In-depth reviews

Toyota bZ4X performance, motor & drive

A genuinely engaging driving experience is one of the Toyota bZ4X’s most surprising and impressive aspects

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

4.5 out of 5

Model0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
FWD7.5s100mphFront201bhp
AWD6.9s100mphFour215bhp

The bZ4X sits on the 'e-TNGA' platform, shared with sister cars the Subaru Solterra and Lexus RZ. This uses the batteries as an integral part of the chassis, promising the usual electric-car benefits of a low centre of gravity, good weight balance and strong rigidity. On paper, performance is strong but not spellbinding, but the Toyota feels quick in the real world and is genuinely engaging to drive.

Toyota bZ4X 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

There are two main versions of the bZ4X to pick from at launch: front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. The former has a single electric motor and the latter two, but there’s only a modest difference in power output between them: 201bhp from the front-drive and 215bhp from the four-wheel-drive, for 0-62mph times of 7.5 and 6.9 seconds respectively. Top speed in both cases is limited to 100mph.

Handling

While Toyota certainly knows how to make an entertaining sports car, as evidenced by its petrol-engined Supra, GR 86 and GR Yaris models, its more family-orientated cars have traditionally been pretty dull to drive. That began to change with the launch of the latest hybrid Corolla back in 2019 and the advent of the electric bZ4X continues the trend.

For starters, it feels much quicker in the real world than those circa-seven-second 0-62mph times suggest, yet remains soothingly quiet, with no intrusive whine from the electric motor. Secondly, it handles well, with direct and nicely weighted steering and impressive stability through a testing series of corners.

And that sense of driving fun doesn’t come at the expense of ride comfort – for a large SUV carrying heavy batteries and riding on 20-inch alloy wheels, the Toyota does an excellent job of smoothing out all but the very worst lumps and bumps you’ll encounter in everyday driving. Elsewhere, there's reasonably strong regenerative braking when the strongest mode is engaged – although not quite enough for true one-pedal driving on all roads.

The four-wheel-drive bZ4X has benefited from the off-roading know-how of Toyota’s fellow Japanese brand Subaru. There are various off-road driving modes, suited to "snow or mud", "deep snow or mud" and "tougher off-road driving". Our brief tests revealed more off-road ability than rivals, but we doubt too many drivers will take their bZ4X mud-plugging. They may pull a trailer, though, and the optional Towing Pack enables the car to haul up to 750kg.

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