New pure-electric Toyota bZ4X SUV officially revealed

Toyota RAV4-sized electric SUV manages around 280 miles of range

  • A bold exterior design and minimalist interior
  • Expected to be on sale before the end of the year
  • New car forms part of a wider range of ‘bZ’ models

The new Toyota bZ4X electric SUV has been revealed. It’s Toyota’s first dedicated electric car, is a similar size to the Toyota RAV4 and will go on sale in Europe in early December.

Toyota has previously focused on hybrid technology and hydrogen fuel cells but is now ready to produce its own fully electric cars under the ‘bZ’ (for ‘beyond Zero’) sub-brand. It’s developed with help from Subaru, and we’re waiting for a Subaru Solterra version, which is coming soon. The bZ4X will be the first of seven electric bZ cars to appear between now and 2025 as part of Toyota’s plan to launch a 15-model all-electric lineup.

Top 10 best electric SUVs 2021

Toyota revealed a bZ4X ‘concept’ earlier this year and the production version is almost identical, other than a proper steering wheel in place of an aircraft-style yoke. Compared to the Toyota RAV4, the bZ4X is 85mm lower and the wheelbase (the distance between front and rear wheels) is 160mm longer - freeing up lots of space inside. Toyota has already teased that the legroom in the bZ4X Concept is similar to that of the Lexus LS saloon.

Sitting on a new e-TNGA platform, the all-electric version of the modular platform that has underpinned all recent Toyota models, the bZ4X will be a direct rival to the Skoda Enyaq, the Nissan Ariya and the Volkswagen ID.4

2022 Toyota bZX4: exterior and design

Keeping tradition with hybrid-powered Toyotas, the bZ4X concept features a bold exterior look with plenty of sharp, angular lines, and a cab-rearward design, which gives the SUV a notably long bonnet. Since the bZ4X is fully electric, a conventional grille has been replaced with a small ‘mouth’ just beneath the bonnet. 

Ultra-slim daytime running lights sit above quadruple-lens headlights, while a light bar runs right across the rear, above louvred-effect tail-lights. A contrast of materials, including gloss-black plastics that line the wheel arches, complete the look. 

From a more functional perspective, Toyota says the bZ4X incorporates a roof-mounted solar panel to help charge the battery.

Interior and technology 

Inside, the bZ4X is pleasingly simple. The cabin features a small instrument panel and a neatly integrated widescreen infotainment system, with the use of fabric on the main fascia. We’re glad to see a proper steering wheel, rather than the odd device found in the concept, and the instrument cluster has been designed to sit above the steering wheel in the driver’s eyeline. The ‘One Motion Grip-control’ yoke fitted in the concept may come to Europe at a later date.

With the five seats in place, there’s a 452-litre boot. It’s noticeably smaller than the 580 litres you get in the hybrid RAV4 but passenger space should be much more generous in the bZ4X. Luggage capacity is still a reasonable size for a family SUV, if far from class-leading.

Range and performance

The new Toyota bZ4X uses a 71.4kWh battery pack with an estimated range of 280 miles. Toyota is aiming for an achievable figure, rather than a figure that’s better on paper than its rivals but hard to replicate in the real world. Plug in to a 150kW fast-charger and you’ll be able to top up to 80% capacity in half an hour.

Front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models will be available, with 201bhp and 215bhp respectively. The car does 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds in front-wheel drive form - the same as a Skoda Enyaq - and 7.7 seconds in more powerful all-wheel-drive guise. As with many electric cars, you can drive with one pedal if you wish, with the car slowing down significantly as soon as you step off the accelerator.

Toyota claims that the battery will suffer far less degradation than other electric cars, charging to 90% capacity even after 10 years or 150,000 miles. Each individual cell is monitored constantly by the car’s computer, while the battery is water-cooled. An optional heat pump will help the car lose less range in cold conditions.

Subaru helped with the four-wheel-drive system, which is said to make the car very capable off-road. There’s a mode for snow and mud, as well as a ‘deep snow’ mode that’s restricted to 13mph and a Grip Control setting for when the going gets really tough and you’re crawling at less than 6mph.

What can buyers expect? 

The ‘bZ’ part of the car’s name stands for Beyond Zero, Toyota’s vision of carbon-neutral motoring, while the ‘X’ denotes a crossover body style. Toyota has trademarked a range of ‘bZ’ nameplates, and in many cases it has also registered the ‘X’ variant, so expect a whole series of electric models. The brand has already teased renders of a small crossover, family hatchback and a larger SUV earlier in the year, confirming that this platform will facilitate a whole range of different-sized models, and will allow either two or four-wheel drive. 

The bZ4X is set to arrive before the end of the year, at which point we’ll find out the car’s price. We do, however, expect prices to be similar to the VW ID.4, which starts at around £40,000.

Read our guides to the best electric cars and the best cars coming out in 2021 and beyond.

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