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Toyota BZ4X: Australian release date delayed to February 2024


The wait goes on for Aussie sales of Toyota’s first full EV, but “substantially higher than anticipated” numbers set to arrive to challenge Model Y

Toyota’s eagerly-awaited BZ4X electric crossover won’t arrive in Australian showrooms until February 2024, following another delay announced this week by the Japanese manufacturer.

The Tesla Model Y-rivalling SUV had originally been slated for a late 2022 Australian release. This was subsequently pushed back to between October and December of 2023.

Toyota had an overseas prototype of the BZ4X on display at a recent event

Overseas, the BZ4X was released to buyers in the middle of 2022 and the midsize electric crossover is now on sale in North America, China, Japan and Europe, making Australia one of the very last places it will launch.

Toyota Australia promises that when it does finally arrive in Australia, the BZ4X will launch locally with an upgraded specification compared to the version seen overseas, and that supply will be stronger than expected.

The brand’s Australian arm will bring “a substantially higher share of [BZ4X] production that we originally planned,” according to Toyota vice president of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley.

Toyota BZ4X 2023 front 3/4 driving 3
An official release has been delayed until February 2024

Hanley said they expect to deliver “several thousand” BZ4X examples to Australians in 2024 with an upgraded spec compared to what is currently available in other markets.

Exactly what those upgrades are weren’t revealed, but they could include a larger battery than the 64.0kWh-usable unit seen overseas, a faster charging peak speed than the recently-improved 150kW, or additional equipment.

Still scant detail on Australian-spec BZ4X

The BZ4X – which is slightly longer than Toyota’s RAV4 medium SUV – being postponed won’t be welcomed by those hoping to snare the new EV before year’s end. Toyota says the latest delay makes sense.

Rather than rush to market in 2023 with “a handful of cars”, Hanley said the delaying move would “ensure our dealers have a reasonable level of floor stock.”

Hanley explained there were “global supply and demand realities” – in other words, worldwide demand for the BZ4X outstrips supply – so production of Australian spec cars has been pushed back to November.

Toyota BZ4X 2023 rear 3/4
It’s still unclear what kind of BZ4X will be coming to Australia

Just what “several thousand” BZ4X deliveries equates to remains to be seen, but Toyota’s first EV sales will likely remain some way off the sales of the market-leading Tesla Model Y. Around 18,000 Model Ys have been delivered in Australia in 2023 so far.

If Toyota can deliver 3000 BZ4X examples in 2024 it will be closer to the Kia EV6 or Hyundai Ioniq 5 in terms of local sales numbers.

While the BZ4X’s price hasn’t been disclosed, we now know all Australian grades will be offered with:

  • 20-inch wheels
  • LED exterior lighting
  • Heated front seats
  • A 12.3-inch touchscreen
  • Toyota Connected Services features

All BZ4Xs are powered by a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery with 64.0kWh of usable space.

A choice of single-motor front-wheel drive (FWD) and dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD) is available and Australian buyers will see both powertrains sold locally.

Toyota BZ4X 2023 hatch
Toyota wants to bring a steady supply of BZ4Xs to Australia

The FWD BZ4X produces 150kW/265Nm while the AWD version’s modest second motor sees total outputs increase to 160kW/337Nm combined output. The latter also features an off-road mode.

WLTP range claims are 516km (FWD) and 470km (AWD), though testing by overseas publications have seen the BZ4X struggle to come close to those claims. 

In a brief Chasing Cars test at 60km/h in Australia, an AWD BZ4X used 19.0kWh/100km of electricity. That works out to a theoretical range of 336km.

The battery can handle 150kW DC charging, while 11kW AC charging is offered as standard, with Mode 2 and Mode 3 charging cables included.

What will the BZ4X cost in Australia?

Local BZ4X pricing remains a mystery, but Toyota’s Hanley has previously told Chasing Cars it would strive to be priced competitively against the Tesla Model Y. 

Hanley has also been public in declaring that the BZ4X “won’t be a cheap car.”

The Model Y is Australia’s best-selling electric car and is priced from $65,400 plus on-roads for the base rear-wheel drive variant.

The BZ4X front-wheel-drive claims similar range and performance to the above Model Y, so we predict a starting price around $70,000, climbing to $80,000 for the all-wheel-drive version.

Toyota BZ4X 2023 low angle driving
In Toyota’s own words the BZ4X won’t be cheap

Such prices would sit the BZ4X in a highly competitive EV segment, including the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and twin-under-the-skin Subaru Solterra.

By contrast, the petrol-electric Toyota RAV4 hybrid is priced between $42,690 to $58,360 before on-road costs across five trim grades.

Hanley said they forecast approximately 60 percent of BZ4X sales to be front-wheel-drive, and 40 percent all-wheel-drive versions.

BZ4X lease deal to be offered in Australia

Toyota’s signalling of the BZ4X’s $70,000-plus price means that it will lean into marketing an all-in lease deal for the EV as an alternative to purchasing the SUV.

Toyota says a full-service lease deal will be offered from launch “for greater flexibility” to potential customers who’d prefer monthly repayments.

2023 Tesla Model Y Performance red front flat driving
It remains to be seen wit the BZ4X will see the same kind of popularity as the Model Y

“As usual, they will have the ability to purchase outright,” said Hanley. “But we also intend to shake things up by offering full-service lease options through Toyota Finance Australia.” 

Full-service leasing covers registration, insurance, service, roadside assist and connectivity costs. It also provides certainty on resale values. European and North American figures show, in general, electric vehicle resale values have suffered far greater falls than combustion cars.

Hanley also said it’s possible to bundle Toyota Genuine Accessories, a home charger and an EV charge card with the lease deal.