Toyota finally has an EV that’s good

You might be surprised to learn that Toyota has never before sold a widely available vehicle. The real electric car in America. But they didn’t. Not right. Toyota, the leader in hybrids with the Prius—the name means “go before” in Latin—has never been “going before” with electric cars. Tesla, Nissan, General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Kia and others have outstripped Toyota to market electric vehicles.

There have been two generations of Toyota Rav4 EVs, but Those weren’t available across the country, plus they were just regular RAV4 SUVs with batteries and electric motors. second generation From Rav4 EVs It had a Tesla, not a Toyota, stuff in it. Toyota has always had a more conservative view of electric vehicles than some of the other automakers who have pledged to do everything, or almost, into electric vehicles. Toyota does not undertake to manufacture anything but electric vehicles on any given date.

The BZ4X was designed from the start as an electric crossover. It’s not yet another vehicle with batteries, a technology that usually leads to substandard products. This SUV was designed in partnership with Subaru, which offers its own electric SUV, the Solterra. Both are based on the same geometry and look almost identical.

As with many Toyotas, the BZ4X has some bold design elements on the outside that hide a refreshingly casual experience on the inside. Toyota, the best-selling automaker in the United States last year, has earned its place by giving customers what they want. And what Americans often want is not to bother them. There is nothing in this car Most owners cr He will not be able to detect it quickly and adapt to it.

While some other electric car makers aim to speed up the rout of the brain, the BZ4X takes that About seven seconds, more or less, to go from zero to 60 mph. And frankly, that’s good. It’s fairly fast, actually. Nobody really needs to go faster than that. Just over 200 horsepower from the motor or electric motors in the BZ4X, depending on whether or not you’re going to get all-wheel drive, is also quite decent and reasonable.

Other electric vehicles can give you more than 300 miles of range, maybe even 400 miles, on a single charge, But the BZ4X can give you up to 252 miles of range on a charge. Again, this is good. Most people drive less than 40 miles on average per day, and most buyers will have a charger installed in their homes, if they can, before purchasing an electric vehicle. This means that they will have more than 200 miles of batteries that they carry all the time just for the occasional long ride. Why carry more?

I loved the good, natural behavior of the BZ4X and found it refreshing. It has an easy and straightforward volume knob. The BZ4X has a big touch screen in the middle because everything has big touch screens now. But it’s not one of those massive, TV-sized pixel bins that make you stretch your arm to reach every bit.

There are two things that really stand out in BZ4X: Fenders and ride quality. The suspension on the BZ4X is surprisingly stiff and bouncy, much more than I would have expected from a Toyota. Someone later explained to me that this was the result of the engineers wanting to feel responsive and fun while driving, Which requires a stronger suspension, especially in a vehicle with heavy batteries and a higher ride height. This is fine except that I really doubt anyone would buy a BZ4X for fun. He. She It drives well, and the electric vehicles, with their responsive engines, satisfy themselves with fun. I just think, given the choice between smooth driving and thrills on a winding road, most Toyota crossover buyers would prefer it. Besides, I’ve driven a few fun electric crossovers You don’t wear me like that.

The cabin of the Toyota BZ4X is simple and easy to use.  Unlike some other electric SUVs, there is no storage space under the hood but there is ample space inside.

In one of the strangest car styling choices in recent memory, the BZ4X’s fenders and body panels around the wheels are black. This comes standard on all BZ4X and . models You cannot deselect it. The idea was to make the SUV distinct from Toyota’s gas-powered cars, I was told. (The Subaru Soltera has a similar design advantage, but its castings are dark gray plastic while the Toyota is glossy.) I predict that this embarrassing boom won’t last, and that in a year or two, you’ll be able to get a BZ4X in one color.

The BZ4X is initially only available in Toyota’s high-end and limited XLE trim levels, which includes plenty of features and options. Prices start at about $42,000 for a front-wheel drive model. Those who buy soon will be able to take advantage of an available $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit. Each automaker is allowed a limited number of electric vehicle tax credits. They begin to phase out after a few months the 200,000 credit to the automaker. In what seems like a cruel cosmic joke, Toyota is about to run out of credits shortly after releasing its first electric car. That’s because electric vehicle tax credits also apply to plug-in hybrids, and Toyota has sold many of them. But in exchange for that tax credit, I hope you like the black fenders.