Toyota bZ4X review
The Toyota bZ4X is a deceptively sporty and plush-feeling family SUV that’s plagued by a limited electric range and awkward driving position
- Good to drive
- Excellent on-board tech
- Toyota reliability and impressive warranty
- Average range
- Uncomfortable driving position
- Quite expensive
Wallbox charge time
12hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)
32mins (10-80%, 150kW)
Toyota bZ4X verdict
Toyota almost hit it out of the park with its first entry into the electric car market; the bZ4X is good to drive and offers fast charging, a premium-feeling interior, plus one of the best infotainment systems we’ve seen in an electric family SUV. Unfortunately, a disappointing range figure and an awkward driving position drags the otherwise polished bZ4X down into the middle of the pack and seals its fate as a quirky left-field choice to some of the more well-rounded offerings out there. Still, strong residuals make it one of the better options for private buyers, especially those wanting to make use of Toyota’s fantastic 10-year warranty.
Range details, specs and alternatives
To say the bZ4X is an important car for Toyota would be a massive understatement. Having focused mainly on hybrid cars for many years while other big car manufacturers forged ahead with electric cars, the Japanese giant is finally gearing up to go electric in a big way.
It’s already said a grand total of 11 further Toyota models are on their way between now and 2030, however, for now the bZ4X – a family SUV rival for the likes of the Volkswagen ID.4, Skoda Enyaq, Nissan Ariya, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Tesla Model Y – is your only option if you’re after a Toyota electric car. It’s designed from the ground up to be an electric model, rather than being based on a petrol model, and was developed alongside the Subaru Solterra, sharing most of its underpinnings with that car. It’s worth noting, that while both cars share similar SUV styling, the Solterra is a little more off-road capable, gaining an ’X-Mode’ for use over mud, snow or wet grass.
On paper, at least, the Toyota bZ4X looks to be on par with the competition; all models get a relatively large 71.4kWh battery, with buyers being offered the choice of either front- or four-wheel drive. The difference in power between the two is less than you’d expect, though. Entry-level front-wheel drive cars produce 201bhp, while the addition of another electric motor at the rear to provide four-wheel drive only results in a boost to 215bhp. Consequently, both models have a similar 0-62mph time of around seven seconds.
However, things seem a bit less competitive when it comes to range; according to Toyota, front-wheel-drive bZ4X models are only capable of up to 271 miles on a charge, while opting for the dual-motor car drops this figure to around 255 miles. Still, 150kW DC ultra-rapid charging is a standard feature across the line-up, enabling a 10-80% charge in as little as just over half-an-hour.
Pinning its hopes of success on its fierce reputation for build quality and reliability, Toyota has priced the bZ4X in-line with its compelling list of rivals, rather than attempting to undercut the competition. There are three trim levels to choose from – Pure, Motion and Vision – the least expensive of which only being available with front-wheel drive.
The list of standard equipment is strong, with even base Pure cars getting an eight-inch touchscreen with sat nav, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED lights front-and-rear, dual-zone air conditioning, adaptive cruise control and a reversing camera. That being said, we still recommend stepping up to the Motion model, not least for its larger and glossier 12-inch touchscreen. The almost £3,500 uptick in price also nets you a wireless phone charger, heated part-leatherette seats, ambient lighting, blind-spot monitoring, a 360-degree camera system and a sportier bodykit.
Finally, there’s the top-spec Vision model, which is priced in-line with premium rivals such as the BMW iX1 and Audi Q4 e-tron. It tries to justify its higher price with luxuries such as larger 20-inch alloy wheels (lower-spec cars get 18-inch alloys), ventilated full-leatherette memory seats, a gesture-operated powered bootlid and a self-parking function, but we think the mid-spec Motion in front-wheel-drive form offers the best value for money.
Click here to see why you can trust DivingElectric reviews, or for a more detailed look at the Toyota bZ4X, read on for the rest of our in-depth review…
In This Review
- 1Toyota bZ4X review - currently readingThe Toyota bZ4X is a deceptively sporty and plush-feeling family SUV that’s plagued by a limited electric range and awkward driving position
- 2Range, battery & chargeThe Toyota bZ4X offers accurate, if a tad underwhelming range figures
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe bZ4X may be pretty expensive, but Toyota’s warranty scheme is among the best in the business
- 4Performance, motor & driveSharp and progressive steering plus plenty of grip makes the Toyota bZ4X one of the more fun electric SUVs to drive
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortSlightly awkward driving position aside, the bZ4X boasts a well-built interior with a superb infotainment system
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe bZ4X doesn’t comprehensively outshine any rivals here, but should still be spacious enough for most
- 7Reliability & safety ratingToyota’s reputation for reliability is bolstered by an extensive list of standard safety features