Toyota bZ4X review: Price, range and off-road capability of Toyota’s first BEV Bedford News

Toyota pioneered electrification with the hybrid Prius 25 years ago and later the hydrogen fuel cell EV Mirai, but the automaker has only just launched its first battery electric vehicle, the bZ4X , making it a parent. arrived late in the area.

The reason is simply market demand. With the desire for electric vehicles soaring and infrastructure constantly improving, Toyota hopes that 2022/23 will be the perfect time to launch its first foray into the sector.

The all-electric compact SUV has been co-developed with Subaru on the new modular eTNGA platform which will underpin Toyota’s full range of all-electric models to follow in the wake of the bZ4X. These models, which have yet to be announced, will also carry the bZ moniker, which stands for Beyond Zero.

AWD capability

The partnership with Subaru allowed Toyota to benefit from the Japanese automaker’s experience in all-wheel-drive engineering, although the reason the company behind the Landcruiser and Hilux felt it needed support in this area is somewhat of a headache.

Nonetheless, the result is a truly capable all-terrain vehicle. Toyota has fully waterproofed the batteries which, despite being integrated into the vehicle structure under the driving compartment, means the bZ4X has a wading depth of 50cm.

Toyota designed the bZ4X to be truly off-road capable

During our test, we were challenged to put the SUV through its paces on an obstacle course that allowed us to experience the control of descent and ascent as well as the ability aforementioned fording and the X-Mode all-wheel-drive system.

Perhaps the conditions were in the Toyota’s favor – the course was set up in the parking lot of a Copenhagen biomass plant without a speck of mud or snow in sight – but it’s clear from the performance that the AWD badge adorning the car is there for more than school-managed bragging rights. The descent and ascent functions are easy to activate, with a menu displayed on the driver display by pressing the X-Mode button next to the drive selector. It’s also an actual button, so you should be able to fit everything into a pair of winter gloves.

Our all-wheel-drive tester produced up to 215 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque from 80 kW front and rear motors. A front-wheel-drive version of the car – which Toyota says will account for the majority of UK sales – is also available with a front-mounted 150kW axle motor producing 201bhp and peak torque of 196 lb-ft.

Technical details and vehicle range

The BZ4X’s water-cooled 96-cell battery pack has a capacity of 71.4 kWh, giving it a range of 286 miles in AWD spec, depending on trim level. The front-wheel-drive version has a longer range of 317 miles. This is all subject to the usual caveats, it’s too cold, it’s too hot, and the air conditioning is on, you’re driving uphill, downhill, too fast, etc., but during a test circuit of mixed 64 mile driving through Copenhagen and the surrounding countryside, our AWD test car averaged 3.57 miles/kWh, which would mean a real world range of 254 miles, with the air conditioning on and my foot leaded to the controls.

My test car’s on-board computer after our Copenhagen circuit

Long-term battery life is an issue that often tops the list of concerns for potential EV buyers. Most forecasts estimate that between 2% and 3% of a battery’s capacity will degrade in a year. Toyota has decided to further reassure buyers with a 10-year – or 620,000 mile – guarantee that the battery will retain at least 70% of its capacity. The bZ4X charges via a 6.6 kW on-board charger, but cars manufactured from Q4 2022 will come with an 11 kW unit for faster air conditioning charging.

Driving dynamics

Weighing over two tonnes in the all-wheel-drive variant, the bZ4X weighs almost 400kg more than the similarly sized Rav4 Hybrid, but with plenty of power available, the 0-62mph is a 6.9 mph boost. seconds. There are faster mainstream EVs out there, but it’s more than enough for what most people will be using and it’s faster than most internal combustion SUVs of its size.

It’s not a heavy cornering beast either, Toyota has worked hard on body stiffness and weight distribution to ensure the car handles well. Floor mounted batteries give the bz4X a low center of gravity and weight saving materials have been favored towards the front of the car – for example the radiator subframe and aluminum crossmembers in the engine compartment – in order to help with the inertia in the turns.

Steering is provided by a rack and pinion electric power steering system that stiffens or lightens depending on vehicle speed. Toyota says, however, the car will also be available with its One Motion Grip wire-steering system from 2023, featuring a Tesla-inspired (or airliner) steering yoke instead of a traditional steering wheel. .

In normal driving the car is front wheel drive unless needed, and in X mode the power split is 50/50 between the front and rear axles unless the ABS system senses that more power is needed on a particular wheel. The bZ4X has ventilated discs front and rear and an electronic parking brake. Unlike Subaru’s Solterra EV, the almost identical Subaru born out of this partnership, there are no paddles to control regenerative braking and Daisuke Ido, Toyota’s chief engineer on the project, thinks it better leave that to the computer. From my own experience with manual systems, he’s probably right. I invariably resort to the default setting before long.

Refinement was good and the Macpherson strut front suspension and double-wishbone rear suspension setup soaked up the various bumps and undulations of the Danish road network with very little fuss. Tire noise was minimal, although wind noise above 50 mph started to be noticeable. As aerodynamic as the designers tried to make the bZ4X look, it’s still an SUV and there’s no engine noise to mask the noise of the elements.

Interior construction, space and quality

The interior is plenty roomy, and while it’s supposed to be Rav4-sized, the bZ4X looks more like a Landcruiser scaled from the passenger or driver’s seat. Visibility is excellent forwards and to the flanks, less towards the rear, but this is something less and less relevant in the era of high definition reversing cameras.

The instrument display has no hood, making the driver’s view more open than would be typical, and generally the design and layout of the dashboard is clean and open. There’s no glove box under the dashboard in front of the passenger seat, which interior designer in charge of the bZx4 project Alessandro Belosio said was inspired by his wife, who wanted a car that fit him. would comfortably store her purse at her feet.

The interior of the bZ4x is a mixed bag. Display is great and visibility is great, but some materials feel cheap

The dashboard of our test car, which was equivalent to the second Vision trim level, was dominated by a 12.3-inch landscape-oriented touchscreen. Lower-spec cars have an eight-inch screen. The materials in the cabin are a mixed bag. The synthetic leather upholstery was premium and I’m a big fan of a fabric-wrapped dash, but some of the plastics felt a little cheap and were probably chosen for their light weight rather than their soft texture.

Overall, it’s a nice, open cabin, but it’s not as nice or open as a Hyundai Ioniq 5 or Tesla Model Y (although it’s more comfortable).

Judgment and costs

Starting at £41,950 for the entry-level Pure front-wheel-drive model and up to £51,550 for the top-spec First Edition, the bZ4X will be marketed with competitive leasing options through Kinto, the mobility provider of the brand. Private customers can rent a mid-range Motion car from £599 per month (£499 for business customers) with payments including vehicle use, maintenance, roadside assistance and access to a charging network. Buyers who prefer to own their vehicle can expect to pay around £650 per month for the same vehicle on a Toyota PCP deal.

Toyota’s first battery-electric vehicle may have taken 25 years to manufacture, but it’s a solid first effort that holds up in a price range that includes some very stiff competition in the form of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 , the Volkswagen ID.4 and the Kia EV6. . It’s more conservative than the Korean pair, which could work for or against depending on who buys, but it’s far from boring to drive and that true off-road capability will be a differentiator that will help the bZ4X stand out.

Price: £50,250 Engine: Double electric synchronous 80kW Battery: 71.4 kWh; Power: 215 hp; Couple : 249 lb ft; Transmission: Single-speed automatic, all-wheel drive; Maximum speed: 100mph; 0-62mph: 6.9 seconds; WLTP range: 259 miles; Consumption: 4.4 miles per kWh; Loading: Up to 150kW

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This notice was published: 2022-06-24 12:22:45

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