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In-depth reviews

Toyota bZ4X - Electric motor, drive and performance

The Toyota bZ4X offers decent driving dynamics and just enough power to keep things interesting

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Electric motor, drive and performance Rating

4.2 out of 5

Price
£42,860 to £51,950
  • Good to drive
  • Comfortable
  • Much-improved infotainment system
  • Expensive to buy
  • Low steering wheel position
  • No glovebox storage
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The all-electric bZ4X uses Toyota’s new eTNGA platform for electric cars, which also underpins the Lexus RZ and Subaru Solterra. It’s a flexible setup and closely related to the architecture that forms the basis of the RAV4 and C-HR SUVs, which means that the bZ4X is good to drive and gains similar on-board technology and safety features.

Buyers looking for a family EV that delivers a smooth ride will want to consider the bZ4X. It manages to deal with the typical bumpy tarmac of UK roads with ease and feels very at home on a motorway cruise. However, the bZ4X is still fun to drive on twisty B-roads, where the well-weighted steering and tightly controlled body movements will impress you. It’s all pretty refined in the cabin, too, with little wind- or road noise at higher speeds, while the whirr of the electric motor is well suppressed and isn’t intrusive.

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Like its Solterra sibling, the bZ4X has regenerative braking to generate a little bit of electricity after you lift off the accelerator to slow down, helping to top up the battery and maximise your overall range. The strength of the system can be altered using paddles behind the steering wheel to either increase or decrease how quickly the car reduces speed. In its highest setting, the bZ4X tech is almost capable of one-pedal driving like the e-pedal system in a Nissan Ariya, although it can’t bring the bZ4X to a complete stop like the Ariya’s can. The transition from the regenerative braking system and the car’s physical brakes when you use the brake pedal is almost imperceptible.

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It’s unlikely that customers considering a bZ4X will want real off-road ability, but Toyota has nonetheless seen fit to collaborate with Subaru to provide an AWD model with a selectable off-road driving mode. The bZ4X’s ground clearance is not high enough to allow for any real off-piste adventures, but it might add some extra reassurance during poorer weather or if you spend a lot of time driving on minor roads.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed 

Buyers have the option of either a front-wheel drive model that uses a single 201bhp electric motor, or a 215bhp all-wheel drive model with a motor on each axle. 

Outright performance is not the focus of the all-electric bZ4X, but it’s still capable of delivering decent pace. As with most electric cars, there’s an instant hit of acceleration when you press the accelerator and, with 266Nm of torque available, the FWD bZ4X manages the 0-62mph sprint in 7.5 seconds. 

The more powerful 215bhp all-wheel-drive model has an extra 71Nm of torque, which helps it to achieve a more rapid 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds, with a 100mph top speed. That’ll be more than enough for most people’s needs. However, both the Ariya and Tesla Model Y are available in much more powerful variants with quicker 0-62mph times.

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