Toyota, one of the largest automotive manufacturers in the world, has created some innovative products that push the limits of what’s possible when it comes to gasoline alternatives, introducing everything from the innovative hydrogen-electric Mirai to the exceedingly popular hybrid Prius.
Yet, the company has been surprisingly late to the all-electric game, only just releasing the crossover with an unfortunate gobbledygook name: the 2023 Toyota bZ4X.
While the electric SUV is a welcome entry into the battery-electric market, it’s surprisingly lackluster when compared with other BEVs like the Volkswagen ID 4, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, and the Chevrolet Bolt EUV. With a slightly lower range, slow charging rate, and less than inspiring design, the 2023 Toyota bZ4X forces us to conclude that the nearly $50,000 price tag isn’t really worth it. (And we haven’t mentioned the recall yet!)
Range that’s good enough
When Toyota first revealed the bZ4X last year, it showed off a solar roof, “long range” electric powertrain, and (gasp) a yoke-style steering wheel. The Japanese automaker proclaimed that the RAV4-sized ute would get around 300 miles of range. When the bZ4X arrived in the US, however, the front-wheel drive version only got 252 miles of EPA-estimated range. The all-wheel drive version, which uses a different battery pack and lower charging speeds, gets even less, with 222 miles of range. Compared to other crossovers in the segment, it’s solidly in the middle of the pack, with nowhere near the promised longer range.
During our seven days with the bZ4X, my partner and I took to calling it the “Bizzy Forks” because that unfortunate name has no real shorthand. Toyota plans to release…