New Toyota bZ4x is just the ticket for getting into the EV game

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2023 bZ4X Limited AWD

The 2023 Toyota bz4X is a brand-new Compact Crossover in the Toyota line-up.

Toyota has purposely designed this vehicle to make use of as many of the familiar features and functions of both their internal combustion and hybrid powered vehicles, while introducing EV technology to their customer.

The 2023 Toyota bZ4X offers a mix of new EV technology plus familiar practical features that a consumer – new to battery electric vehicles  – may find easier to become comfortable with on a first EV.

2023 bZ4X Limited AWD

2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD as Tested

Our media test vehicle this week was a brand-new Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD. Limited is the top trim of the two trims available and has a base MSRP of $48,780.  This test Limited was loaded up with all of the options available -including destination charges – bringing the price to $52,468.

This vehicle is quick and nimble, smooth driving, smooth riding, and easy to get comfortable with for just about any new owner.

There is a lot to know about EV’s and the Toyota bZ4X, so we have taken the liberty of adding lots of data links to sites with additional information.

NOTE: The bZ4X is about the size of a Toyota RAV4 and built on an EV platform developed between Toyota and Subaru.

Let’s start by taking a look at the basics of the EV powertrain.

POWERTRAIN

Drive power for the bZ4X is through a Dual-motor (F/R) All-Wheel Drive System delivering a combined 214 horsepower and 124 lb.-ft. torque each motor.

The motors are powered by a 72.8 kWh Lithium-Ion Traction Battery that is packaged flat – mounted under the cabin for crash safety and providing a low center of gravity.  It is fitted with a Combined Charging System (CCS) socket enabling Level 1, Level 2 and DC Fast charging.

AWD X-MODE And Grip Control

The Toyota bZ4X AWD X-MODE with GRIP-CONTROL gives it – what Toyota calls “light off-roading” capability

The X-MODE improves the vehicle’s traction off-road, by optimizing throttle control and wheel-slip based on the condition selected.

The two Drive Modes in the X-MODE are:

  • SNOW/DIRT Mode reduces the power to the wheels to help minimize wheel slippage, while controlling wheelspin in a manner that directs power to wheels that may have more grip.
  • DEEP SNOW/MUD Mode increases the power to the wheels and adjusts the traction management to allow for additional wheelspin than normal, to help build momentum getting out of deep snow or mud.

In both modes, a Grip Control feature can be utilized to maintain a low vehicle speed on steep inclines and slippery roads without stepping on the accelerator pedal or brake pedal. This constant speed is useful when navigating tricky terrain.

It is also equipped with Hill Descent Control for safely descending rough terrain.

In addition, it has been reported by others that Toyota has waterproofed the bZ4X’s batteries. If so, with a ground clearance of 8.1-inches, the off-roading capability of the bZ4x is further enhanced with a wading depth of ~ 19.5-inches.

We were unable to test this capability this trip, but look forward to in the near future. 

In addition to capability – yet to be determined is the impact on range from extensive use of the X-MODE.  Long jaunts in the ‘outback’ might be a bit restricted.

 EXTERIOR

On the outside, the bZ4X features the edgy styling you have come to expect from Toyota, with some touches unique to the bZ4X.

Exterior features of note are the Curved Front Bumper, Blanked-Out Grille, Heavy Metal and Black Paint w/two-tone roof, Unique Hammerhead Hood w/Black-Painted Accent, Black-Painted Overfenders w/front air curtain, Split Chrome Window Trim, Split Roof Rear Spoiler and Bold 20-inch Multi-Spoke Machine-Finished Alloy Wheels with gray accents.

Other features of note include Heated Power Side Mirrors w/Puddle Lights, Multi-LED Projector Headlights, LED Daytime Running Lights, LED Taillights and Stop Lights, Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers w/Deicer Function, Panoramic Glass Roof (non-opening) w/Power Sunshade and Motion Activated Power Liftgate.

INTERIOR

The interior layout has many similarities to current Toyota vehicles including functional elements and controls placement. But there are some distinctly different elements.

A particularly quirky feature is the 7-inch Multi-Information Display that is placed partially above the steering wheel rim.  At first a bit concerned that reading info on the IP would be compromised, we found the placement put all necessary information from the IP easily viewable – above the rim. In fact, thinking about it, it serves a similar purpose (with better readability) than a Heads-Up Display.

There is no glove box, instead a large storage area beneath the center console for personal items.

We loved the easy-to-use Dial Shifter located prominently on the top of the console.

Dual Zone air-conditioning and heating is provided by a unique Heat Pump System to minimize draw on the traction battery. Even more innovative (first for Toyota) is a Front-seat Radiant Foot and Leg Heater.

Of note is the smart styling of the Patterned Cloth covering on the dash.  The same cloth is carried to the Sof-Tex trimmed seat upholstery on the heated and ventilated power seats front and heated seats rear.

NOTE: Having praised the interior overall, we must complain mightily about the extensive use of Piano Black surfaces on the top of the console and on the door control panels. We found it necessary to carry a microfiber cloth with us to continuously erase finger prints from those surfaces. 

AUDIO / INFOTAINMENT

The central feature of the system is the 12.3-inch Infotainment Central Touchscreen.

Audio is delivered through a JBL Nine-Speaker Stereo w/Subwoofer and Amplifier.

Elements included in the system are Cloud-based Navigation, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Qi Wireless Smartphone Charging, Smartphone Mirroring, Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, SiriusXM and more of the features you find in a non-EV Toyota.

Available also is the suite of Toyota Connected Services including Drive Connect, Remote Connect, Safety Connect and more.

SAFETY

Among the many safety features standard, the Toyota bZ4X  AWD Limited is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0   –  upgraded with Millimeter Wave Radar and Monocular Camera, Low-Light Cyclist Detection, Daytime Motorcycle and Guard Rail Detection and Lane Recognition in Lane Tracing Assist Mode.

WARRANTY

The EV Drive Components (batteries, motors, controls etc.) of the 2023 bZ4X are covered by an 8-year, 100,000-mile (whichever comes first) warranty.

All other elements of the 2023 Toyota bZ4X are covered by their standard vehicle warranties including:

  • 3-year/36,000-mile Comprehensive
  • 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain
  • 5-year/unlimited-mileage Corrosion

Plus ToyotaCare complimentary maintenance plan for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, covers all normal factory scheduled service, as well as 24/7 roadside assistance.

LINE-UP

The 2023 Toyota bZ4X comes in two trim levels, the XLE and Limited. Both are available in either FWD or AWD.  See the detail of each trim level HERE:

NOTE: Customers who purchase or lease a new 2023 Toyota bZ4X will get one year of unlimited complimentary charging at all EVgo-owned and operated public charging stations nationwide

TRIVIA Q & A

The X-Mode is also available on the Subaru Solterra.  What gives?  The bZ4X is built on the same platform as the Subaru Solterra.  A collaboration similar to the Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ.

What does bZ stand for?  Toyota tells us the bZ4X is the first of a global series of battery-electric vehicles (BEV’s) to be introduced under the “Toyota bZ” (Beyond Zero) brand umbrella. Eventually, the zero emissions lineup will include 15 BEV’s including 11 hybrid models, two plug-in hybrid models, the bZ4X all-electric vehicle and the zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell electric Mirai (currently only available in California).

So now you know.

OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION

Charging the bZ4X: Additional information can be found HERE.

Tax Credits: The 2023 Toyota bZ4X AWD Limited – depending on certain criterion – may  be eligible for a $7,500 Federal  New Clean Vehicles Tax CreditOn the vehicle we tested, it would reduce the purchase price from $52,468 to $44,968.

Other: States and other entities within a state may offer incentives as well.  Get more information HERE.

Various states are or have been enacting ‘Clean Vehicle Registration Fees’ to offset the loss of gasoline sales tax.  For the State of Texas – the law just enacted calls for a $400 purchase/registration fee with a $200 annual registration renewal fee. Check with your state for its current position on registration or other fees.

COMPETING VEHICLES:

Other vehicles that can be considered competitors include: Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Ford Mustang Mach E, Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia Niro EV, Tesla Model Y, Volkswagen ID.4 and the Subaru Solterra.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

KEY DATA:  2023 Toyota bZ4X AWD Limited

  • Model:                              bZ4X
  • Trim:                                 Limited
  • Class:                                 EV Compact Crossover
  • Seating:                             Five
  • MSRP:                                $48,780
  • As Tested:                         $52,468
  • Powertrain (F)                   AC Electric Motor 107 hp 124 lb.-ft. torque
  • Powertrain (R)                   AC Electric Motor 107 hp 124 lb.-ft. torque
  • Horsepower:                     214 hp Combined
  • Torque:                             248 lb.-ft. Combined
  • Battery Pack:                     65.6 kWh Liquid Cooled Lithium Ion
  • Onboard Charger:             6.6 kW
  • Chrg Time LV 1-120V:       ~  50 hours to 100%
  • Chrg Time LV 2- 240V:      ~  9 Hours to 100%
  • Direct FAST Charge:          ~  1 Hour to 80%
  • Transmission:                   Direct Drive (F/R) w/Dynamic Cruise control
  • Drive System:                    AWD w/ X-MODE
  • Drive Modes:                    Snow/Dirt & Deep Snow/Mud
  • Acceleration:                    0-60 mpg   6.5 Seconds
  • Top Speed:                        104 mph (Limited)
  • Suspension:                      Struts (F) / Multilink (R)
  • Wheels:                             20-inch
  • Tires:                                 235/50R20 Bridgestone Turanza EL450
  • Fuel Economy:                  112/92/102 MPGe
  • Range:                               222 miles

Source: Media Test Drive and Press Release Materials

Tailpipes and Tacos is back Memorial Day weekend! It’s been a while but the popular Tailpipes and Tacos cruise-in returns to the Lupe Tortilla Tex-Mex in Katy…Saturday, May 25th! Bring your hot rod, Classic or Modern Classic to compete for one of the famous Chili Pepper trophies AND get a FREE breakfast taco! Just make a donation of any size to God’s Garage and Lupe’s will match it. You’ll be helping single mothers who need a set of wheels.

It has been a year in the making so you won’t want to miss Tailpipes and Tacos, Saturday, May 25th 8 to 11 AM. Cruise-in, donate what you want to God’s Garage and grab a free Lupe Tortilla breakfast taco. Tailpipes and Tacos ony happens at the Lupe Tortilla Tex-Mex in Katy at 703 West Grand Parkway at Kingsland Blvd…just south of the Katy Freeway.

It’s car show season and what better way to kick it off than a free taco and comradery at Tailpipes and Tacos, Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 25, 2024, 8 to 11 AM. 

The In Wheel Time Car Talk Show will be there too.

Proceeds benefit God’s Garage

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