Toyota goes the extra miles with electric crossover
Toyota has been something of a pioneer in the search for the eventual replacement of the internal combustion engine.
It produced the first hybrid with the multi-million-selling Prius and has developed hydrogen powered vehicles, but oddly, this vehicle is the first dip into the all-electric vehicle pool.
The curiously-named bZ4X, is a new mid-sized crossover that has come about as part of a collaboration between Toyota and Subaru, bZ meaning beyond zero, while the 4 is the model spec and the X is for crossover.
It comes in three grades, Pure, Motion and Vision and is the first model to feature Toyota’s eTNGA, a modular architecture that can be adapted for different vehicle sizes.
You might think its late entry to the EV market could be a drawback, but Toyota has plenty of experience with battery and motor combos and for those still with range anxiety, a very long drive returned close to 290 miles, against a claimed figure of 317.
Even better, a fast charging facility allows up to 80 per cent charge in just 30 minutes, providing our course you can find one that’s working on our motorway services.
That was for the tested front-wheel drive model, with the all-wheel drive version seeing its range drop substantially.
This model featured a 150kW front-mounted eAxle that produces 201bhp, while the four-wheel drive model has what Toyota calls front and rear 80kW eAxles with a combined output of up to 215bhp.
It has a slippery aerodynamic profile, all creases and angles and smart headlight arrays, a rear spoiler and privacy glass and a full-wide list bar across the rear.
The interior is also impressive and generously kitted out as you would expect from a car with a starting price tag approaching £48k.
The Pure grade features include 18-inch alloy wheels, smart entry and start and a climate control system with remote operation. This model adds various
The trick with electric cars these days it to make them look more mainstream, not look like something out of Blade Runner, which used to be the case.
Lt has a fairly minimalist set-up featuring a 12.3-inch multimedia display that controls functions like navigation, infotainment, via a six-speaker audio system and connectivity for smartphone users.
There is a wireless charging facility and it is supplemented by a seven-inch TFT instrument and information display delivering real-time information to the driver.
On the road, The150 kW electric motor produces 201bhp, enabling 0-62mph acceleration in 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 100mph. Rapid performance and the handling is not bad either, with the low centre of gravity battery adding stability.
One thing I was not keen on was the relatively poor steering lock, making it difficult to manoeuvre in tight spaces.
As a family crossover it is designed for comfort with softish suspension and practicality is a must on this type of vehicle.
The cabin is light and airy and stowage space is good, with boot space of 465 litres available which opens up substantially with the rear seats folded.
Safety equipment is comprehensive and as well as the usual traction, stability and braking assistance, it also features parking assistance, hill-start and downhill assistance and blind spot and driver monitor.
Toyota zB4X Motion 150kW
Mechanical: 201ps, 150kW motor driving front wheels via single speed transmission
Max speed: 100mph
0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
Range: 312 miles
Insurance group: 36
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles