Toyota bZ4X Review

August 10, 2023
Mike Dull
Mike Dull

Toyota’s Foray into the Fully Electric Market

Before the Toyota bZ4X, Toyota was one of the few large-volume automotive manufacturers who have held off on producing a fully electric vehicle. The SUV is built in collaboration with Lexus and Subaru, as a way to create a global EV platform for said companies. Subaru is using the platform to sell their Solterra and Lexus is using it under the attractive RZ.


Akio Toyoda, the former President of Toyota, was avidly against selling EVs. This component of the company philosophy does shine through in the bZ4X’s overall presentation. Toyoda recently stepped down from running the Japanese automaker. He stated in a webcast that he “thought the best way to further Toyota’s transformation would be for me to become chairman in support of a new president.”


Where Toyota goes with its new EV platform remains to be seen. As for the bZ4X, Toyota introduces an EV SUV that handles well, rides smoothly, and has all the standard features. However, the overall presentation and materials used in the new EV, leave us wondering if Toyota put their best foot forward with the bZ4X.


EVU Hot Take


  • Subdued Appearance
  • Over the Air (OTA) updates Available
  • Smooth ride quality



  • Lackluster performance
  • Poor range with little consistency
  • Interior quality is below average for Toyota


Toyota bZ4X Review: Exterior, Design and Packaging

Toyota has borrowed heavily from its existing RAV4 model in terms of design. To give it that futuristic look, the bZ4X has sharper edges and a roof that slopes downward in the rear. The black front and rear fenders come standard with the bZ4X. The only way to avoid having mismatched body panel colors is to order the car in black. Beyond the body panel color blocking, the design of the bZ4X has enough EV-flare to attract potential customers without being too polarizing.


bz4x tail evu


The liftback design of the bZ4X looks great, but compared to that of the RAV4, which has a more standard hatchback shape, the bZ4X’s sloped roof may be prevented from closing when taller items are present in the trunk. Under the car, Toyota utilized a smooth underbody to improve aerodynamics and range. With respect to visual options, you can choose from 18-inch alloy wheels with covers or opt for the nicer 20-inch wheels that come with the Limited model. There is also a split roof spoiler and ducktail option.


Toyota bZ4X Review: Interior, Layout and Tech

Similar to the 2023 Toyota Prius interior with respect to the overall design, the bZ4X is an interesting place to sit. Most striking about the bZ4X’s interior is the plush dashboard contrasted against the plastic steering wheel and gauge cluster assembly. Sitting between the driver and passenger seat is a piano black center console. The look is well done, but we suspect the fancy piano black material will become laden with fingerprints through regular use.


The seats are comfortable, and nothing is out of the driver’s reach. Notably, when sitting in the driver’s seat the digital gauge cluster is partially obscured by the steering wheel. When it comes to passenger space in the bZ4X, there is plenty of leg and headroom. The extra passenger space does take away from the rear trunk space. With the rear seats up, the bZ4X has less cargo space than the Volkswagen ID.4 and Mustang Mach e. Furthermore, the bZ4X lacks a glove box, leaving front-seat passengers with the door pockets and center armrest to store small items.


bz4x interior evu


On the contrary, the Toyota bZ4X comes standard with a very large 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen. Buyers also have the choice of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. This is in addition to the 7.0-inch digital gauge display. Included is an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot as well as wireless smartphone charging. Buyers can enjoy the six-speaker stereo with Sirus XM or opt for the JBL 9-speaker system. When on the road, the bZ4X utilizes driver assists such as blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian/bicyclist detection, emergency auto-braking, and lane-keep assist.


Toyota bZ4X Review: Performance, Electric Range and Charging

With the two Toyota bZ4X trims, you can get a 63.4-kWh battery pack in the SE single-motor model and a 65.5-kWh pack in the dual-motor LE model. The bZ4X is estimated to receive a 220–250-mile range per charge. However, many automotive news outlets have reported the range to be less than 170 miles per charge. This is much lower than its competition and is a disappointing start for the company responsible for the acclaimed plug-in-hybrid Pirus and RAV4 models.


The Toyota bZ4X is built for comfort and that’s clear when it comes to its performance. The ride is soft without being too mushy and the steering provides ample feedback. The EV SUV delivers you to 60 from 0 in a modest seven seconds. Once you’re done using the bZ4X, it can be plugged into Level 2 charging. Toyota claims it can reach an 80% charge in roughly an hour. A bonus to the bZ4X charging capabilities is that customers will receive a year of free charging at EV Go locations across the country.

bz4x charging evu


Toyota bZ4X Review: Pricing

The Toyota bZ4X is a hard sell in today’s market. It starts out at $43,000, with the ability to be optioned out to nearly $50,000. Other EV SUV and compact SUVs on the market have better options packages and start at a lower price. If you’re in the market to spend between $40,000-$50,000, vehicles like the Mustang Mach e, Kia EV6, and Nissan Ariya offer more value for your dollar.


Concluding Thoughts

The Toyota bZ4X lacks the character that would make this vehicle a memorable one in the Toyota line-up. While there is plenty to like about its exterior styling and overall driving feel, Toyota’s first fully electric model does not live up to the standard of their own vehicles. Nor does it match its direct competitors.


Toyota introduced their unified EV platform with the bZ4X, and consequently the Subaru Solterra, we hope its strong suits of handling and vehicle dynamics can be improved upon in future versions. There is a strong platform beneath this EV, but its overall package does not illustrate Toyota’s commitment to quality driving experiences.


Images Courtesy of Toyota.


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