TOYOTA bZ4X: Japanese giant builds on years of experience

FOR a manufacturer well versed in hybrid machinery, it’s taken Toyota a while to take the plunge into full electric motoring.

Perhaps they were wondering what to call it – after all, there are a lot of names out there already. And perhaps that’s why they came up with bZ4X, a name almost as curious as the marmite styling of the new SUV.
First acquaintance might lead you to think the designers had a lengthy lunchbreak that involved copious amounts of Sake before heading back to their work stations to add a few more lines.

It comes with plenty of sharp creases and slim LED lights front and rear. The coupe like rear features a rear roof spoiler that’s split with two winglets either side. The claim is it’s so aerodynamically efficient it doesn’t need a rear wiper; actually, it does…..

It’s certainly got a different look inside, and although the profile doesn’t really make it stand out from the rest of the SUV crowd, it is different in ways that will win it fans. You can’t help but notice it’s a very comfortable car and there’s a lot of space for passengers to stretch out in.

It’s the first of a Toyota family of bZs, the first two letters standing for Beyond Zero. The number 4 is the size of the car, so there will be others of varying sizes on the way, and X stands for crossover.

It’s fair comment that Toyota has more experience of electrification than most with the efficient hybrid Prius having plied its trade for the past 25 years now, and with Toyota’s reputation for reliability and the prospect of 10 years warranty cover if you have it looked after by Toyota, the bZ4X’s stars are aligning nicely.

bZ4X is a bit longer and a bit lower than a Toyota RAV4 and it’ll give you more interior space and a unique look and feel to the cockpit area with its small steering wheel. The boot has a 412 litre capacity, tucked away under a retractable cover which hides your stuff from prying eyes.The batteries that power the car sit under the floor and positioned there they help with the overall balance on the move. For a decent sized SUV weighed down with heavy batteries and riding on 20-inch wheels, the ride is remarkably good.

There is but one battery capacity of 71.4kWh but you get a choice of front wheel drive or four wheel drive.

Toyota claims up to 317 miles on the front-drive 201bhp car and 286 miles for the 215bhp 4×4. Efficiency was difficult to gauge as freezing conditions came into play at the time of our test – winter always has a deleterious effect on battery performance, when using the heater can wipe 30 odd miles off your range instantly.

But you can fast-charge at speeds of up to 150kW to get an 80 per cent charge in around 30 minutes.

It comes in three equipment grades – Pure, Motion and Vision, and prices start at £45,710 for a two-wheel drive Pure.


Toyota bZ4X Motion

Price: £49,910
Engine: AC permanent magnet synchronous motor
Power: 201bhp
Torque: 196lb/ft
Transmission: single speed automatic
Top speed: 100mph
0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
Range: 312 miles
CO2 emissions: 0g/km

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