
Striking Design Inside and Out
The bZ4X features a sleek, “faceless” body punctuated by sporty SUV styling touches such as powerful black wheel flares, a raised ride height, and contrasting roof. The futuristic styling extends to the spacious interior. Thanks to the dedicated e-TNGA electric vehicle platform, there is no transmission hump, meaning a flat floor; and lots of space to stretch out thanks to a long wheelbase. A panoramic glass roof brings lots of light inside, while a large touch screen and physical controls for important functions makes the bZ4X’s advanced technology easy to use. The electric architecture also provides many accessible USB charging plugs for all passengers.
The bZ4X is just the first of many vehicles to be built on the new e-TNGA platform. It will be followed a sleek midsize SUV targeted at the North American market, a large SUV with available third-row seating, and a midsize sedan. Toyota also promises to add full-EV options to many of its existing model lines, with the goal of having 30 new electric vehicles on the market by 2030.
Based on Toyota’s long history in the hybrid game – the Prius was the original game-changer – we expect the bZ4X and the rest of its new pure-electric products to be thoroughly engineered, reliable, and to have exceptional resale value. The bZ4X isn’t the fastest, most cutting-edge, or most revolutionary EV – but you can be sure it’ll be a faithful companion for many trouble-free years.