Toyota’s jumping into the latest fray of EV crossovers — how does it stack up?
After making its initial debut in Japan, the 2023 Toyota bZ4X has officially arrived in the U.S. What’s more, the automaker invited Tommy out to California to get a hands-on look at their next-gen EV. Sharing its platform with the Subaru Solterra, this is just the first in Toyota’s “beyond Zero” lineup, with five more models set to follow it in the coming years.
Now that it’s made an appearance on our shores, we have some specs that will apply to our market when the Toyota bZ4X actually launches next year. Front-wheel drive models get a single, 201 horsepower motor, as well as a 71.4-kWh (gross capacity) battery pack and a range around 250 miles — on par Hyundai Kona EV and the Volkswagen ID.4. All-wheel drive models get a slightly larger 72.8-kWh battery pack, with an extra rear-mounted motor bringing the total output up to 215 horsepower. Thanks to the extra power (and weight), the bZ4X will land somewhere lower than the 250-mile figure, though exact EPA ratings aren’t available just yet.
Toyota also didn’t mention charging speeds for the U.S.-market model. However, going off the Japanese spec sheet, that may land somewhere in the 150 kW range.
What about the yoke?
One of the most striking features of the Toyota bZ4X concept was the steering yoke — sort of like another well-known electric vehicle. That will be an option in some global markets, though it won’t be available over here at launch (it could come later). The automaker’s new 12.3-inch infotainment system also makes an appearance here, with capability for over-the-air updates and control via your smartphone through an app.
As far as EV crossovers go, there’s a growing list against which the Toyota will have to compete. Apart from the before-mentioned ID.4 and Kona EV, the bZ4X will also have to duke it out with the Tesla Model Y, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Audi Q4 e-tron, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Mazda CX-30, and other players in coming down the pike like Nissan Ariya and the just-revealed Fisker Ocean. In short, it’s getting to be a crowded field, and Toyota’s Johnny-come-lately is going to need to jump pretty high to woo potential buyers. Mind you, Toyota is still the world’s second-largest automaker, so there’s plenty of clout to make it happen.
As the market shifts, one thing is immediately clear: This is the automaker’s most important step to get right in decades, since it originally launched the Prius in the late 1990s.
When the bZ4X does arrive at dealers in mid-2022, we’d expect it to land among its rivals in the mid-$30,000 to $40,000 range. Exact pricing isn’t available just yet.
Check out Tommy’s video below for a closer look at Toyota’s new EV: