The 2023 Toyota bZ4x: A bouncy ride meets rather good efficiency

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The 2023 Toyota bZ4x: A bouncy ride meets rather good efficiency


Enlarge / Toyota took better photos of the bZ4x than I did, so I’m using theirs in this review.

Toyota

A few weeks ago, we reviewed Lexus’ new battery-electric vehicle and came away underwhelmed. Today, it’s the turn of its Toyota cousin, the closely related (and unfortunately named) bZ4x. The electric Toyota had a troubled launch last year when the cars had to be recalled due to wheels that might fall off. That’s all solved now thanks to new bolts, washers, and wheels, so we finally spent a week with the bZ4x. Given this EV’s initial reception, I was prepared to be disappointed, but by the end of the week, I was pleasantly surprised. The Toyota isn’t particularly flashy, but it is more efficient than I was expecting.

Let’s start with the name, because it’s a little weird. But there’s a reason behind the alphanumeric jumble. Toyota’s plan to reach carbon neutrality is called Beyond Zero, so the EVs it’s building to get there adopt the bZ moniker, thus bZ4x. You may want to call it Bizzyforks as at least one friend of mine does—no one will stop you if you do.

Like the Lexus and the Subaru Solterra, the bZ4x uses Toyota’s e-TNGA platform; I mistakenly wrote in that Lexus review that it was an existing platform—it’s actually not. It’s roughly the same size as the Lexus, too—the wheelbase is an identical 112.2 inches (2,850 mm), but it’s a bit shorter (184.6 inches/4,689 mm), a bit narrower (73.2 inches/1,859 mm), and slightly taller (65 inches/1,651 mm).

I am so used to having to call EA to get them to make the chargers work that I was a bit stunned that the bZ4x just charged with no complications. Which is a damning indictment on the state of EV charging...
Enlarge / I am so used to having to call EA to get them to make the chargers work that I was a bit stunned that the bZ4x just charged with no complications. Which is a damning indictment on the state of EV charging…

Jonathan Gitlin

The entry point into the bZ4x range is the $42,000 front-wheel drive XLE; our test car was a 2023 bZ4x FWD Limited, which starts at $46,700, and you can get all-wheel drive versions of either XLE or Limited trim for an additional $2,080. Ours arrived in a two-tone theme, mixing pearl white paint with glossy black, something that always brought to mind pandas when seen from the front aspect.

At 4,398 lbs (1,995 kg), the bZ4x is no featherweight, especially compared to the similarly sized RAV4 (even the hybrid or Prime). Consequently, Toyota has fitted rather stiff springs and dampers, and the ride can get a bit bouncy over expansion gaps on the highway.

The single motor driving the bZ4x’s front wheels provides 201 hp (150 kW) and 196 lb-ft (266 Nm), powered by a 71.4 kWh battery pack. (AWD versions use a completely different 72.8 kWh pack in addition to having differently rated motors.)



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