2024 Toyota bZ4X review

2024 Toyota bZ4X

Bruce Newton

Posted March 25, 2024

The Toyota bZ4X mid-size SUV is the first electric vehicle from the Japanese brand to go on sale in Australia. Does the new EV have what it takes to compete against rivals such as the Tesla Model Y and Hyundai Ioniq 5?

BZ is short for Beyond Zero, which is Toyota’s new EV-only sub-brand, 4 designates the vehicle size and X means it’s an SUV. In fact it is about the same size as the top-selling Toyota RAV4 medium SUV.

The five-door five-seat Toyota bZ4X is being offered as both a base model with single-motor front-wheel drive (dubbed 2WD) and a dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD). Pricing is competitive for the Toyota bZ4X with other segment contenders led by the all-conquering Tesla Model Y, but whether it can match them in the various performance functions that encapsulate an EV is another question.

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2024 Toyota bZ4X

The Toyota bZ4X is the first battery electric car from Toyota to go on-sale in Australia. Image: Supplied


How much does a Toyota bZ4X cost?

The 2024 Toyota bZ4X 2WD is priced from $66,000 and the bZ4X AWD from $74,900 (plus on-road costs), placing them very competitively on price against the very popular Tesla Model Y, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Polestar 2, the Kia EV6 and the Subaru Solterra, which is in effect a bZ4X AWD with different styling.

The 2WD comes with a single 150kW/266Nm e-motor, while the AWD has two e-motors making a combined 180kW and 337Nm. In both cases, the motors are fed by a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

Toyota’s also offering the bZ4X with what it calls a full service lease, that covers almost all the running costs of the car. At the end of a three-year lease the car can be handed back fuss free. The only problems are the lease will cost at least $20,000 per year and you don’t own a car to sell at the end of the term.

Standard Toyota bZ4X 2WD and AWD equipment includes 20-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass for rear and rear-side windows, heat pump-controlled dual-zone climate control with rear vents, keyless entry and push button start, heated and powered front seats including lumbar adjust for the driver, leather accents for the steering wheel, a shift by wire dial and an electric park brake.

The Toyota bZ4X AWD can be picked externally by its roof rails, spoiler, panoramic sunroof, memory side mirrors, gloss black bonnet accent and a kick sensor for the power tailgate both cars get. Internally, it exclusively includes premium synthetic leather seat trim called Softex, a heated steering wheel, driver’s seat memory, front seat ventilation and a wireless smartphone charger.

The infotainment set-up includes a 7.0-inch digital instrument panel and a 12.3-inch multimedia touchscreen that can have its software updated over the air. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cloud navigation, AM, FM and DAB+ radio and voice assist are all standard. The 2WD gets a six-speaker no-name audio system while the AWD upgrades to a nine-speaker JBL set-up.

All paint colours except Ebony adds $600 to the cost, as does a two-tone treatment exclusive to the AWD.

There is no spare tyre in either model, even though Toyota is trying to push the off-road credentials of the bZ4X AWD.

Toyota bZ4X warranty and servicing

The Toyota bZ4X is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty extending to seven years on motor and driveline with log-book services. The high-voltage battery is covered for up to 10 years with annual checks. Battery performance is guaranteed to still be at 70 per cent of new after eight years, although Toyota says it’s target is 90 per cent after 10 years or 240,000km.

Service intervals are set at 12 month/15,000km intervals and the Toyota bZ4X launches with capped price servicing charged at $180 per workshop visit, which is reflective of the fact EVs use less consumables (like engine oil) that cost money than internal combustion vehicles.

The multimedia screen has a crystal clear resolution and is easy to steer around. Image: Supplied
The boot is only 421 litres for the 2WD and 411 litres for the AWD. Image: Supplied
There are hard buttons and touch points for the air-con and audio system. Image: Supplied

Toyota bZ4X exterior design

The 2024 Toyota bZ4X has a distinctive and angular look to it, headlined by what Toyota calls its ‘hammerhead’ nose. With a 0.279 coefficient of drag, it’s not the most aerodynamically shaped of vehicles, which is a bit of a shock for an EV as designers normally do anything to make them slipperier through the air to extend range between recharges.

Because of the long battery pack sitting between the axles, the Toyota bZ4X has a wheelbase about the same length as Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series wagon. But as already mentioned, its overall 4690mm length is more akin to the Toyota RAV4 or Tesla Model Y.

What is the Toyota bZ4X like inside?

That long wheelbase means the 2024 Toyota bZ4X liberates plenty of room in both the front and rear seats. People 180cm-plus should have no problem getting comfy behind a 180cm driver.

But while basic space is good, storage capability is less impressive. The boot is only 421 litres for the 2WD and 411 litres for the AWD. A Toyota RAV4 has a much bigger boot and the Tesla Model Y simply embarrasses it. Not only that, there are no nets or bins to help stop smaller items rolling around.

Up-front the e-motor means there’s no frunk under the bonnet and there’s not even a glovebox in the cabin. That space is taken up by a radiant heater behind the dashboard.

There are other storage options in the cabin including door bins for all four doors, cupholders front and rear, a bridge-type centre console topped off by a double-level lidded bin with a sliding cover. There are also map pockets in the rear.

The multimedia screen has a crystal clear resolution and is easy to steer around. Thankfully though, there are hard buttons and touch points for the air-con and audio system so you don’t have to go laboriously drilling through the screen.

The instrument panel is a less successful design. It is set way back in the dashboard and is easy to partially block with the steering wheel.

But the seats are generous and supportive and include a recline (but no slide) function in the rear. The trims vary from unusual-but-appealing textured fabric to universal piano black. Touch points are generally soft.

Essentially, this might not be the most logically executed interior, but it is certainly comfortable and far more welcoming than the austere Tesla Model Y.

The 2024 Toyota bZ4X has a distinctive and angular look to it, headlined by what Toyota calls its ‘hammerhead’ nose. Image: Supplied

The 2024 Toyota bZ4X has a distinctive and angular look to it, headlined by what Toyota calls its ‘hammerhead’ nose. Image: Supplied


Is the Toyota bZ4X good to drive?

A Hyundai Ioniq 5 doesn’t drive like a Hyundai i30. A Kia EV6 doesn’t drive like a Kia Sportage. A Polestar 2 doesn’t drive like a Volvo XC40. Yet the Toyota bZ4X – despite all the interior quirks, the angular exterior and the electric powertrain - drives like a Toyota, be it a Corolla, Camry or RAV4.

Ok, not exactly like them, but there’s something within its innately conservative character that says this is a Toyota powered by electricity, not an EV with a Toyota badge.

Both models have that surging EV acceleration from standstill. However, it's just not as fiercesome as a lot of other EVs. And yet even the 2WD does an entirely acceptable job quietly whirring through the cut and thrust of city traffic or e-motoring along a country road.

Out there its solid nature bears fruit. Long wheelbase, low centre of gravity – and 2.0 tonne of weight – plant it in the road in a set and almost forget fashion. Only the occasional weighting variation with lock on in a tight corner and – more commonly – sharper ride inputs than necessary thanks to the 20-inch wheels and rubber are real detractions from a classically Toyota fuss-free driving experience.

Crunch the numbers and the Toyota bZ4X comes up short on both claimed range (436km 2WD and 411km AWD WLTP protocols) and fast-charging speed (150kW DC) compared to its key rivals. While that’s fine for urban commuting, it's not going to encourage anyone to take a long distance trip.

Toyota bZ4X driving on a winding road. Image: Supplied

The Toyota bZ4X has the surging EV acceleration from standstill that is so appealing. Image: Supplied


What is the Toyota bZ4X like off-road?

The 2024 Toyota bZ4X AWD is nominally an off-roader. Apart from all-paw grip, it has 212mm of ground clearance (versus 182mm for the 2WD), X-Mode off-road modes borrowed from Subaru and downhill assist control. All that means the Toyota bZ4X can tackle some moderate off-road terrain, but remember there’s no spare tyre.

What safety features does the Toyota bZ4X have?

The 2024 Toyota bZ4X’s safety story is an interesting one. While it’s new here it’s been around a couple of years overseas so its ANCAP five star rating is based on testing by sister organisation Euro NCAP and superseded 2022 protocols.

The Toyota bZ4X 2WD also misses out on a couple of handy safety items – blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a panoramic view monitor and automated parking  – that the AWD gets. It also misses out on driver monitoring.

Safety equipment the two cars share includes autonomous emergency braking with vehicle, pedestrian, motorcycles and daylight cyclist detection and a left/right intersection function, active cruise control, lane keeping and centring, emergency stop and road sign detection. There are also seven airbags, LED headlights with adaptive high beam and follow-me-home lighting, front and rear parking sensors, two rear ISOFIX and three child seat top tethers.

The Toyota bZ4X includes Toyota Connected Services online features, including integration with the myToyota Connect smartphone app. Safety features include SOS emergency call and automatic collision notification.

2024 Toyota bZ4X

The 2024 Toyota bZ4X is competitive on price. Image: Supplied


How does the Toyota bZ4X compare?

The 2024 Toyota bZ4X is competitive on price with its logical opposition, but has some shortfalls in other areas such as range, charging speed and functionality. Intriguingly, Subaru has worked hard to make the Solterra more tempting than its bZ4X twin, slashing the price up to $8000 just before launch and including free five year servicing.

There seems tacit acknowledgment from Toyota it might struggle because it’s forecasting only 1500 sales over the first 12 months, the majority claimed by the 2WD.

Based on this test that split makes sense. While the AWD offers some important safety advantages, its off-road capabilities will largely be irrelevant to the buying audience.

Should I buy a Toyota bZ4X?

Based on the number crunching and drive experience, the 2024 Toyota bZ4X is not at the top of the pile when it comes to electric medium SUVs. This is the segment with the hottest competition in the EV world and it already seems to have passed the Toyota by.

But it is a Toyota and that counts for a lot in Australia, where the brand attracts a huge and loyal audience. For all its limitations the Toyota bZ4X will still prompt many people to consider an electric vehicle purchase for the first time.

That makes it a very significant new vehicle. It’s also one all those Toyota fans who test drive it should find happily familiar.


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