Toyota’s legendary reliability may not be enough to move their first internally designed BEV off lots. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Nov. 29, 2021 2023 Toyota bz4X The intro was this. Toyota’s all-electric bZ4X made its U.S. debut representing the OEMs first of a series of BEVs to be introduced under the global “Toyota bZ” (Beyond Zero) brand umbrella. With availability scheduled for mid-2022, the bZ4X will have a manufacturer-estimated range of up to 250 miles for XLE front-wheel drive models and as little as 225-miles for the AWD variants. That “elephant in the room” - far less than 300 and 400-mile - short range announcement is the same release that has plagued any number of full model lineup OEMs with their own initial releases when trying to do battle against the likes of the well-established 300 to 400-mile range Tesla’s and the hard charging newcomer called Lucid with its own 400 to 500+ mile range sedan only offering, all available today. The all-new bZ4X joins an extensive lineup of Toyota Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid (Prius and RAV4 Prime) vehicles that accounts for more than 24% of Toyota’s total U.S. sales volume. By 2050, Toyota envisions a future in which carbon neutrality is standard no matter the Toyota drivetrain chosen. 2023 Toyota bZ4X The all-new, all-electric SUV looks like a cross between the RAV4 and Venza Hybrid with an all-electric front fascia. Out back, the Venza/RXh like rear hatch slope along with combination lamps fits a modern vehicle appearance with one caveat. The rear lamps housing is far to large for a sleek modern appearance. AKA, 4th gen Prius upright rear lamps through 2019 before they toned them down with a horizontal layout. Decent amount of cargo volume albeit the steeply raked rear hatch will reduce practical volume and use somewhat. The instrument panel and central display are moved up a few inches providing an improved driver’s eyes on the road layout. Soundproofing glass and wind-noise reduction features create a quiet refuge from the world outside although we were not allowed to drive the static prototype vehicle(s) onsite. The bZ4X includes a panoramic roof while passengers are offered RAV4 like legroom, front and rear. USB A and C ports in convenient locations. 2023 Toyota bZ4X Front to Rear Seat Legroom The reflective black wheel well cladding and front wheel up into the headlamps looks a little cartoonish. Built on the Toyota BEV e-TNGA platform, the bZ4X includes a 71.4/72.8 kWh (FWD/RWD) Li-Ion pack placed flat under the floor. A new AWD system called X-MODE with Grip-Control is said to provide a driving experience suited for everything from daily driving to light off-roading. Toyota’s pure off-road capabilities have never been noteworthy but for the day-to-day winter season weather, they have proved their worth time and time again. To maximize energy-saving and cruising range in winter settings, the following systems and equipment were adopted to reduce consumption: Heat pump system for both heating and air-conditioning Seat and steering wheel heaters Front-seat radiant foot-and-leg heater (first for Toyota) Toyota may have targeted to small a battery providing to short of range but that did not stop their desire to provide traction battery longevity providing many years of satisfied ownership. The company’s design is targeting a battery capacity retention of 90% after 10 years of ownership. No frunk. Toyota also designed in a non-conductive coolant flowing through separated channels to maintain optimal battery temperature. The battery pack housing is designed to withstand a collision from any angle due to its frame and cross-bracing design. The real highlight of the bZ4X is it will be the first Toyota to include the latest Toyota Safety Sense 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 functions to assist in normal driving conditions. For example, the Pre-collision 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. bZ4X Infotainment The bz4X arrives with navigation that uses map information from the cloud to obtain traffic information and parking space availability in real time. Toyota’s own embedded NAVI solutions have never impressed me and I am not sure this one will either. Fortunately, Toyota’s latest head units now support wireless AA and ACP which will remove any working impediment. bZ4X Front Interior Layout The screens were bright, glare proof, and the HMI was quick to react. Digital key gives owners the ability to lock, unlock and start the vehicle with a tap of a smartphone and can be handed over between smartphones, making it easy for family and friends to borrow and lend vehicles remotely. Other features of the trial subscription include BEV specialized services such as charging station info, driving support info and vehicle driving range. Over-the-air (OTA = wireless) software updates make it possible for Toyota Safety Sense and the multimedia system without needing to visit a dealership. bZ4X Early Assessment All-in and with the inability to actually get behind the wheel for a drive, that 250-miles of stated range in FWD configuration is a tough spec to swallow when competitors are running at 300+ miles from similar CUV form factors out today. Rumor is the price should be in the $37k+ range for the FWD variant and the low $40s for the AWD trims. That and Toyota's long term reliability is surely a given which may help. At least these two attributes are competitive starting points. Regarding the exterior styling, the general public’s acceptance will have more to say about this then I ever will but I am not expecting large sales volumes out of the gate.