Toyota BZ4X Prototype First Drive Review:
This piece was converted from German to English and has been edited for clarity. All pricing conversions were correct at the time of publication. Range figures are on the WLTP scale.
The Toyota bZ4X is not the brand’s first electric car. Toyota already has the ProAce Electric in its lineup. However, that model is a commercial vehicle riding on the Citroen Jumpy’s platform and is also available with gas and diesel power. The bZ4X, on the other hand, is based on Toyota’s own e-TNGA electric platform. Is that convincing? We were already able to drive the e-SUV for a short round as a prototype to find out.
With a length of 4.69 meters, a width of 1.86 meters, a height of 1.65 meters, and a wheelbase of 2.85 meters (185.6, 73.2, 65.0, and 112.2 inches), the future benchmarks of Toyota’s newcomer are clear. It’s up against models like the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y, Kia EV6, the Volkswagen ID.4, and its Volkswagen Group siblings, the Audi Q4 E-Tron and Skoda Enyaq iV. Toyota needs to put up a hell of a fight against such stout competitors.
We weren’t able to gain any new insights into the design thanks to Toyota’s camouflage, so we don’t know any more than we can see from the official press photos. But if we let the coverings of the prototypes disappear in our mind’s eye and imagine the bZ4X on the road without camo, the design (especially for fans of Prius, C-HR, and the like) could already be good. The manufacturer calls this “Hammerhead” design. Okay.
The interior, on the other hand, is no longer hidden under camouflage fleece or any kind of stickers. Comparable to the models that will be in dealerships from early summer 2022, however, the cabins are not quite final yet. After all, these are handmade prototypes and not series products manufactured with machine precision. Nevertheless, it can already be said that the first product of Toyota’s bZ sub-brand will be spacious.
More On The Interior, Please
The cabin is very spacious. There’s more than enough room in all five seats, even for larger folks. The trunk holds a good 452 liters (16.0 cubic feet). The Toyota doesn’t have to fear a comparison with the competition.
The cockpit is characterized by a large touchscreen in landscape format and a small instrument display (7.0 inches). The area between the steering wheel and the driver’s display has a very unique design, kind of like a shell. It’s not really attractive. On the other hand, everything looks quite clear. Both in terms of the arrangement of the buttons and switches and the visualization of the infotainment content. And that is not a matter of course for a Japanese vehicle.
By the way, we can’t say anything more precise about the complete usability based on our test drive. Prototype and all. Many functions were not properly implemented, and it was not yet possible to scroll in the navigation menu, for example. However, the smartphone connection already worked, the inductive charging function and heated and cooled seats were also available. And the adaptive and semi-autonomous driving aids were already working. Flawlessly, we might add.
Now, before we hit the road, the technical data:
|bZ4X FWD||bZ4X AWD|
|Output:||150 Kilowatts / 195 Pound-Feet||160 Kilowatts / 248 Pound-Feet|
|Drive Type:||Front-Wheel Drive||All-Wheel Drive|
|0-62 MPH:||7.5 Seconds||6.9 Seconds|
|Efficiency:||15.9-18.2 kWh/100 km||17.4-19.3 kWh/100 km|
|Battery:||71-Kilowatt-Hour Lithium-Ion||71-Kilowatt-Hour Lithium-Ion|
|Range (WLTP):||243-279 Miles||229-254 Miles|
|DC Charge Rate:||150 Kilowatts||150 Kilowatts|
|Base Price (European Market)||$54,807||$68,018|
As you can see from the still very short overview, Toyota hasn’t confirmed too many of the bZ4X’s figures and some are still subject to change. For example, final ranges, charging speeds, or the unladen weight remain unknown. Currently, there is only talk of charging to 80 percent in 30 minutes, a three-phase 11.0-kilowatt on-board charger charging in the fourth quarter of 2022, and a WLTP range of “more than 450 km (280 miles)”.