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Toyota BZ4X 2024 review


After spending decades perfecting hybrid vehicles that many Aussies love, Toyota’s first EV ought to knock it out the park – but does it?

Good points

  • It’s an approachable EV
  • Comfortable ride quality
  • Solid off-road ability
  • Funky but familiar interior
  • Generous standard equipment
  • Fun to drive

Needs work

  • Limited driving range
  • And mediocre charging speeds
  • No spare wheel
  • A hybrid is a lot cheaper
  • Missing key features on top grade
  • AWD limited to flagship

Asked to identify the point of difference between the new BZ4X and the increasingly substantial field of electric SUVs entering the market, Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley puts it best: “it’s a Toyota”.

Hanley goes on to explain that the BZ4X was a vehicle designed to be familiar to own and use in many areas, from its cabin layout to the expansive service network available.

Toyota bZ4X AWD 2024 rear

Of course, it’s a bit more difficult to outline an exact point of difference when you’re launching your first EV alongside a near-clone in the Subaru Solterra, even if this partnership has worked well with the GT/GR86 and the BRZ, providing us with two satisfying flavours of the same brilliant product.

The one area that the BZ4X is still very much not user friendly is the price.

Even with its starting price of $66,000 before on-road costs, this is only competitive when viewed through the lens of an EV buyer. We’re still talking about a car that’s $7640 pricer than the most expensive RAV4 on the market.

Toyota bZ4X FWD 2024 driving

Even still, with that sticker price it moves beyond the burgeoning cash piles of ‘early adopters’ and closer to the reach of regular Australians. Plus, with the generous tax exemptions available under the current novated leasing schemes, there is a genuine chance of success here.

Toyota plans to bring in just 1500 BZ4Xs in the first 12 months, an approach Hanley admits isn’t very aggressive, but they do have the capacity to bring in more if the demand is there.

Last year, it sold nearly 30,000 RAV4s, so if even a fraction of buyers cross-shop the pair, the few BZ4Xs available ought to fly off the showroom floors.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 badge

Many critics have dismissed the BZ4X as simply a stop-gap between the demands of buyers now and Toyota’s next generation of EVs, which are expected to be significantly more capable, with technology such as longer-range solid-state batteries very much on the cards.

It’s something Toyota denies but it’s hard to argue in the company of the likes of Tesla Model Y, which not only features more range in its single-motor guise but also does so for a cheaper price and sells in huge volume here in Australia.

In terms of range, the BZ4X claims 436km on a single charge for the FWD option and 411km for the AWD model, whereas the Tesla is claimed to offer 455km from its single-motor option and 533km from the long-range AWD, with all values measured under the WLTP standard.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 front 3/4 off-road

It’s important to remember that the BZ4X is very much not a new global release, as it’s been on sale in most of the world since mid-2022 and even its upmarket Lexus sibling, the RZ 450e, made it to our market about nine months ago.

Still, Toyota says it wouldn’t have brought the BZ4X to Australia, even if it could have. Right now is the right time to launch, it says. More EVs should follow much more quickly from here though, with three more models planned for our market by 2026.

So has Toyota’s slow-but-sensible approach to fully electric vehicles paid off in a world of numbers-chasing underdogs? The question assumes the BZ4X is a good car, so let’s find out.

What are the BZ4X’s features and options for the price?

The BZ4X range is split into two grades which are simply known as front- and all-wheel-drive, with prices starting at $66,000 and $74,900 before on-roads respectively.

Notably, Subaru has gone a different route with their Solterra grade strategy, with the range consisting of a low- and high-spec AWD grade, priced at $69,990 and $76,990 respectively. You can read our assessment of the Solterra in our separate review.

Toyota bZ4X 2024 FWD (L) and AWD (R).
Pictured: the FWD grade (left) and the AWD grade (right)

Toyota buyers who order before June 30 and receive their BZ4X before the end of the year will receive a complimentary 7kW charger as part of the purchase price, or a subsidy towards an 11kW three-phase system if you want to upgrade your at-home charging further.

In terms of the car though, the following features are standard on the FWD grade:

  • LED headlights and tail-lights
  • 20-inch alloy wheels 
  • Fabric and synthetic leather seats
  • Leather-accented steering wheel
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
  • Six-way manual adjustable front passenger seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Power tailgate
  • 7.0-inch multi-information display
  • 12.3-inch multimedia display 
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Six-speaker audio system

Stepping up to the AWD model adds:

  • Roof rails and spoiler
  • Panoramic roof
  • Premium synthetic leather seat trim
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Ventilated front seats
  • 10-watt wireless phone charger
  • Kick sensor for power tailgate
  • X-Mode with dual off-road modes 
  • Nine-speaker JBL sound system

Premium paint will cost an additional $575 and the two-tone option offered exclusively on the AWD model costs $1350.

It’s worth noting that in addition to the regular retail price, Toyota is offering a three-year full service lease deal in a bid to ease concerns around resale values dropping during ownership.

Toyota bZ4X AWD 2024 interior
Pictured: the AWD model

Given the lease type it will include registration (including CTP) insurance, maintenance costs, roadside assistance and more. Prices will vary based on your location for this reason.

But even still, our calculations based on a metro NSW dealer costing $1771 a month means your total spend would be $63,756 over that period, and Toyota retains the car at the end. That seems very, very steep for what you’re getting.

How does the BZ4X drive?

Having previously sampled the luxurious Lexus RZ, which shares the same E-TNGA platform as this model, I had a reasonable expectation that the BZ4X would be competent, comfortable and relatively fun to drive.

With a starting price that’s almost half that of the it’s luxury Lexus sibling, you might expect the Toyota to be half as good, but you’d be wrong.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 highway

During our initial drive with the BZ4X, we sampled the electric SUV on some fast-flowing b-roads, genuinely tricky off-road sections and some city driving. The latter of which we’ll focus on first.

At low speeds, the BZ4X is charming to drive, with the well-known clattery hum of the RAV4 hybrid’s CVT-equipped drivetrain replaced by near-silence and strong, though not jerky, acceleration when setting off from a stop.

As we moved out from the city regions and into some 80km/h and then 100km/h zones, some excess noise creeped into the cabin.

Toyota bZ4X AWD 2024 driving rear

I’ll hold off on making too many comparisons to the RZ 450e (as it’s been a while since I’ve driven the thing) but our contributor Iain Curry noted in a previous review that the Lexus was “near-silent” in the top-spec grade.

BZ4X stills pulls strongly, in both AWD and FWD guises, feeling amply powerful while also controlled. Put simply, the extra power is only noticeable when you want it to be, otherwise this is a very approachable drivetrain.

Turning onto some of Canberra’s best b-rolls revealed a car which is surprisingly fun to drive. It corners flatter than a RAV4, which is enormously capable for its class but nonetheless a bit ‘rolley-polley’ for some tastes.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 driving front 3/4

For those who are interested in the extra grunt, the AWD is fitted with the same 80kW/168.5Nm motor on the front and rear axle, resulting in a total system output of 160kW/337Nm, while the FWD single-motor version has a beefier 150kW/266Nm unit up front.

In terms of 0-100km numbers, the BZ4X has a claimed time of 7.5 seconds in the FWD and 6.9 seconds in the AWD. We plan to test these numbers ourselves at a later date.

Unlike the Polestar 2, which has a clear rear-bias in its AWD model, the BZ4X is decidedly neutral in its balance and feels very stable. In the same vein, the FWD Toyota doesn’t feel like it’s being led around by the nose.

Overall, the BZ4X feels relatively fun to drive, for an EV SUV anyway.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 driving

It corners confidently and putting your foot down out of a corner will still bring a smile to your face. There is certainly more joy and pace to be had in the AWD model, though the FWD doesn’t feel overly lacking in comparison.

It pays to be aware of the BZ4X’s over two-tonne kerb weight when driving, though, as the SUV’s grip can feel overwhelmed by the weight when you get to the end of a very long corner. It’s best to ease up on the throttle here and remember that what you’re driving is a family SUV.

Perhaps we’ll see more talent exposed when Toyota releases a performance variant of the BZ4X. Adding a fiery range-topper is a trend we’ve seen with the Model Y and the Polestar 2 and Toyota is very keen to add a spicy flagship of their own.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 engine

We don’t yet know when it will be released or what form this will take but the RZ Sport Concept, unveiled last year by Lexus, showcases a 300kW drivetrain (150kW motor front and rear), wider tyres, lowered suspension and a body kit that looks the business.

In terms of ride comfort, the BZ4X is a generally relaxed cruiser with a firmer undertone than some of its petrol and hybrid siblings, but it’s a feeling which isn’t uncommon for EVs, such as we’ve seen with the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5.

Like its aforementioned Korean rivals, the BZ4X will occasionally stumble over a big bump and pass it through to the cabin with more of a jolt than it probably should. But with its relatively small 64kWh (71.4kWh gross) battery, the suspension feels generally quite comfortable, and perhaps even more so than its rivals.

What is the BZ4X like to drive off-road?

It’s a question that I suspect many people have never thought to ask, but I think more should because the answer might surprise you.

As part of the joint development with Subaru when building the BZ4X and Solterra twins, Toyota agreed that it should be its rival who was tasked with creating a genuinely capable AWD system.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 off-road driving 2

On face value this might come as a bit of a surprise – after all, Toyota has created the likes of the Land Cruiser, why would it need help here?

Well, Subaru has spent decades now carving out a reputation as making the most capable soft-roaders money can buy and they are very good at it.

In the current midsize SUV segment, the Forester sits head and shoulders above the rest of the class in terms of off-road ability, so it’s no surprise that Toyota proclaims the (Solterra-shared) BZ4X has ‘class-leading off-road ability’ for an electric midsize SUV.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 rear off-road

In fairness, this isn’t all that hard to do, as nobody seems to really be trying. Not yet anyway.

The BZ4X’s 212mm ground clearance is quite decent – to compare, a Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD’s 167mm lift makes it look like a dropped-book. Notably, the FWD version of the BZ4X sits 30mm lower, likely to aid aerodynamics, and therefore, long-distance driving range.

So how does it actually perform? Well, actually it’s quite incredible.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 off-road

Toyota took us through a fairly serious trail as part of the launch program, the kind where steep inclines only offer gravel, deep ruts and dislodged rocks for traction.

The BZ4X was quite remarkable in how easily it scaled the series of switchbacks and steep inclines with minimal fuss.

Once locked into ‘X-Mode’ (yes the Subaru branding does appear on the Toyota model) and set to Snow/Dirt mode, the traction control locks down any unnecessary wheel-spin and shuffles up the hill as commanded.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 driving off-road

X-Mode also overcomes a common issue for EVs when tackling loose off-road surfaces, where their ‘instant torque’ is entirely counterproductive in retaining traction, by dulling the amount of power sent to the wheels – though certainly nothing like the ratio of a proper low-range transfer case.

The surprisingly tight turning circle was also of great assistance on the tighter tracks and drivers are also offered ‘crawl control’, which is essentially off-road cruise control, with a speed that can be adjusted to suit the difficulty of the terrain.

The BZ4X features a hill descent control function like most SUVs but the programming means business on this model. Personally, I find it to be a crutch I didn’t need but for those less experienced with off-roading, this is a good addition.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 boot floor
Not pictured: a spare wheel – because it doesn’t exist

Although this off-road performance is very impressive, with the claimed circa-400km range and the complete lack of a spare tyre (space saver or otherwise) the capacity to actually make use of this off-road ability is sadly limited beyond the basic duties such as driving on the beach or driving up to your local hiking trail.

In practice, you would have to be well-informed about the area and perhaps a bit brave to explore any rugged terrain, as a puncture could leave you seriously stranded – especially if there is no phone reception to call for help.

What is the BZ4X’s interior and tech like?

Electric vehicles have become somewhat infamous (or famous, depending on your taste) for their aggressively modern interior designs.

In designing the interior of the BZ4X, Toyota is clearly aware of this trend but says it’s focused on retaining the easy to use nature of the cabin that buyers have come to expect from the brand.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 FWD interior 2
Pictured: the entry-level FWD

The centrepiece of the interior is a huge 12.3-inch screen, housed in a swath of gloss black and sitting above a set of analogue controls for the climate control. Below that, solid and easily-comprehensible vehicle controls for functions such as X-Mode and the rotating shifter sit prominently on display.

I can’t say I love the design. I take particular issue with the ridiculous housing of the 7.0-inch instrument cluster that looks like it would better serve as a child’s bath seat than a car part but the interior is generally easy to learn and use – even if it looks a bit more confronting for some upon first glance.

The 7.0-inch unit is also on the small side though and is a little bit hard to see – even with the vision of a 20-something male like myself. Typically when we see a screen this small placed in the gauge cluster, it’s flanked by one or more analog dials for clarity, but that’s not the case here.

Toyota bZ4X AWD 2024 screen
Toyota bZ4X AWD 2024 steering wheel

It’s good to see Toyota has utilised some of the classic advantages that typically come with an EV, such as the additional storage made available under the centre console thanks to the lack of a transmission – though, you’d hope so as there is no glove box to be found elsewhere.

The standard appointment of the interior is impressive, having the large touchscreen along with nice woven cloth-like material across the dash and myriad soft (synthetic) leather surfaces across the cabin that provide a homely feel. In many ways, I actually prefer the cloth appointed seat trim over the full vinyl treatment of the flagship.

The seats themselves are quite comfortable with power adjustment on the driver’s side, which gains a memory function on the AWD model. Sadly though, neither features power adjustment for the front passenger, which is a bit of a miss at this price point.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 front seats
Pictured: the FWD grade (left) with cloth and synthetic leather seats and the AWD (right) with full synthetic leather upholstery

A hideaway 10W phone charger is fitted to the top-spec AWD, with this model also benefiting from ventilated seats in a nice touch for the Australian market, along with standard heating on the base model.

With the same 2850mm wheelbase as a Land Cruiser 300 Series, the BZ4X feels like a larger vehicle inside than a RAV4 yet it’s only 75mm longer. The extra length is placed where it matters most, with an additional 34mm in the back seat compared to the RAV4.

The static not quoted by Toyota is the floor height, which is noticeably higher than a typical combustion vehicle thanks to the bulk of the battery pack, with no clever floor cut out for your feet to sit in like we see on some EVs.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 back seat

Regardless, parents will likely have a much easier time fitting rearward-facing baby seats in the second row as a result of the additional length, and it’s still an area I’d call ‘comfortable’ for a 180cm-tall adult like myself.

Air vents feature in the second row along with USB-C charging points and privacy glass. It’s also worth noting that the angle of the back seat is highly adjustable and folds in a 60:40 split.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 boot

The boot measures 421 litres in the FWD model and 410 litres in the AWD, with the loss of space owing to the additional electric motor and subwoofer of the JBL sound system.

An additional 10L is found under the floor space to stow the charging cable and the cargo blind. Sadly though, there is no frunk on this model and, as stated previously, there is no spare wheel available either.

Is the BZ4X a safe car?

After being tested by Euro NCAP back in 2022, the BZ4X performed quite well under pressure and ANCAP has since passed on this rating to all Australian-delivered models.

 The BZ4X scored the following ratings:

  • 88% – Adult occupant protection
  • 88% – Child occupant protection
  • 79% – Vulnerable road user protection
  • 93% – Safety assistance

Toyota BZ4X 2024 ANCAP

The following safety features are included as standard on the BZ4X range:

  • Forwards AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Reversing AEB
  • Lane keep assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Reversing camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Seven airbags including a front-centre airbag

The addition of reversing AEB is a big plus for those with young families and while the centre seat doesn’t have ISO points, there is a top-tether point with easy reach. 

Sadly though, safe exit assist (along with blind spot monitoring and a 360-camera) is reserved for the nearly $9000 more expensive AWD model.

In our limited time with the car at launch, the safety assistance technology performed well in practice, which only made itself known when relevant and stayed out of the way when not.

What are the BZ4X’s ownership costs?

How much it will cost to run a BZ4X will depend very much on your personal situations and whether you will charge using expensive public faster chargers or at home overnight, but there are some commonalities.

For starters, Toyota offers it’s quite cheap capped-price $180 per-visit servicing for the first five years and 75,000kms, with intervals of every 12 months or 15,000km.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 driving city

The warranty is five years and unlimited kilometres on the vehicle itself, which can be extended to up to seven years if you continue to get the BZ4X serviced through Toyota dealers.

A separate eight-year, 160,000km-warranty applies to the electric drivetrain including the battery, which is guaranteed to retain up to 70 percent of its usable capacity during that period, however Toyota has said it is aiming for 90 percent retention.

Chasing Cars’ ability to gauge the efficiency of the BZ4X was particularly limited on our first drive and we do plan to do a full range and charging test in order to properly evaluate the real-world performance of Toyota’s first EV against its rivals, but we do have some initial observations.

Toyota bZ4X FWD 2024 rear driving

The official WLTP efficiency claim for the BZ4X is  14.68kWh/100km for the FWD and 15.57kWh/100km for the AWD.

We saw an indicated 21.0kWh/100km in the AWD model when driving from some fairly intense b-roads at higher speeds and 16.7kWh in urban areas using the more efficient FWD model the next day.

It’s notable that the numbers indicated while driving didn’t spike with huge peaks and troughs, so while it may not be the most efficient in the market it may prove to be more stable in its consumption in a variety of conditions.

Toyota bZ4X AWD 2024 charging

This is purely speculation at the moment but the fact the BZ4X is fitted with both a heat and water pump to keep the battery in its ideal temperature range does lend some credibility to this observation.

Once the battery goes flat, the BZ4X has a decent 150kW DC charging speed, which will see the pack topped up from 10 to 80 percent in around 30 minutes. The 11kW AC charging speed is more impressive, with Toyota providing a conservative estimated charging time of seven hours.

The honest verdict on the BZ4X

Like Apple, Toyota has a way of legitimising new trends in the eyes of the most critical of buyers through its conservative but careful approach, which under promises and over delivers by design.

On paper, however, the BZ4X is behind the competition and there are some areas it falls short in our first drive, particularly on the topic of range, which would see the BZ4X fall well short of its stated 411km range claim.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 rear 3/4

Toyota has made no secret of the fact that it believes the BZ4X, and almost any EV for that matter, are not cars for all Australians and this is important to remember. By under promising the BZ4X hasn’t failed to meet its brief when the expectations have been set so low.

It’s likely we will see further modifications and improvements made to the BZ4X within the next one to two years and with a realistic range boost of 20 percent this Toyota would become a more enticing ownership proposition.

But as it stands now, it’s still something I would recommend for those EV-curious buyers out there if you’re happy to pay the price premium over a hybrid.

Toyota BZ4X 2024 off-road group

While it may not move the needle, ask me what EV I’d rather live with long term and the Toyota would sit pretty high on the list; thanks primarily to its no-nonsense approach to cabin usability, well-tuned safety systems and that clever AWD system that makes it more enticing for wannabe weekend adventures like myself.

That being said, I’d steer prospective buyers towards the more affordable $66,000 (before on-road costs) front-driven base model as the jump to AWD is almost $9000.

If you’re interested in AWD, Subaru offers a more affordable but still well-equipped base model Solterra for $69,990. Again, the ‘Toyobaru’ partnership has provided two good flavours of the same vehicle, even if they are a bit harder to differentiate this time around.

Approximate on‑road price Including registration and government charges

Key specs (as tested)

160kW at 0rpm
337Nm at 0rpm
Power to weight ratio
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
0 litres
All Wheel Drive
Single gear
4960 mm
1860 mm
1650 mm
Unoccupied weight
2055 kg

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