2023 Toyota bZ4X XLE Review

A respectable first attempt

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: An almost everyman EV that's practical, solid tech set, roomy and easy interior, decently quick acceleration.
Negatives: Weird looking inside and out, regen brakes lack one-pedal driving, ergonomically less than great, range and efficiency fall short of the mark.
Bottom Line: The bZ4X isn't the most attractive, most engaging, or the most efficient EV crossover, but it's practical and decently spacious. We just wish it didn't look so odd.
Toyota's first dedicated EV that's not based on another vehicle. The RAV4 EV was based on the gas model. The bZ4X is aimed towards the mainstream EV set and is priced more reasonably than the Tesla Model Y. More affordable, it joins the ranks of the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, the Ford Mustang Mach E, the Hyundai Kona Electric, and the Kia Niro EV. Like previous Toyota/Subaru partnerships, the bZ4X shares components and design with the Subaru Solterra. The Toyota comes in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations, while the Subaru is AWD only. We drove the XLE trimmed bZ4X for a week to experience the brand's first dedicated EV. Read on for our full review.

Driving Experience



As EVs go, the AWD version of the bZ4X is decent to drive but not exactly entertaining. A mere 215 horsepower isn't enough for real thrills, but at least that off-the-line EV torque is present. The bZ4X is what we'd call comfortable and competent, but don't look for thrills behind the wheel.

Ride Quality: The ride isn't overly cushy, but it's compliant over uneven road surfaces without any drama. The car feels solid and reassuring.

Acceleration: A 0-to-60 sprint in the mid-sixes isn't especially quick for an EV. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 will do it in the mid-5s. Off the line, it feels quicker than it is.

Braking: The bZ4X's regen brakes could be much better. There's not much feel to them, and they're not aggressive enough to provide one pedal driving.

Steering: Steering is numb, but there is some mild effort to it. Turn-in could be quicker.

Handling: Body control isn't bad, but it's not a car you want to hurtle into a turn. There's not much oversteer thanks to the all-wheel drive.




The bZ4X has the same vivid display as new Lexus models. The large screen is attractive and well-suited for this high-tech vehicle. The bZ4X also gets a large digital instrument cluster, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's excellent cloud-based navigation, on-board Wi-Fi, and wireless smartphone charging.

Infotainment System: The large 12.3-inch screen is crisp and very legible. It's high time Toyota did something like this because it finally looks and works well.

Controls: We always prefer physical buttons and knobs over touch controls, but at least the bZ4X's are well laid out. The shift knob works well, and the corresponding controls for the parking brake, height adjustment, auto hold, etc. are, ironically, physical buttons.




The exterior is a lot to take, mostly because of the use of black mated with the body paint, as well as the overdone creases and overstyled back end. It certainly looks like a modern EV, but it's just not all that attractive.

Front: The front is a big slab of plastic and not much else. The slim faux grille is amorphous, and the headlights look cheap. The gaping lower grille doesn't help matters.

Rear: There's a lot going in the back. the overdone taillights have brackets that creep into the rear quarter panels. The faux roof spoiler looks weird like capped eyebrows.

Profile: The side view is just overly busy with numerous body creases and angled black fender trim that seems out of place.

Cabin: The modern cabin has some interesting textures like grid-patterened cloth dash trim. The huge expanse glossy plastic with an underlayment of the same grid pattern. The weirdest aspect might just be long steering column that goes straight into the digital instrument panel.




The bZ4X's cabin is airy land large. For the most part, it's very easy to use, and the overall experience is very good. There are some questionable ergonomics, but it's far easier to use than the Volkswagen ID.4 we drove recently.

Front Seats: The cloth seat texture is interesting but not off-putting, and the seats are decently cushioned. They could use more bolstering.

Rear Seats: There's a ton of legroom thanks to the flat floor, and the seats are comfortable. Even the middle position isn't bad because of the lack of a bulge in the seat back.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Aside from the EV whir, there's not much noise to speak of. Wind noise is also kept at bay.

Visibility: Aside from the raked and thick D-pillar, the bZ4X has excellent visibility.

Climate: We would've liked vents higher on the dash, but the climate control system works very well.




The bZ4X has yet to be crash tested by either testing body, but it does come with a great set of standard safety tech that puts it at the top of the heap for EV SUVs.

IIHS Rating: Not tested.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: The bZ4X comes with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 that includes great features such as Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Automatic High Beams, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Road Sign Assist; Blind Spot Monitor w/ Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Safe Exit Assist, and Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automatic Braking.

Optional Tech: None.




The modern styling of the cabin actually provides a couple of big and deep cubbies for small gear, and the back of the bZ4X is pretty good for luggage.

Storage Space: The bZ4X gets a retractable door cubby and a deep armest to keep items out of sight. Door pockets are decently sized, as well.

Cargo Room: There's 27.7 cubic feet behind row two and an undisclosed additional amount with the rear seats folded flat. The load floor is a decent height, and it's also nice and flat.

Fuel Economy



Our tester came with a 65.5-kWh for the dual-motors. The EPA range estimates are 222/228 miles. We didn't drive it to empty, but it seemed like the miles were dropping faster than they should've. After five days and about 115 of driving off a full charge in combined conditions, we only had about 40 miles remaining. The lack of efficiency in the true EV sense is disappointing. On the plus side, buyers get a year of free charging at EVgo locations.

Observed: The bZ4X also gets 131 MPGe in the city and up to 107 MPGe on the highway, but we got a mere 83 MPGe total.

Distance Driven: 115 miles.




The stock 6-speaker audio system works fine in the XLE, but it's nothing especially dynamic for the sound experience. There was no distortion, but the bass was largely absent.

Final Thoughts

As much as we disliked the VW ID.4, the bZ4X is less interesting. The polarizing styling doesn't really work for us, and it comes across as Toyota trying to hard to be different. At least the interior is comfortable and roomy, but there's just too much grey plastic for our liking. Perhaps the worst part is the disappointing efficiency and range.
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