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Toyota finally joined its competitors by producing an electric SUV: the 2023 Toyota bZ4x model. The brand offers free, fast charging for one year, but that’s not all you get. Some models will come with an interesting steering system that might seem familiar to you. What is it, and where have we seen this before?

What the 2023 Toyota bZ4X offers

A silver 2023 Toyota bZ4X.
Toyota bZ4X | Getty Images

The 2023 Toyota bZ4x’s price range is $42,000 for the base model. It also comes in one other trim level, the Limited, the highest version you can get. You can expect to pay about $49,000 before any additional packages. 

Under the hood is an electric powertrain that generates 201 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard with the bZ4x, but you can pay $2,000 more for the AWD version, which will get you 214 hp. The electric motor setup will give you an acceleration time of 6.5 seconds on a 0 to 60 mph run with the AWD model and 7.1 seconds for the FWD. As for the driving range, you can get about 252 miles on the front-wheel-drive version, but if you choose the AWD, you will only get around 228 miles

Standard features on this model include blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, and a panoramic glass roof. Optional features for the Limited model include a heated steering wheel, multi-view camera, motion-activated power liftgate, 20-inch wheels, and premium faux-leather material.

However, there’s one feature that you might recognize from another brand’s model. 

How will the 2023 Toyota bZ4X steering yoke work?

The yoke steering concept originated with the Tesla Model S. However, what Toyota offers is quite a bit different. This wheel works on a steer-by-wire system, which means the tires will be controlled wirelessly. Tesla’s model did not. 

Usually, the steering wheel will connect to the tires using the master cylinder, some belts, and the steering column. That will be absent with the bZ4x model that runs wirelessly. Of course, if you don’t want the smaller steering wheel, you can still get a traditional one. Just don’t choose steer-by-wire. This unique feature only comes with a specialized driving system. 

The yoke wheel will perform much like a jet’s controls. Steering will be tighter, making turns much more effortless. It also means you won’t have to take your hands off the wheel to make those turns. 

Did Tesla’s steering yoke go over well?

Tesla’s yoke steering wheel design was certainly cool to look at, but when it came to performance, many owners weren’t happy with it. They felt it was too awkward, especially running at low speeds. This made it clunky to use and overall annoying. 

The brand’s website had claimed that a traditional steering wheel would be offered for those who weren’t keen on the unique design. However, in reality, that never happened, and consumers were stuck with the yoke steering. Then the complaints started pouring in. 

According to Inside EVs, T Sportline, an aftermarket parts company, started offering more traditional designs to replace the frustrating Model S steering wheel. The replacements will cost you a pretty penny, though, as they sell for $2,300 to $3,500, depending on your choice. So far, you can select the 360 leather option or the carbon detailing one.

The 2023 Toyota bZ4x steering wheel resembles Tesla’s Model S yoke design but promises to perform much smoother. We’ll see if consumers like the steering in this model over Tesla’s awkward wheel.


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