Known for their high-quality and durable vehicles, Toyota has announced their plans to produce fully electric vehicles: starting with the bZ4X SUV – available from December 2021.
Already in the hybrid market, the Japanese brand will be bringing a fully electric range to their Toyota fleet under the ‘bZ’ (Beyond Zero) sub-brand. Dedicated to their electrification strategy, Toyota has set themselves the task to launch 15 pure-electric vehicles by 2025, the first being the new bZ4X SUV.
Leading this launch, the bZ4X will be the first model to incorporate the new e-TNGA EV architecture, developed with the batteries as a central part of the chassis. Promising to provide the typical EV benefits, the Toyota bZ4X will exhibit a low centre of gravity, good weight balance and strong rigidity within its new architecture.
This new platform features a 71.4kWh battery in the floor donned as the ‘slim battery’, which is expected to return a WLTP range of more than 280 miles.
According to Toyota, this new battery design is expected to maintain 90% of their ‘brand-new’ battery status even after being driven for 10 years or 150, 000 miles on the road by the use of water cooling the cells with an active thermal management system (a first for Toyota).
Eventually, Toyota is hoping to bring an optional 11kW AC charger to drivers for a convenient way of home charging using a compatible wallbox. But for drivers who need a car that can charge quickly, the bZ4X is capable of rapidly charging the battery up to 80% capacity in just 30 minutes using up to 150kW.
Two variations of the bZ4X will be offered. Firstly, the front-driven entry car with a single motor will be able to produce 201bhp and 195lb ft, blowing the 0-62mph sprint in 8.4 seconds.
Second in the range is the twin-motor range-topper, which uses four-wheel-drive technology developed by Subaru – boosting power to 214bhp, torque to 248lb ft and cuts the 0-62mph time to 7.7 seconds.
Additionally, Toyota stated that the four-wheel-drive bZ4X will get various off-road driving modes: suitable for “snow or mud”, “deep snow or mud” and “tougher off-road driving” – giving a unique experience to all drivers.
To look at, the Toyota bZ4X is designed with a new defining ‘hammerhead’ shape, including a deep front bumper and grille to aid the EV’s reduced cooling requirements and slim headlight elements.
The chunky wheel arches (which will house up to 20-inch alloy wheels) are coloured black together with the rear arches to give a more rugged look. The strong creases above the wheel arches flow back down the doors into wrap-around rear-light units that are linked on the boot lid by a full-width LED bar.
The cabin has been designed predominantly to give drivers “a sense of direct connection to the road and to important information”. The instrument panel is mounted low for improved forward visibility and to minimise distraction. The large infotainment centre, wide centre console and textured dashboard are also key features of the new Toyota bZ4X.
Practicality is increased by a long wheelbase and short overhangs, maximising the amount of interior space, combined with luxury interior designs. Boot capacity is up to 452 litres and on the safety front, the bZ4X is set to feature the latest third-generation system ‘Toyota Safety Sense’ that includes driver-assistance and collision-avoidance technology.
The Toyota bZ4X starts at a price of £41,950 for the Pure Trim Level.
Pure trim comes equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, a multimedia system with an eight-inch display, a seven-inch digital instrument display and a reversing camera. Additionally, keyless entry and start-up also features, as does a remotely operated climate control function to pre-heat and cool the bZ4x. Roof rails are optional, as is a towing pack.
Next on the list is the Motion trim, which raises the base price to £45,750, although the four-wheel-drive powertrain starts at £48,350. Motion spec adds a rear spoiler, rear privacy glass, optional 20in alloy wheels and an ‘entry illumination sequence’ for the LED lighting.
Stepping up a gear and we have the top of the standard model line-up is Vision trim – priced from £47,650 (£50,250 with four-wheel drive). It brings 20in five-spoke alloys, rear parking sensors with an auto-brake function to avoid rear-end collisions, remote parking assist, synthetic leather upholstery and heated and ventilated front seats. A heated steering wheel also features, while an electric tailgate with kick sensor is included. Furthermore, a ‘digital key’ smartphone app allows the owner to provide others access to the bZ4X.
However, incredibly for the UK buyers, there is an additional flagship trim level to launch. The special Premiere Edition version, priced at £51,550, is likely to be a limited-run launch edition. Offered exclusively through Toyota’s online retail service, the Premiere Edition is only available with the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive powertrain. In addition to Vision trim, Toyota throws in the panoramic roof alongside a nine-speaker JBL premium sound system.
This electric SUV is one of the first to come from the Japanese manufacturers’ start of producing 15 electric vehicles, alongside sibling company Lexus.
Orders opened for the Toyota bZ4X on the 15th December 2021 and is set to launch in 2022.