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Spending a week or even a full day with a new model gives us a proper introduction to the vehicle. But when time is of the essence, sometimes there are only minutes available for a preview.
That is exactly what happened during a near week-long press trip to Toyota’s headquarters in Plano, Texas. Much was seen and driven, but the all-new 2023 Toyota bZ4X, the brand’s first traditional all-electric vehicle, was nearly missed. Fortunately, as time was running out, this writer slipped behind the wheel long enough to take the BZ4X for a quick spin. By no means is this a comprehensive review. That will follow once a bZ4X enters our weekly press fleet rotation.
Toyota bZ4X Overview
The bZ4X name is a bit of a tongue twister. The first part of the name, BZ, stands for brand zero, or Toyota’s effort to go completely carbon neutral. The 4X part means that it is a four- (or all-) wheel drive crossover. If the name is hard for you to remember, you are in solid company.
What is the bZ4X?
The bZ4X is a compact all-electric vehicle that is similar in size to the Toyota RAV4. Where the RAV4 is offered in standard, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid versions, bZ4X is fully electric. Just as easily, the bZ4X might have become the RAV4 Electric, but Toyota chose a different naming convention path. The bZ4X seats five, has one or two electric motors, and power is transferred to the front or all four wheels. This EV is based on the e-TGNA all-electric platform jointly developed by Toyota and Subaru. Toyota holds a 20-percent stake in Subaru. Further, the Subaru Solterra is the result of this joint venture.
How much does it cost?
Toyota offers the 2023 bZ4X in two trims: XLE ($42,000) and Limited ($46,700). Add $1,215 for the destination charge. The XLE model comes with up to 252 miles of all-electric range, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a fixed panoramic roof with a sunshade. This trim also features the company’s Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 driver-assist system. Imitation leather seats, fully connected services, and wireless smartphone connectivity are included.
Move up to the Limited trim and this one rides on 20-inch wheels. The all-electric range also drops slightly to 242 miles. Upgraded LED lights, a 12.3-inch digital multimedia center, heated and ventilated front seats, and a bird’s eye view camera are among the other features offered.
Where do I charge this EV?
As with any EV, buyers have a choice of charging their vehicle at their homes or elsewhere. Home charging with a 120-volt outlet won’t cut it, therefore investing in a 240-volt charging connection will significantly reduce that wait. Toyota is partnering with ChargePoint and Qmerit for equipment and installation purposes. Customers can also charge their EVs at public Level 2 stations or for a quick boost, head to a Level 3 (DC Fast Charging) station. Customers who purchase a 2023 bZ4X will get one year of complementary charging at EvGo stations.
When is the bZ4X available?
The 2023 bZ4X is offered nationwide. However, availability may be severely limited, depending on where you live. Indeed, that was the warning notice we received when we logged in to Toyota’s site in our area (Raleigh, NC). In any case, if you want a bZ4X, we strongly recommend working with your dealer to find one. Toyota is filling early orders first. Getting on a list with your order submitted may fetch you a vehicle with deliveries following months later.
What is the bZ4X like?
The 2023 bZ4X reminds this writer of the RAV4. However, its body lines are entirely futuristic and its interior is roomy and EV-focused. There are familiar controls to consider, but the main features are fixed to the screen that sits behind the steering wheel.
One press of the start button lightens the display panel. Engage the transmission and this EV moves out. Like other EVs, this one is zippy, with full torque at the ready. The front-wheel-drive model delivers at least 201 horsepower and 196 pound-feet of torque. Choose all-wheel drive and there are 215 horsepower and 249 pound-feet of torque available.
The bZ4X is quiet, fast, and comfortable. Our test Limited AWD model had no lack of speed and quickly entered and exited Texas I-35 with ease. We will need to spend a far longer time with this EV for a thorough review. Nevertheless, we believe Toyota’s first effort is a worthy one.
See Also — The Toyota bZ4X BEV Rolls Out Spring 2022
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