New Toyota bZ4X vs Ford Mustang Mach-E vs Kia EV6: interiors

Toyota has long been at the vanguard of hybrid technology, but the bZ4X is its first modern electric car. How does it compare with two of the most exciting alternatives?...

New Toyota bZ4X dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Is the Kia EV6 an SUV or just a regular hatchback? It’s a fair question with no right or wrong answer. Because while you sit farther from the road than you would in a BMW i4 or Tesla Model 3, the other SUVs in this test have higher driving positions. That’s not necessarily a good or a bad thing – just something to bear in mind if you have a particular preference.

What we can say is that you’re unlikely to have any major issues getting comfortable behind the wheel of the EV6 or the Ford Mustang Mach-E, or seeing the digital instrument panels behind. The Toyota bZ4X’s driving position is less universally agreeable. You’re supposed to view the instruments over (rather than through) the steering wheel, and that’s fine if you’re tall or long in the body. If you aren’t, you might find the rim of the wheel gets in the way. Some drivers might also find that there’s not enough reach adjustment in the steering wheel.

Ford Mustang Mach-E dashboard

Although adjusting the steering wheel is a manual job in all three cars, the EV6 and bZ4X get full electric seat adjustment. In the Mach-E, you have to shift the seat around using only the power in your legs and biceps; you might expect a touch more luxury for your near-£50k outlay. You certainly get a dose of luxury in the EV6, because when you’re parked up, you can press a button to transform the seat into a business class-style bed – useful if you ever fancy a snooze while waiting for your car to charge.

There are no major visibility faux pas in any of our contenders, although the Mach-E’s front pillars are fairly chunky and, like the majority of modern cars, your view over your shoulder could be better in all of them. All three come with front and rear parking sensors to help with manoeuvring, plus a rear-view camera in the case of the EV6 and Mach-E and a full 360-degree surround view monitor in the bZ4X.

Kia EV6 dashboard

There isn’t a great deal in it for interior quality. The EV6 has a few more upmarket finishes on show than the bZ4X, but the latter still has a pleasing mix of soft-touch plastics. Most panels and fixtures feel well screwed together, too – albeit not quite as well as in a BMW or Volvo. The Mach-E also feels pretty solid inside, and there’s plenty of soft-touch plastic, along with attractive fabric inserts on the dashboard. However, the low-rent switches on the steering wheel would be somewhat disappointing in a £20k Ford Fiesta, let alone an expensive electric SUV. And while we’re on the steering wheel, the material covering its rim feels unpleasantly rubbery.

Infotainment systems

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Ford Mustang Mach-E infotainment

The Mach-E’s touchscreen is truly massive, at 15.5in, but thanks to its portrait orientation, you can easily reach all parts of it. The icons are large enough to hit with confidence while driving and the screen responds very quickly to inputs, although certain sub-menus can be tricky to find. Setting the charge limit, for example, involves a number of steps that aren’t intuitive, such as having to register a new charge location every time you use a different charger.

Kia EV6

Kia EV6 infotainment

The EV6 has the slickest system of the trio, with a curved 12.3in touchscreen that’s positioned high on the dashboard, where it’s easy to see and reach. Responses are rapid and the menus easy to navigate; the only issue we had with it was that Apple CarPlay dropped out on a couple of trips. The standard audio system sounds clearer than the Mach-E’s, but it’s a shame you can’t upgrade to the superb 14-speaker Meridian system that comes with top-spec GT-Line S trim.

Toyota bZ4X

New Toyota bZ4X infotainment

As in the EV6, the bZ4X’s screen is mounted high up on the dashboard, making it easier to read on the move, but it’s not quite as quick to respond to inputs as Kia’s system and its sub-menus aren’t the most logically laid out; it takes quite a bit of searching to find the charging settings, for example. We also struggled to get Apple CarPlay to boot up on one of our test cars, although it worked flawlessly on the other, so we’re hoping that this was an isolated incident.

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