Toyota bZ4X: Expectations vs. Reality
The Toyota bZ4X is the brand’s first fully-electric small SUV since the short-lived RAV4 EV. The Japanese automaker has joined forces with Subaru to develop an electric vehicle platform. The bZ4X is the first model built on the company’s e-TNGA platform. It was supposed to be revolutionary. Did it live up to expectations, or was the bZ4X all hype?
Did the Toyota bZ4X live up to expectations?
The Toyota bZ4X is many things, but it’s no electric RAV4. Since Toyota produces the world’s most popular SUV (the Toyota RAV4), expectations for an electric small SUV were high. Many consumers and fans of the brand believed that the easiest route to success was to design an EV with all the characteristics of the popular RAV4. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.
The bZ4X’s pricing already makes it fundamentally different than the RAV4 because of its complex electric powertrain system. Toyota’s electric SUV isn’t necessarily overpriced, but it’s much harder to buy than a gas-powered small SUV.
The Japanese automaker is known for affordability and value, two traits that don’t necessarily stand out when it comes to the bZ4X. Instead, the small electric SUV’s pricing and value fade into the background of its segment. It’s overshadowed by models like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Tesla Model Y.
As far as Toyota bZ4X expectations go, the EV didn’t exactly blow the competition out of the water. The nameplate has plenty of time to improve, but it risks being outshined by competitors. Does the EV have impressive specs?
2023 Toyota bZ4X: Price, horsepower, and range
According to Toyota, the 2023 bZ4X starts at $42,000 with the XLE base model. The Limited final configuration starts at $46,700. Neither configuration is eligible for federal electric vehicle tax incentives.
Toyota’s small electric SUV makes 201 horsepower. It gets 252 miles of driving range (base model with front-wheel drive). Power isn’t its strong suit, but its driving range is satisfactory for its base price. The EV also has Level 2 charging capabilities, a plus for any EV.
Toyota’s base model small electric SUV comes with some great standard features for the money. It includes wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a panoramic roof with a power sunshade, and SofTex/fabric-trimmed seats.
Ultimately, the 2023 Toyota bZ4X provides adequate value. It’s good enough to be considered in its segment, but is it great? The EV has yet to achieve the accolades of the Ioniq 5 or wow gearheads like the Mustang Mach-E or Kia EV6.
What do drivers want from the Toyota bZ4X?
Toyota’s latest electric SUV may not have gotten a fair shake. Why? One of the reasons that many Toyota SUVs are a staple in their segment is because of reliability. It’s much too early to judge the bZ4X’s longevity, and that could cause it to be eclipsed by rivals in the short term.
It’s no secret that Toyota’s approach to creating electric vehicle nameplates has been controversial. Drivers want the Toyota bZ4X to excel in a specific area. It seems like the EV checks several boxes all around, but what makes it special? That wow factor may not be apparent now, but it could come in the form of dependability over time.