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Toyota bZ4X 2024 review: FWD

Toyota has launched its first EV, the bZ4X, and we family test it in this review!

The bZ4X is the new, and first, electric medium SUV from Toyota and I'm family-testing the base model variant.

You may be thinking, ‘gosh, Emily, this looks awfully similar to that Subaru Solterra you were just in' and you‘d be right! They’re essentially twins as they share electrical underpinnings, some tech and even internal styling but unlike its counterpart, Toyota is offering its base model as a front-wheel drive.

The bZ4X doesn't just have to contend with its Subaru twin because it also competes in the same market segment as seasoned rivals like the Kia EV6 and Tesla Model Y.

But how does the first EV from Toyota stack up under the pressure of family use? My little family of three has been putting it through its paces to find out for you.

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Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 7/10

There are two variants for the bZ4X range, with the base model tested here being a front-wheel drive and only sporting a single motor. This entry-grade is priced from $66,000, before on-road costs, and the top AWD variant is $74,990 MSRP.

Compared to the bZ4X's single-motor rivals, this price tag positions the Toyota right in the middle for costs with the most affordable rival being the Tesla Model Y RWD for $55,900 MSRP, then the Kia EV6 Air at $72,590 MSRP.

Although very similar, Subaru is offering its base variant as a dual-motored AWD, but for price comparisons it is $69,990 MSRP.

Features a 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia screen. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Features a 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia screen. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

For a base model, you get some solid features like heated front seats, built-in satellite navigation, built-in Toyota connected services app and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The upholstery also features synthetic leather accents rather than just plain black cloth and you get an upgraded JBL sound system.

Like its Subaru twin, only the driver's seat is powered with lumbar support but both feature those heat functions.

The upholstery features synthetic leather accents. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The upholstery features synthetic leather accents. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Other standard features include keyless entry, push-button start, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, a tyre puncture repair kit and digital radio.

Technology is also rounded out by the 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia screen, 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster and four fast USB-C ports.

There are a few items missing in this variant that feature in a lot of its rivals, which reminds you this is a base model. Things like heated rear outboard seats, a heated steering wheel and a sunroof, all of which would be easy to accept if the car wasn't edging close to $70K.

Design – Is there anything interesting about its design? 7/10

There’s not much separating the bZ4X from its Subaru twin other than badging and ever-so-slightly different front and rear fascias. The differences are so small only diehard enthusiasts will be able to tell them apart. To me, they look the same on the outside!

The overall look is sporty and fun with lots of pleating in the panelling to give it a futuristic vibe and sharply defined tail-lights for some edginess.

The overall look is sporty and fun. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The overall look is sporty and fun. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Against our test model's 'Liquid Metal' paintwork the heavy black plastic moulding wrapping around the base of the car doesn't stand out too much but will on a lighter colour.

The internals do differ somewhat and the best change is the more traditional round steering wheel. I prefer the look and feel of it compared to the squared-off shape of its twin's.

A futuristic vibe and sharply defined tail-lights. (Image: Glen Sullivan) A futuristic vibe and sharply defined tail-lights. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster is set a fair way back on the dashboard and looks disjointed from the rest of the tech. The steering wheel also cuts into my vision of the screen and while I could shift my seating position to better accommodate, I'd be compromising my driving comfort to do so. A head-up display would be welcome here.

The dashboard, doors and seats all feature a grey knit-like fabric that looks warm and inviting but the cabin is elevated by synthetic leather trims throughout. Overall, the cabin is quite pleasant but wouldn’t be out of place on a much more affordable car.

Practicality – How practical is its space and tech inside? 8/10

The cabin is very spacious with generous leg- and headroom. I have plenty of room for my 168cm (5'6") height but my 183cm (6'0") father was also very comfortable in both rows.

The seats in both rows are well-cushioned and up front, the driver’s side has ample support from the two-way powered lumbar. I also like the way both front seats are heated. You could handle a long trip even as a passenger prince/ss.

Individual storage is less generous than you’d expect for the class given you don’t get a glove box but there are still enough nooks and cubbies for some items and a shelf underneath the console can fit a small handbag.

My seven-year old discovered a secret pocket underneath a removeable box in the middle console where Toyota has stored the manual and logbook.

  • 2024 Toyota bZ4X FWD I Seats 2024 Toyota bZ4X FWD I Seats
  • 2024 Toyota bZ4X FWD I Seats 2024 Toyota bZ4X FWD I Seats
  • 2024 Toyota bZ4X FWD I Seats 2024 Toyota bZ4X FWD I Seats

Up front you also get two cupholders, four drink bottle holders (two in each door) and a handy cubby behind the rotary transmission shifter. In the rear you get map pockets, two cupholders and a device holder in the fold-down armrest and a large drink bottle holder in each door.

No complaints from my kid regarding the amenities in the back and he likes having his own directional air vents and reading lights. But it's the 182mm ground clearance we all love because the bZ4X is super easy to get in and out of. Definitely no grunts in this one!

There's no frunk storage but the boot's 421L capacity will suffice for your bigger grocery run or odd trip but the capacity is lower than some rivals. Underneath the level loading space there's a retractable cargo liner, two cable pouches, a first aid kit and the tyre puncture repair kit. I like the powered tailgate on the base model. I find them handy with a kid in tow.

  • 2024 Toyota bZ4X FWD I Boot 2024 Toyota bZ4X FWD I Boot
  • 2024 Toyota bZ4X FWD I Boot 2024 Toyota bZ4X FWD I Boot

Technology is well-rounded and upmarket. The 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia system is responsive and easy to use but the customisations for internal features are a little lacking. The built-in satellite navigation is clear and there is a dedicated Toyota services app, too.

The wireless Apple CarPlay is simple to connect to and I didn't have any dropouts with calls or connections, which is great. There is also wireless connectivity for Android Auto users.

Charging options throughout the car are solid with each row getting two USB-C ports, while the front also features a USB-A port and 12-volt socket. However, there’s no wireless charging pad or V2L (vehicle-to-load) capability which might annoy over long-term use.

Under the bonnet – What are the key stats for its motor? 8/10

The bZ4X base variant is a front-wheel drive and has a single electric motor producing 150kW/256Nm - which sounds a bit schlumpy compared to its rivals but its pick up is great and you don’t feel it's underpowered, even when you’re on the open-road.

Efficiency – What is its driving range? What is its charging time? 7/10

The official energy consumption figure is 16.9kWh/100km and I averaged 16.1kWh over a mix of urban and open-road driving. The consumption is good and on par with some of its rivals but the official driving range from the large 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery is up to 436km, which is lower than most of its rivals by a good portion.

The official energy consumption figure is 16.9kWh/100km. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The official energy consumption figure is 16.9kWh/100km. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The bZ4X has a Type 2 CCS charging port which means you can benefit from faster DC charging speeds, up to 150kW. On a 150kW DC system you can go from 0-80 per cent in around 40-minutes.

On a 7.0kW AC charger, you can go from 10-100 per cent in 9.5 hours and that drops to seven hours on an 11kW system. All the bZ4X figures are good enough to avoid the inconvenience zone but aren't as fast as some of its competitors.

Driving – What's it like to drive? 8/10

You don’t often notice this base model is a front-wheel drive until you accelerate too quickly from a standstill and tlose a bit of traction. Otherwise, power delivery is smooth and while you don’t get a tummy-sucking-sensation when you put your foot down the power satisfies for city and open-road driving.

The steering feels light and there's a fair bit of understeer. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The steering feels light and there's a fair bit of understeer. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The steering feels light and there's a fair bit of understeer when tackling winding roads. This made the handling a bit lacklustre at times but it’s not too intrusive in an urban environment. Just remind yourself it’s not a performance EV if you ever start thinking ‘fast and furious’ thoughts.

Ride comfort is very good and I’d attribute that to a well-cushioned suspension set-up. While you notice bumps, you’re not bothered by them, even in the back seat. The cabin is peaceful and quiet most of the time but road noise creeps up a lot at higher speeds.

The reversing camera is relatively clear. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The reversing camera is relatively clear. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Visibility is excellent and despite a few little things, like the steering, it’s an uncomplicated car to drive.

The bZ4X isn’t too hard to park because the reversing camera is relatively clear but this grade would benefit from the 360-degree view system which is available on the top-grade model. The 4690mm length, 1860mm width and 1650mm height makes it a happy-go-lucky friend in a small car park.

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What is its safety rating? 6/10

The bZ4X comes with some good standard safety features like a full suite of LED lights (including the DRLs), lane departure alert, lane keeping aid, traffic sign recognition, seatbelt warning, adaptive cruise control as well as a reversing camera supported by front and rear parking sensors.

Unfortunately, the base model misses out on items the top model features like blind-spot monitoring, 'Safe Exit Assist', driver attention monitoring, rear-occupant alert and rear cross-traffic alert. All of which are fairly big-ticket items and available on much more affordable Toyotas.

Still, the bZ4X achieved a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating from testing done in 2022 and has seven airbags, including a front centre bag.

It has AEB with forward collision warning as well as car, pedestrian and cyclist detection which is operational from 5.0-80km/h (and up to 180km/h for car detection).

There are ISOFIX child-seat mounts on the rear outboard seats and three top-tether anchor points. Two child seats will fit best, though.

Ownership – What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs? 8/10

The bZ4X comes with a five-year/unlimited km warranty and the battery is covered by an eight-year or up to 160,000km warranty. Both are usual terms for the class.

There is a five-year or up to 75,000km capped priced servicing plan and annual services cost just $180, which is very competitive.

Servicing intervals are more in line with a fuel-based car at every 12-months or 15,000km, whichever occurs first. 

The Wrap

The Toyota bZ4X base variant is an uncomplicated car to drive. It has some decent features for its grade level and it is plenty big enough for my little family of three but it doesn’t always come out ahead of its rivals.

It would be an easy EV to dip your toes in if you’re wanting something economical to maintain yet able to fit the family. But it's expensive for what it is.

My seven-year old likes the cool looks but has been confused about Mummy is reviewing the same car again.


Easy-as-pie to drive
Comfort plus for all occupants
Pleasant looks and styling


Too expensive for what it is
Falls behind rivals with charging/power figures
Twinning a little too hard with the Subaru Solterra




The Kids:



Based on new car retail price


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