Toyota bZ4X SUV review
“The Toyota bZ4X is a great family EV with lots to like, although some rivals are more practical”
- Decent range and charging figures
- Surprisingly engaging driving experience
- Generous interior space
- Not much luggage space
- High floor in the back
- Limited towing capacity
Is the Toyota bZ4X a good car?
It’s good news that Toyota now offers a mainstream electric car, and the fact it’s a stylish SUV seems like a no-brainer. The bZ4X has excellent build quality and it’s easy to drive, but it’s far from perfect. Its boot is smaller than you’ll find in the Volkswagen ID.4, the driving position is somewhat awkward and electric range fell significantly during our winter testing.
Toyota bZ4X range
Given Toyota’s huge experience in hybrid cars and even zero-emission hydrogen cars, it’s a little surprising that this bZ4X is the first mass-produced Toyota electric car. The Prius might have been one of the very first hybrids on sale, but the market for electric SUVs is already maturing, so the Toyota bZ4X needs to stack up against cars such as the Volkswagen ID.4, Skoda Enyaq iV and Kia EV6.
With almost comically chunky wheel arches and eye-catching details, the bZ4X is likely to stand out on the road. While you’d struggle to call it pretty, there’s a definite futuristic feel to the styling.
The assortment of letters and numbers on the badge look like they belong on a photocopier, mind you. ‘bZ’ stands for Beyond Zero – Toyota’s plan for its future electric cars – while the ‘4’ is the size and the X signifies that it’s a crossover. A wider range of bZ electric cars is on the way, and are likely to be good if the bZ4X is anything to go by.
Its maximum 317-mile range is impressive and broadly matches its closest competitors, yet the bZ4X is also better to drive than you’d reasonably expect from a heavy SUV. What’s particularly noteworthy is that it manages to be both engaging to drive and comfortable over long distances. Standard versions get 201bhp, while four-wheel-drive versions get 215bhp and a handy increase in torque, but both are fitted with the same 71.4kWh battery.
Occupants should find it easy to get comfortable, and a similar amount of interior space to the Lexus LS luxury saloon means they have plenty of space to stretch out in. In other aspects, the bZ4X’s practicality is slightly lacking. The boot is reasonable at best – and smaller if you pick the four-wheel-drive versions – while towing capacity isn’t great and there’s no glovebox.
There are four trim levels: Pure, Motion, Vision and Premier Edition. The bZ4X is well-equipped and all versions get plenty of safety kit as standard. The interior is high-quality and high-spec versions feature a 12-inch infotainment screen that’s one of the best systems in any Toyota – it looks very smart and modern. Lower trim levels get an eight-inch screen. Although no matter which specification you choose you’ll get a car that scored a full five stars in Euro NCAP safety testing.