Toyota may seem a little late to the electric car party, but the automaker has been experimenting with electric vehicles in its native Japan and in California since the first generation RAV4 EV in 1997 and again with. Therefore, it is fitting that the first electric car in 50 countries – the new 2023 Toyota BZ4X – is also a compact electric SUV.
Toyota is mechanically and aesthetically identical to, with badges, a slight trim level, and equipment differences between the two. Very similar to a file and Subaru BRZ, this joint venture between the two automakers will see the two SUVs launched from the same assembly lines in Japan and China.
This terrible name is divided into three main parts. Beyond Zero (BZ) stands for. “4” indicates the size of the car – as in about – while X defines this as an SUV. The automaker declines to comment on future products, but if Toyota plans to use this same naming convention in the future, a larger hypothetical electric SUV could be called a BZ6X, while the sedan could be a BZ4S or something similar.
Again, the BZ4X is similar in size to the RAV4, but specifically, the electric SUV’s wheelbase is 6.3 inches longer at 112.2 inches. Pushing the wheels into the corners of the chassis combined with a 2-inch (65.0-inch) shorter roof makes the BZ4X appear much taller than the RAV4, although it’s actually only 3.7 inches (184.6 inches) longer. Surprisingly, the BZ4X’s ride height is still about a quarter of an inch longer than its sibling, while retaining 8.1 inches of ground clearance.
The car that lives within these dimensions is grotesque but not unattractive, with a design that blends sharp corners and organic curves, a flat-faced “hammer-head” front end with a large panel where the grille should be, and – the most controversial part – black fenders. Big and contradictory. It is a strange bird at first glance, but a closer examination reveals that the design does not stray too far from its aestheticor especially when paired with a bold hue like the heavy metallic silver I set up that reduces the contrast of the fenders.
Two electric motors
The biggest difference between the 2023 BZ4X and its Pleiades badge brother is that Toyota is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive flavors, with a Subaru only obtainable with the latter.
The front-wheel drive configuration pairs a 71.4 kWh battery pack with a 150 kW electric motor on the front axle to produce 201 horsepower and 196 pound-feet of torque. Expect up to 252 miles of estimated range in the BZ4X’s lightest XLE configuration or 242 miles with the additional amenities of the Limited Spec. Heavy-footed drivers will find a respectable 7.1 seconds from 0 to 60 mph.
With an 80-kilowatt motor on each axle, the BZ4X all-wheel drive motor produces a total of 214 horsepower and 248 lb-ft. of torque. The 0-60 mph sprint is shortened to 6.5 seconds, but range is also reduced to 228 miles for the XLE and 222 miles for the Limited grades. Interestingly enough, this specification uses a different 72.8 kWh battery pack. Toyota chose a different resource for this configuration with a slightly different chemistry, which resulted in a difference of 1.4 kWh.
Of course, BZ4X will be sold withwhich cruises 310 miles or 274 miles, respectively, in rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations when equipped with a similarly sized “long-range” battery pack. Will do 280 miles and the most expensive It boasts 318 miles in its long-range configuration. In a world where range is king, Toyota comes woefully short.
General and home shipping
The two sets of batteries are also charged at different DC fast charging speeds. A beam of 71.4 kWh can reach 150 kW, while a beam speed of 72.8 kWh is limited to 100 kWh. Either way, owners are looking for about an hour to quickly charge from 20% to 80% in an appropriately powerful station via a CCS connection. This is on par withand VW ID 4 but it lags behind 350 kW and the EV6, which get the job done in under 20 minutes.
Toyota seems good at this, considering that most charging will take place at Level 2 charging stations. The BZ4X includes a year of free public charging from EVgo — integrated with the Toyota app — and to help owners start charging at home, the option to purchase a Chargepoint charger Home Flex Level 2 directly through the agent. On a 240-volt AC outlet, the BZ4X can accept up to 6.6 kW, adding about 25 miles of range per hour as fast as it can — and because the battery charge rates are not linear — fully filling up in about 11 hours.
Rotate the shift knob from disc type to D and hit the accelerator and the BZ4X punches a little above its stated specs. Like most electric vehicles, this is due to the immediate and linear application of torque, rather than building power to achieve a step up. Across town, when moving away from traffic lights, traffic or merging, the SUV feels more responsive and agile than the numbers on the paper indicate.
The crossover’s ride is smooth – noticeably lighter than the Kia and Ford rivals – but not sloppy or fuzzy. Squatting and diving on takeoff and the brakes feel good in control, although I did notice the body curved into the corners. At both highway and parking speeds, steering remains easy and predictable, if not numb to the touch as well. It’s not the most fun ride to drive in this category, but it’s an easy and comfortable mode of transportation.
The 8.1 inches of ground clearance will likely give the BZ4X an edge on dirt or inclement weather over most of the lower-slung electric crossovers in this class, especially when mated to the X-Mode AWD configuration with Snow/Dust and Snow traction programs / Mud and down the hill. I wasn’t able to test the BZ4X off-road, but my colleague came satisfied shortly.
The BZ4X also features a user-selectable Boost Mode regenerative braking setting which is roughly, but not quite, a single pedal driving mode. Boost mode provides full regeneration when lifted, slowing the SUV to a crawl but not to a complete stop. However, the high refresh setting is not compatible with the X-Mode settings and one must be deactivated before the other can be applied.
Cabin and ergonomics
The BZ4X has nearly more headroom (38.6 inches) and legroom (42.1 inches) than the RAV4 in the front row. However, rear seat passengers lose about two inches of head and legroom — 37.1 and 35.3 inches, respectively — to the BZ4X’s steeper roof. There’s 27.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the seats (or 25.8 cubic feet with the updated JBL subwoofer), about 10 cubic feet less than the RAV4. (Toyota does not currently say how much cargo is folded into the BZ4X.)
The driving situation seems awkward at first, but it grows on you. The SUV’s 7-inch digital instrument cluster is positioned high and set far forward on the dashboard, which requires placing the steering wheel lower relative to my two driving positions than usual to see the gauges over the rim, not through. However, after only a few miles, I began to appreciate and even like this more comfortable angle which greatly reduced the stress on my wrist during a long day of driving and enhanced forward visibility. Meanwhile, the rest of the BZ4X’s cabin looks good with quality materials and a simple, elegant design.
Information technology, entertainment and safety
The main infotainment screen is the same as Toyota’s 12.3-inch audio multimedia system with “Hey Toyota” hot word detection that debuted in, but when the truck has an oversized volume knob, the BZ4X does disappointingly with the small volume buttons. For the most part, this is a well organized and responsive menu system. However, parts of the interface are probably too simplistic, which makes it easy to overlook some of the commonly accessed features.
And Standard via wireless or a single USB Type-A media port on the center console. (An additional four USB Type-C charging ports can be found split between front and rear seat occupants.) 3-year experience included – which also includes features like a digital key, remote charge monitoring, and more.
The Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 driver aid kit is standard equipment on all BZ4X models, with pre-collision alert, braking assistance for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, and barrier detection. It also features standard lane steering assist, adaptive cruise control that operates in choppy traffic and automatic high beams. Standard blind spot monitoring technology now works in a feature called Safe Exit Assist that alerts occupants when a door is opened to oncoming traffic.
Pricing and competition
Pricing for the 2023 Toyota BZ4X starts at $43,215 for the base XLE single-engine engine, including $1,215 but before any federal or state tax incentives. Add $2,080 for the two-motor all-wheel drive. Going up to the Limited trim replaces the standard rear camera with a 360-degree camera system and adds multi-LED headlights, electric liftgate, SofTex faux-leather seats with eight-way electric adjustment, heated and ventilated surfaces, heated steering, and wheels starting at $47,915 with a single motor or 49 $995 with two.
2023 Toyota BZ4X is very good. I enjoyed its comfortable ride and ergonomics and came away satisfied with its modest performance, excellent build quality and value. Unfortunately, this compact electric SUV class is already filled with six models like Tesla’s Model Y, Kia’s EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID 4 that offer better range, faster charging, better technology or all three.