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Toyota bZ4X - Practical and Sustainable - By Toyota's Own Words

by Edward Sanchez | Oct 29, 2021

Toyota bZ4X front angleThe Toyota bZ4X was initially shown in April of this year. For a "concept" it was surprisingly conventional. It had conventional door handles, seat belts, even a conventional key lock in the door. Its styling, for all intents and purposes, looked much like Toyota's best-selling RAV4 crossover. 

Today, the production version of the bZ4X has been officially revealed. By and large, it does not deviate much from the concept. It is a traditional D-segment crossover, with an overall length of 4,690mm (184.6 inches) and a wheelbase of 2,850mm (112.2 inches), making it slightly larger than the RAV4. 

Toyota has traditionally taken a safe, methodical approach with its models, not looking to break records in terms of acceleration, dynamic performance or other traditional yardsticks that get the motoring press hot under the collar. The performance specifications listed for the bZ4x are competent and competitive, but will definitely not threaten the Model Y, or even the higher-trim variants of the Hyundai Group's E-GMP models, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6. 

However, it seems it was not Toyota's intent to wow critics with high-output motors or face-melting acceleration times. Size, capability and performance specifications show a vehicle designed largely to emulate the experience customers have come to expect from Toyota's mass-market crossovers, the RAV4 and Highlander. Acceleration for the bZ4X comes in at 8.4 and 7.7 seconds from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph), putting it in the same league as the 2WD Volkswagen ID.4, a model it is very similar to from a specification and packaging standpoint. 

It seemed Toyota's main focus was on practical, quotidian considerations that its customers typically look for, and have as their purchase considerations. In this case, a long range, and practical features such as a heat-pump climate system for optimized efficiency, and 150 kW DC fast charging capability. 

Range is rated at 500 km (311 miles) for the front-wheel-drive version, and 460 km (286 miles) WLTP for the AWD version, respectively. Figure about a 10-15 percent shorter range for EPA estimates. This is achieved with a 71.4 kWh battery pack. Toyota claims the pack will retain 90 percent of its range over its engineered lifetime of 10 years or 240,000 km (150,000) miles. Co-development of the E-TNGA platform and all-wheel-drive system with Subaru confirms that it will share much of its hardware with the Subaru Solterra crossover.

Toyota bZ4X One-motion grip adaptive steering system

Despite the largely buttoned-down and conventional approach Toyota took with the bZ4X, there is a bit of whimsy in the design with the available One-motion grip adaptive steering system. Visually similar to Tesla's "yoke" wheel on the Model S and Model X, Toyota's approach differs in that it limits the maximum steering wheel lock in both directions to 150 degrees, preventing arm-crossing. Toyota claims a purely steer-by-wire system for this option. No details were given whether or not there is a mechanical fail-safe backup, as there was in the case of Infiniti's steer-by-wire system that it offered in the Q50. This option will initially be offered only in the Chinese market, with deployment to other regions subject to regulatory approval. 

Toyota claims a global launch date of "mid-2022" for the bZ4X, with plans to offer seven more bZ-series EV models by 2025 globally.    
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