Read Caroline’s Toyota bZ4X review for everything you need to know about buying Toyota’s electric crossover in Ireland.

Over the coming years Toyota looks set to launch a number of full battery electric vehicles under its new bZ ‘beyond zero’ sub-brand of zero emission vehicles.

The first of those to reach Ireland is the Toyota bZ4X, a mid-size crossover of similar size to the long-standing RAV4. It goes on sale from €50,075, which on price positions it between the RAV4 hybrid and the RAV4 plug-in hybrid.

Toyota of course has a lot of history in battery technology and electrification, being a pioneer of hybrid technology since the 1990s.

These days the brand sells a huge amount of hybrid cars in Ireland like the Corolla, Yaris Cross and C-HR.

So how well does it make full battery electric vehicles?

I spent some time with the new bZ4X to find out!

The new Toyota BZ4X on test for Changing Lanes
The new Toyota bZ4X on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

The bZ4X was built from a partnership with Subaru and features some very edgy and futuristic styling. If you ever wondered what an electric RAV4 might look like, this is surely it. It’s a bit lower than the RAV4 with a sleeker, more crossover style. It gets the brand’s new ‘hammerhead’ design theme, just like the newly launched Toyota Prius and C-HR. Slim LED headlights at the front accentuate its contemporary style. There is extensive use of plastic cladding around the wheel arches, which does make it very distinct. It’s not the prettiest vehicle in the world but certainly something different – from Ireland’s bestselling car brand in 2023 – to rivals like the Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 6 and Volkswagen ID.4. 18-inch alloy wheels come as standard, which enhance the chunky style of the bZ4X. The rear styling is quite adventurous for Toyota with a split rear spoiler and full width light bar. There is no rear windscreen wiper – said to improve aerodynamics – but leaves and other grime do have a tendency to stick.

Interior

The interior design of the bZ4X is quite a departure for the Toyota brand yet feels grown-up and a tad more futuristic than models like the Toyota RAV4 and Camry. There is a high centre console to separate you from your passenger with a neat storage compartment for a mobile phone that doubles as a wireless charger and a gorgeously tactile dial to select your drive mode. The large touchscreen is another highlight. The clear menus and combination of buttons underneath make it easy to interact with. There’s also seamless integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The cabin of the bZ4X
The cabin of the bZ4X

The driving position requires a little bit of patience to get comfortable with a less than typical Toyota arrangement that sees the driver looking over the steering wheel at the digital instrument binnacle. Still, there’s a solid feel to the cabin that feels very familiar Toyota and some interesting woven fabric trim. The half cloth/synthetic leather seats also add plushness. Worth noting there’s no glovebox but there is quite a large storage space under the centre console. Sport models are the sweet spot of the range with the largest touchscreen, heated steering wheel, heated front seats and power adjustment for the driver.

Practicality

The bZ4X offers a 452 litre boot, which is not the biggest among rivals but is actually very well-designed. The opening is wide and there’s a low, flat sill for easy loading. There’s also a small underfloor storage compartment for the charging cables. Sport models come with a powered tailgate. The bZ4X has a longer wheelbase than a RAV4 so the back seat feels roomy too with large footwells. But the floor is quite high to accommodate the battery underneath so it lacks some thigh support for more comfort for adult passengers.

Battery

The bZ4X uses a 71kWh battery (64kWh usable), with an official range of 505 kilometres (WLTP) for front wheel drive models and 461 kilometres for the all wheel drive. The official consumption figure is about 14.7kWh though in real world driving this was closer to 17.6kWh, which gave me a real world range closer to 364 kilometres. When serviced with a Toyota dealer, the brand is offering up to 10yrs or 1 million kilometres EV Battery Extended Care in addition to the standard 8 years/160,000 km EV Battery Warranty.

The Toyota bZ4X is a mid-size electric crossover
The Toyota bZ4X is a mid-size electric crossover

Driving

On test for Changing Lanes was the single motor, front wheel drive bZ4X Sport model with 204hp and 265Nm of torque for a 0-100 time of 7.5 seconds. Built on a bespoke electric vehicle platform shared with the Subaru Solterra, it feels delightfully swift and agile on the road with a low centre of gravity and quick, precise steering making it one of the best of its kind for handling over a variety of roads. The comfort the suspension offers is also one of the highlights, with the bZ4X avoiding the stiffness of some electric crossovers and SUVs. Less appealing is the persistent road noise that finds its way into the cabin, though there’s little wind or electric motor noise. There’s a standard and Eco driving mode that dulls the responsiveness of the vehicle to encourage more range-friendly driving. There’s also a button to increase regenerative braking but there’s no one-pedal driving function like in some other EVs that allows the car to be controlled from just the accelerator pedal.

Subaru lent their all wheel drive expertise to the project. While the brand offers its Solterra sister car as all wheel drive only, Toyota offers its bZ4X with the choice of front wheel drive or all wheel drive. Unless you need more traction for frequent inclement weather and tricky roads and terrain, the front wheel drive model offers the best range and efficiency. However in real world driving Toyota’s range figure seems overly optimistic, with this test driver achieving closer to 364 kilometres in winter weather.

Charging

There’s a standard fit 11kW onboard AC charger and DC fast charging is possible up to 150kW for an 80% charge in about 45 minutes.

Boot space in the bZ4X
Boot space in the bZ4X

Pricing

The 2024 Toyota bZ4X Sport is available from €50,075.

Verdict

Toyota has seemingly been slow to bring a full battery electric vehicle to market, and the bZ4X appears somewhat fashionably late to the party. It is competitive however in the overall packaging of the car and the price. It’s a sign of good things to come from the Toyota brand in electric vehicles, after reigning supreme in hybrid vehicles for so long.

The bZ4X is not perfectly executed with a few foibles, but in other areas like comfort and handling it really excels giving an overall good impression of the car. The real world range is a little more average but for many it’s just enough really. In the end it’s the reassuring quality and solidness that makes Toyota one of Ireland’s best loved brands that will make the bZ4X a sound companion for those ready to take the next step from hybrid to full battery electric.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The Toyota bZ4X is available in Ireland now
The Toyota bZ4X is available in Ireland now