TEST: Toyota bZ4X – a safe choice – Test drives

Premium After much hesitation, Toyota finally has its first electric car ready on the new electric car platform. The strange name bZ4X has its explanation, but think of a completely electric version of the famous SUV RAV4 and you are very right. Does Toyota’s new have what it takes?

WHAT IS NEW? Almost the whole car! Almost? Yes, because the new platform for electric cars that bZ4X is based on, called eTNGA, in turn has things in common with the internal combustion engine platform TNGA, there are components from, for example, RAV4 in Toyota’s new electric car.

The term “Beyond Zero” in Toyota’s world is about emission-free cars and explains the first two characters in the model name. The number four shows that it is a medium-sized car and “X” that it is a crossover / SUV.

This makes it a little easier to guess the name of future smaller and larger front- or four-wheel-drive variants that will be created from eTNGA.

At the bottom is a 71.4 kilowatt-hour battery that helps to stiffen the construction. In some markets, it is charged at least initially with only single-phase (6.6 kW), but Swedish customers can be reassured that our bZ4X gets three-phase (11 kW) directly.

For DC fast charging, the power applies to 150 kW for all European cars, two- and four-wheel drive. So as the average level in the class – right now.

The two-wheel drive model is front-wheel drive and Toyota has used the technology from the plug-in hybrid version of the RAV4 here, as 204 horsepower and 266 newton meters in the bZ4X’s front electric motor are similar to the numbers in the RAV4.

If you choose the AWD version instead, you get a completely new motor at the rear where the electric motor, inverter and transaxle fit in the same compact unit to save space. It is 109 horsepower and suddenly the exact same thing applies in the AWD, which gives a total effect of 218 horsepower.

Square steering wheel and steer-by-wire will come in 2023. Heat-radiating plates on the underside of the panel may also come.

Toyota is thus doing something that is so far almost unique among electric cars; If the customer chooses four-wheel drive, it is increased passability that is added, not increased performance (largely). The price increase also stays at a moderate SEK 31,000. That supplement, the ID.4 GTX (+ SEK 65,000) cannot match financially – but the Enyaq iV 80X (+ SEK 23,400) can.

The four-wheel drive is probably used by most SUVs today mostly in the form of better traction in winter, but that Toyota takes the matter quite seriously and has given the bZ4X clearly useful off-road properties, I will soon be aware of in a special technology track.

According to information, the genius tubers have been rubbed together with Subaru’s experts. They have four-wheel drive in the genes and since they have been involved in developing their version – Solterra – in parallel, the bar for both of these siblings has probably been set a little higher than otherwise, especially for the bZ4X.

Heat pump is standard but when I ask if the bZ4X can preheat the battery before charging with a button or via the navigator, Toyota answers the following:

“No, not at the moment. We know this is a requested feature and we are exploring the possibilities of integrating it. All hardware is available and it is a matter of software. May be introduced.”

To the right of the gear selector, there are some settings to use when driving in terrain and on slopes.

HOW IS IT TO DRIVE? The central parts of Copenhagen have at least as many joints, repairs and small bumps as Sweden’s capital, but the McPhearson legs at the front and the double triangle links at the back solve the task quite well. A slightly larger bump is handled really softly considering that it is normal, passive shock absorbers that solve the task.

The sound level is pleasantly low and in the soft-padded, electrically adjustable front seat, I enjoy a total comfort that is not far behind the best. Toyota, which from time to time is not shy about experimenting with its driver environments, makes “a Peugeot” here. That is, you have a slightly smaller and fatter steering wheel (nice!) With the instrument cluster visible above, instead of through, the steering wheel. Personally, I had no problems with the arrangement.

The steering is quite sluggish, but somehow inspires confidence and contributes to the feeling of a large, safe SUV. The driving feel is quite similar to that of a VW ID.4 – which is smaller, but weighs significantly more than the Japanese. Toyota’s information on weight saving here and there may be correct.

The volume of 452 liters (441 with subwoofer) is nothing to brag about in the class and the load floor does not seem to be flat when folded. But both privacy protection and charging cables can in any case be hidden in the floor.

Power, electric motor front, hp 204 109
Power, electric motor rear, hp 109
Systemeffekt, hk/Nm 204/266 218/337
0-100 km/h, sek 7,5 6,9
Consumption kWh / 100 km (Sweden) 14,5-16,7 16,0-18,0
Range, km (Sweden) 442-511 415-466
Service weight, kg 1 895 1 985
Basic prices (before bonus), SEK
Active 557 900 588 900
Style 591 900 622 900
Executive 628 900 659 900
Easy private leasing, kr *
Active 5 995 6 195
Style 5 995 6 195
Executive 6 395 6 595

* The monthly cost with an expected climate bonus of SEK 50,000 instead of the current SEK 70,000.
Mileage 1,500 miles.

Free upgrade from Active to Style when leasing. Six months free access to the charging network Toyota
Charging Network in collaboration with DCS to find public charging stations (private leasing only).

The space in the front is enough even though the center console is wide. The legroom in the back seat is very good, but as so often you sit too low for the thigh support to be sufficient, even if the cushion is long.

NERD FACTS. The wading test track built for the purpose is unfortunately not in operation, but the fact is that the bZ4X must withstand a water depth of 50 centimeters. The battery is encapsulated and an aluminum cover covers the battery when driving off-road.

The four-wheel drive system X-Mode offers adjustable levels depending on the grip and in addition to the usual automatic speed control down mountain slopes also the corresponding, adjustable function uphill. When four-wheel drive is not needed in the AWD model, the car becomes front-wheel drive.

A little later it is possible to get solar cells in the roof – and thus some free electricity.

SHOULD I BUY ONE? Why not? Toyota bZ4X shows absolutely no class-breaking figures regarding either charging power, range or performance – but mostly okay ones.

Along with the brand’s high reliability, I would be surprised if not quite a few become curious. Especially considering how much a lot of new electric cars have messed up. bZ4X is admittedly brand new, but Toyota has already built electrified cars for 25 years …

Given the equipment levels, prices are competitive compared to the previously mentioned competitors. This apparently also applies to private leasing prices. Right now it costs only SEK 200 extra a month with four-wheel drive and nothing at all to get the intermediate level of equipment.

Mr. Daisuke certifies that the battery has been properly tested. Equivalent to one charge every other day for ten years!

“Everyone should feel comfortable with the car”

Interview with Chief Engineer Daisuke Ido

Many other manufacturers also offer a significant power increase when they add an engine and create four-wheel drive. But do you think differently?
Daisuke Ido: – Our goal is different as we do not aim for “performance” with bZ4X. It has the environment in focus and we have a large target group where everyone should feel comfortable with the car. We have the same strategy as with RAV4.

You have a single pedal position, but while the car decelerates all the way down to zero, you, like some others, have chosen to have to brake manually at the end. Can you say something about the election there?
– We wanted to maintain “creep mode”, ie that you should brake / keep the car still with the brake pedal as usual. Nor can we guarantee that the car will make a full deceleration with energy recovery if it should now be needed. This is simply the policy we have chosen.

Toyota bZ4X has no frunk?
– Many ask about this. When the project started in 2018, almost no competitor had frunk. But, oh, two years later, it looked completely different on the market! We could have chosen another solution because we have some space over there up front. It might come …

I saw an Eco driving mode, but no sports mode. Did you consider one?
– We do not think it is needed in bZ4X. But we will build completely different – including sportier – electric cars on this platform and some of these may well get a sports mode.

Source: Senaste nytt från auto motor & sport by www.mestmotor.se.

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