Toyota bZ4X review

The Toyota bZ4X does little to get your heart racing, but plenty of tech and comfort will make it easy to live with

Buy or lease the Toyota bZ4X at a price you’ll love
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RRP £41,950 - £51,550
carwow price from
Monthly
£474*
wowscore
8/10
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Very easy to drive
  • Plenty of tech as standard
  • Comfy on bumpy roads

What's not so good

  • Dull styling
  • Has a small boot
  • Awkward interior storage spaces

Find out more about the Toyota bZ4X

Is the Toyota bZ4X a good car?

If you’re looking for a new electric SUV that’s comfortable and packed with tech, the Toyota bZ4X is a car you may be considering. It’s about the size of a RAV4 and goes up against alternatives such as the Volkswagen ID4, Nissan Ariya and Skoda Enyaq.

In a way, the Toyota bZ4X is a bit like your washing machine. It’s got a complicated name, looks pretty unassuming and doesn’t provide too many thrills to drive, it’s likely something you’ll just see as a daily appliance.

There’s very little to get the heart racing about how the Toyota bZ4X looks, either. Sure, it gets some chunky plastic wheelarches for an attempt at ruggedness and some angular bodywork, but it’s to little effect.

It’s a similar story inside, with function being placed well above form, but that’s a good thing in this case. The driving position is comfortable and the controls are all dead easy to find. There’s no glovebox though – instead, you get an awkward-to-use storage space under the centre console.

An 8-inch infotainment screen is standard with the Toyota bZ4X, but it’s worth going for a higher-spec model with a 12.3-inch version instead. The software is sharp and very user-friendly, plus you’ll get wireless support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay thrown in.

Passengers in the back are treated to a decent amount of headroom, plus loads of space to stretch their legs out. That’s even with an ever-so-slight bump in the floor.

You might yawn over the way it looks, but the Toyota bZ4X will be a super easy car to live with.

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

You won’t find a storage compartment beneath the bZ4X’s bonnet, though, as you would in a Tesla Model Y or Volvo XC40 Recharge. Also, with just 452 litres of luggage space in the boot, it’s well behind the Hyundai Ioniq 5’s 527 litres and Skoda Enyaq’s 585 litres too.

Official tests put the range of the bZ4X between 286 and 317 miles, depending on spec. A few hours of mixed driving routes of the higher-consuming AWD version saw a real-world range just shy of 200 miles, which isn’t superb but not a total disaster either.

The Toyota bZ4X is just as unassuming to drive as it looks. It’s effortless around town with really light steering and a decent turning circle, as well as a comfy ride.

That translates to a pretty relaxed drive out on the motorway too, particularly with a heap of standard-fit assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control. Just don’t expect much excitement when things get twistier.

Though the Toyota bZ4X doesn’t do much to stand out in a pretty crowded electric SUV sector, its sheer user-friendliness makes it one to consider. You’ll want to look elsewhere for practicality, though.

If you’re looking to make a Toyota bZ4X your next car, check out the latest deals available through carwow.

How practical is it?

Oddly, given the usual space advantages of an electric car, the bZ4X actually has a smaller boot than many alternatives.

Boot (seats up)
452 litres
Boot (seats down)
-

In the front seats, the bZ4X is spacious enough, but the driving position feels quite snug thanks to the high-set centre console. Legroom in the front is fine, but if you’ve specified your bZ4X with the optional panoramic glass roof then you are robbed of a bit of headroom. 

In the back seats, thanks to the 2.8-metre wheelbase, there is copious legroom, even for those with very long legs. Headroom is again a little on the short side with that glass roof, though. There’s also a slightly odd effect in that the bZ4X’s flat cabin floor is set quite high, so although your legs have plenty of space, you do tend to sit rather bottom-down, knees-up, which may not be entirely comfortable on a long journey. The centre rear seat is possibly too narrow for a full-sized adult to get comfortable, too. There are ISOFIX anchors in the outer two rear seats. 

The bZ4X’s front door bins are slightly narrow and shallow, but they’re made up for by that chunky centre console. In that, you’ll find a large lidded storage area under a sliding armrest. Set into that is a removable plastic tray, which you can take out to clean if needed. There are also two cupholders. In front of the armrest, there’s a wireless mobile phone charging pad, which has a neat semi-transparent lid so that your phone doesn’t go sliding around the place. There’s also a USB-A socket. Beneath the console, there’s a large, open-sided storage area with two USB-C sockets (rear seat passengers get a USB-C socket each, too). 

There is, however, no glovebox at all, just a plain plastic trim beneath the housing for the passenger-side airbag. 

The bZ4X’s boot has a volume of 452 litres, and it is nicely square and free from major obstructions, but that does mean that it’s a long way from being the most practical car in the class. For instance, a similarly priced Skoda Enyaq offers 585 litres of luggage space, while the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 both have bigger boots too. The Toyota’s rear seats do split-fold, but only in a 60:40 ratio, and not the more versatile 40:20:40 three-way split. 

Oddly, the bZ4X’s boot volume means that it’s actually slightly less practical than Toyota’s own RAV4 hybrid SUV, which has to package batteries, a fuel tank, and a petrol engine. Given that the bZ4X’s batteries are stored in a flat module under the cabin floor, you might have expected better. There’s not even a ‘froot’ storage area under the bonnet — that’s all taken up by the electric motor and cooling systems.

What's it like to drive?

The bZ4X is surprisingly agile and sporty to drive, but doesnt miss out on comfort. Its even really impressive if you need to go off-road…

The bZ4X comes with a choice of two powertrains, but just the one battery. It’s a 71.4kWh battery pack, which can be charged at speeds of up to 150kW from a sufficiently fast DC public charger, allowing you to charge it to 80 per cent capacity in around 28-minutes. For home charging, initially, there’s a 6.6kW on-board charger, but that will be upgraded for 2023 to an 11kW charger, although early bZ4X customers won’t be able to upgrade to the faster charging setup. 

Most bZ4Xs will come with front-wheel drive, which uses a single 204hp motor. That’s enough poke for an 8.4sec 0-60mph time. Fully charge the battery, and Toyota estimates that you’ll get 285-miles out of it before needing to charge again. That’s decent range, but significantly less than the 331-miles offered by the big-battery versions of the Skoda Enyaq and Volkswagen ID.4, both of which have similar prices to the £41,950 starting point of the bZ4X. 

Those figures aren’t quite finalised yet, as the bZ4X has still not been officially tested on the official WLTP test cycle.

Our four-wheel drive test car uses twin electric motors, one front and one rear, for a combined 217hp, with 336Nm of torque, and a 0-62mph time of 7.7secs. The top speed of both cars is limited to 100mph. 

That four-wheel drive system will drain the battery rather faster, though. Toyota estimates a 254-mile range.

Toyota is guaranteeing that the bZ4X’s battery will retain at minimum 70 per cent of its original performance after ten years, or 620,000-miles, whichever comes first. You do have to regularly visit a Toyota dealer for a battery health check to keep that warranty going, but it’s a remarkable claim, nonetheless. 

Around town

The bz4X majors on refinement and you’ll really notice that around town. The ride comfort — even on the optional 20-inch alloy wheels of our test car — is very good. It’s not quite as eerily smooth as that of the Volkswagen ID.4, and there’s a slight sense of firmness when you’re dealing with corrugated urban streets, but on the whole, it’s very comfortable. 

The scuttle of the windscreen, where the dashboard meets the glass, is quite low. It’s not as low as that of a Tesla Model Y, but low enough that there’s excellent visibility out the front, and Toyota says that it has slimmed down the windscreen pillars as much as possible to enhance that feeling. 

Over-the-shoulder visibility is hampered slightly by chunky c-pillars, but there’s a standard-fit reversing camera and parking sensors (and an optional ‘birds eye view’ 360-degree camera system) so low-speed manoeuvring is pretty easy. 

There is a ‘one-pedal’ regenerative braking system, which has two modes (basically On and Off) but it’s quite subtle, slowing the car initially, but leaving it up to you to use the actual brakes to bring the bZ4X to a stop.

On the motorway

Once on the motorway, once again, refinement is to the fore. Wind and tyre noise are well suppressed on all but the coarsest concrete surfaces, and given the bZ4X’s decent one-charge range, long journeys should prove pretty relaxing. It’s a very stable and sure-footed car, with no hint of being deflected by cross-winds or upset by passing HGVs. Then again, weighing 2.5-tonnes will do that for you.

On a twisty road

This impressive refinement might leave you feeling a wee bit surprised if you decide to point the bZ4X’s nose down a twisty country road.

Its steering may not have much actual road-feel coming back through it, but it’s fast and accurate, and the bZ4X seems to shrug off its hefty kerb weight to positively dances from one corner to the next, without even a whiff of reluctance to turn into the next bend. 

It’s perhaps not quite as exciting as the Mustang Mach-E, but it’s a remarkable performance for such a heavy car. While most owners will probably just use their bZ4X to cruise the motorway or head to the shops, be in no doubt — this electric SUV has been set up to be a bit of fun. 

Next year, Toyota will offer an optional steer-by-wire system which comes with a chopped-off steering wheel that looks a bit like an aircraft’s control yoke. The idea is that the computerised steering can vary how fast and how much the front wheels turn, so that you only need to roll your wrists to steer, never needing to cross your hands over. 

It could well prove to be neat technology, and Toyota claims it improves high-speed stability, but to be honest the bZ4X feels so well-sorted already that you might find you’re happy with the standard set-up. 

It’s even really good when you get it off-road. Again, few — if any — owners will actually venture further than the grass car park at the local car-boot sale, but the bZ4X has been designed with help from Subaru, and it really shows. 

Being able to more or less infinitely vary the power and torque going from front to rear obviously helps, but the bZ4X also gets — in four-wheel drive form — an X-Mode off-roading system, designed by Subaru. This can be adjusted to cope with snow and/or deep mud, and there’s a ‘Grip Control’ setting that acts like an off-road cruise control, keeping you going without you needing to touch the throttle. The hill descent control also cuts in automatically if the bZ4X detects that you’re heading down a steep slope.

It may not quite be a Land Rover Defender, but the bZ4X is considerably more rugged than we were expecting. It dealt easily with dry, dusty trails involving steep climbs and descents, and equally well on a course claggy with wet, viscous mud. It can wade through deep water, too — up to 500mm as standard.

What's it like inside?

Toyota’s infotainment system takes a big step forward, but the driving position is slightly odd.

Next Read full interior review
Buy or lease the Toyota bZ4X at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £41,950 - £51,550
carwow price from
Monthly
£474*