Following a global reveal in late October, Toyota today hosted the North American debut of its first fully electric SUV in production form. The oddly named bZ4X will land in showrooms in mid-2022 as a 2023 model.
In case you forgot, the Japanese automaker plans to expand to around 70 electrified models globally by 2025. This future lineup will feature 15 dedicated battery-electric vehicles, including seven carrying the “bZ” (Beyond Zero) brand moniker.
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How Much Range?
Let’s immediately answer the question that’s probably burning your lips at this point: what’s the range? As previously reported, the bZ4X will be available in single-motor and dual-motor configurations, but the WLTP-estimated range of 500 km or 460 km, respectively, was definitely too optimistic.
According to Toyota Canada, once the rubber hits the road, the bZ4X will be able to cover up to 400 kilometres in XLE trim with front-wheel drive—same distance as the Volkswagen ID.4, which will be one of its direct competitors, but shorter than the Hyundai IONIQ 5. There’s no number yet for models equipped with all-wheel drive.
Subaru Expertise Built-in
When it comes to performance, the Toyota bZ4X benefits from a new AWD system with X-Mode traction management similar to that of many Subaru vehicles. The two companies are long-time partners and the latter will launch its own electric SUV, called Solterra, at around the same time as the bZ4X. Both models ride on the same new platform.
Output is rated at 201 or 215 horsepower depending on the number of motors. Interestingly, Toyota engineers redesigned the accelerator pedal to create a smoother feel when accelerating and decelerating, coupled with an intelligent throttle with slip suppression to provide improved control on slippery roads. We’re curious to see how that works.
New Styling Direction
Roughly the size of a RAV4, but lower and more athletic, the bZ4X has totally unique looks. The front end, which Toyota says is inspired by a hammerhead shark, combines thin LED headlights with contrasting body cladding around the wheel arches. In the rear, the liftgate has an extremely sloping window that will inevitably affect cargo capacity.
The interior is a radical departure from current Toyota products, too. A large centre touchscreen highlights a cascading interface that flows into a floating console. Convenient storage can be found underneath as well as under the long centre armrest. The unique, all-digital instrument panel, meanwhile, is mounted closer to the base of the windshield and the driver’s sight lines. Toyota also insists on the generous amount of legroom front and rear, plus the feeling of openness provided by the panoramic roof.
By the way, the bZ4X is ready to face cold Canadian winters with heated seats and steering wheel, front-seat radiant foot-and-leg heating (a Toyota first) and a heat pump for both heating and air conditioning.
Another important thing you should know is that the bZ4X will be the first vehicle to feature the latest Toyota Safety Sense safety package (TSS 3.0). This system has been improved by expanding the detection range of the millimeter wave radar and monocular camera. Toyota has enhanced the performance of each function and added new features to assist in normal driving conditions. For example, the Precollision system has been improved to offer Low-Light Cyclist Detection, Daytime Motorcyclist Detection and Guardrail Detection. Also, lane recognition is enhanced to add improved functionality while in Lane Tracing Assist mode.
Full details including pricing and available EV incentives will be announced closer to the launch of the 2023 Toyota bZ4X sometime around next summer.