Funky styling meets practicality.
You don’t have to be a car enthusiast to notice EVs on the road. Now more than ever, the presence of electric cars can be seen everywhere you go. From the grocery store parking lot to the freeway and most neighborhoods, EVs are well on their way to becoming mainstream. Once upon a time, EVs were for well-off folks who could drop six figures on a rolling status symbol, but that’s changing rapidly. The 2023 Toyota bz4x is a perfect example of that.
The Toyota bz4x is the Japanese automaker’s first EV for the North American market. You may recall the famous Toyota Prius, which is a hybrid, meaning it runs on a gasoline engine aided by a large battery. In the case of the bz4x, the compact crossover runs purely on electricity.
I recently had the opportunity to spend a week with a two-tone bz4x, whose Deadpool-inspired color combo turned heads everywhere I went. Even better—and re-upping my earlier statement about EV pricing—the bz4x I tested had a starting price of $42,000, though it came out to $44,409 with delivery fee and optional equipment. A well-equipped midsize electric crossover for under $45,000? You’ve got my attention.
The bz4x is powered by a single 150-kW electric motor that generates a total of 201 horsepower. The bz4x I tested was front-wheel drive, though a better-equipped (more expensive) version is available with all-wheel drive. More importantly, however, is the bz4x’s driving rage, which the EPA estimates is 252 miles (242 for awd models).
The Toyota bz4x’s driving experience is a mixture of old and new. While cruising on the highway it feels very comfortable, smooth, and very quiet—like most Toyota SUVs. However, while zipping around town the bz4x is agile and very quick, zooming in and out of traffic and hustling from light to light effortlessly. It has the acceleration of a sporty car that’s just aching to rocket forward as soon as the light turns green. This might be a new sensation to most crossover/SUV drivers, but it’s certainly one that they’ll enjoy.
While the bz4x isn’t a luxury, sports, or high-end vehicle, it certainly provides a premium driving experience. Its steering, suspension, and pedals are all very plush and smooth—more Lexus-like than Toyota. This is a good thing, obviously, given the bz4x’s price tag.
Like most EVs, the ownership experience is significantly better if you have a garage. This means that you can charge your EV overnight and don’t have to rely on the public charging infrastructure (which still mostly sucks, though it’s getting better). During my weeklong test, I charged the bz4x at home from a regular, household 120v outlet. This provided more than enough juice every two nights to keep my family going. Of course, charging needs may vary depending on the length of your daily commute, so some EV owners may consider hiring a technician to install a 240-volt outlet. Higher voltage equals more miles in less time.
The bz4x isn’t much different than, say, a Toyota RAV4 when it comes to praticality and family friendliness. It offers seating for five and a spacious trunk that’s bound to fit most families’ stuff. The seats are quite comfortable for everyday commuting, and I reckon they’ll do just fine on a long road trip. Whether you have babies, toddlers, or teenagers, there’s enough room for everyone and their stuff in the bz4x.
Overall, the bz4x offers a good mix of funky EV pizazz with traditional crossover qualities. You won’t have to re-learn how to drive a car just because you chose to go electric, but you’ll still get a fresh air of modernity and out-of-the-box thinking—especially when it comes to the interior design. In the end, choosing a vehicle like the Toyota bz4x will heavily depend on your daily driving needs, housing situation, and maybe even government rebates and incentives.