After shying away from the usual gamut of electric vehicles in favor of hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell technologies, Toyota has finally thrown its first battery-powered EV into the ring: the 2023 bZ4X. The “bZ” is new branding and stands for “Beyond Zero,” commencing the new EVs on the way from Toyota. Decoding the rest of the name, the “4” is the size of the vehicle, alluding to possible variants in other form factors, while the “X” stands for crossover. Put it all together, and we can see that the bZ4X is a mid-sized, zero-emission SUV with the promise of future growth.
Quick Specs: 2023 Toyota bZ4X
- Price (USD): $42,000 to $48,780
- Range: 222 to 252 miles
- Drive type: FWD & AWD
- Battery: Lithium-ion, 71.2 (FWD) / 72.8 kWh (AWD)
- Motor(s): 1 (FWD) / 2 (AWD)
- Charge time: 9.5 hours (L2), 30 min (FWD FC) / 60 min (AWD FC)
If you’ve been EV shopping lately, this Toyota may seem like another Japanese EV you’ve seen. Similar to the arrangement with the FR-S/86 and BRZ, the bZ4X has an almost-identical Subaru twin, the Solterra. Like the twin sports cars, they’re both built on the same chassis – the brand-new e-TNGA platform in this case – and the Subaru version is a bit more premium and expensive. With that said, let’s get into Toyota’s E-SUV offering.
Models & Options
Offered in XLE ($42,000 starting MSRP) and Limited ($46,700 starting MSRP) trims, both flavors of the bZ4X have the same amount of juice, producing 201 horsepower from a single motor at the front; however, the XLE edges out the Limited’s 242 miles of estimated range by an increased 10 miles. We can attribute the difference to the XLE’s efficiently-sized 18-inch wheels over the Limited’s 20-inch standard rollers. The rest of the Limited’s exterior offerings over the XLE are also cosmetic, like the available two-tone paint job, chrome trim, and optional roof spoiler.
In either model’s option sheet, the box that offers the most considerable change when ticked is labeled “AWD.” Taking the bZ4X from front-wheel to all-wheel drive adds a second electric motor in the rear, which increases power by an additional 14 horses. The added equipment does decrease the range – 228 miles in the XLE and 222 miles for the Limited – while putting the XLE model in the middle of the pack price-wise ($44,080) and the Limited at the very top ($48,780). Opting for AWD also unlocks Toyota/Subaru’s X-MODE drive mode, with grip control options for snow, dirt, and mud.
Interior & Tech
Measuring longer than a RAV4, the bZ4X offers a spacious interior layout with plenty of legroom in the back seats, even when a driver and front passenger of about six-feet tall are seated. This extra passenger room may have been taken from the trunk, as the hatch cargo space isn’t as ample as the RAV4, and usual extra storage space is absent, as the bZ4X has neither a “frunk” nor a glovebox. Some great additions are a lidded wireless-charging tray to stow your phone, plenty of options for cup and bottle holders, and glovebox-sized open storage underneath the center console in the space where the shifter would traditionally be.
The bolstered and supportive seats are six-way adjustable in a mix of Sotfex and fabric with the XLE model; the Limited boasts heated all-Softex seats with eight-way adjustability. From the driver’s seat, you see information split between a seven-inch digital gauge display in front of the leather-trimmed steering wheel and a 12.3-inch tablet-style infotainment screen in the middle of the dash. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are ready to go and accessible from the center screen, as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot and cloud-based navigation. If you’re looking for a little extra bump, you could opt for the Limited’s nine-speaker JBL system over the XLE’s generic six-piece.
If We Were to Choose
If we were to buy a 2023 bZ4X, we’d go with the nicely-appointed XLE. A lot of what the Limited offers is “nice-to-have,” but for the money, not necessary for an efficient and enjoyable EV experience. Even if you want to sacrifice some range for better traction and power with the AWD model, the XLE AWD sits at a sweet-spot price point between the other bZ4X models. It also undercuts the standard AWD Subaru Solterra “Premium” model cost of $44,995 by almost $1,000.
2023 Toyota bZ4X Gallery
SOURCE | IMAGES: TOYOTA
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