Toyota bZ4X long-term test: report 4

Toyota has long been at the vanguard of hybrid technology, but the bZ4X is its first modern electric car. We're seeing what it's like to live with...

Toyota bZ4X loading e-bike

The car Toyota bZ4X AWD Vision Run by Allan Muir, managing editor

Why we’re running it To see whether this all-new electric SUV has what it takes to justify choosing it over established rivals

Needs to Be practical, comfortable and good to drive in everyday use, and deliver a long enough range to make light work of motorway journeys

Mileage 1735 List price £54,950 Target Price £51,835 Price as tested £56,125 Test range 175 miles Official range 259 miles  

9 January 2024 – e-bike meets e-car

One of the benefits of owning a folding e-bike is that whenever I decide to head for the hills for a few hours of trail riding, loading it into the boot of a car is easier than with the conventional hybrid bike I had previously. Well, that’s the theory. In practice, even when it’s folded, my e-bike is still a relatively hefty, unwieldy lump to lift and carry. Fortunately, my Toyota bZ4X’s boot is well suited to the task of accommodating cargo like this.

Toyota bZ4X with bike

Even when my hands are full, the electric tailgate can be opened simply by waggling my foot under the rear bumper. As long as I’ve got the keyfob in my pocket (as opposed to inside the car, where it’s outside the detection zone), this is proving to be a reliable and convenient way of gaining access to the boot.

The load bay itself is wider and deeper than that of the Kia EV6 I ran a couple of years ago and seems able to swallow large objects more readily. Although the boot floor isn’t height adjustable, it’s reasonably low by SUV standards, and there’s almost no drop down to it from the boot entrance, so you can slide heavy objects in rather than having to heave them over a lip. My folded e-bike goes in easily enough, without me having to lower the rear seatbacks or remove the retractable parcel shelf.

Toyota bZ4X bike in boot

My decision to add the £210 Essential Protection Pack to my car is paying off, too. The sturdy rubber boot liner that’s part of this pack means I can dispense with my usual bike-carrying practice of spreading out blankets in an effort to protect the carpet, and the plastics around the sides of the boot seem pretty durable.

Meanwhile, I discovered recently that the opening height of my car’s tailgate can be adjusted – and through a surprisingly wide range. This makes sense, when you think about it, bringing the tailgate within easy reach for shorter people, or high enough to avoid cracked foreheads for six-footers. 

Toyota bZ4X adjusting tailgate

Perhaps this is something that all cars with electric tailgates can do, but I only figured it out when I discovered that my car’s tailgate was opening much lower than usual – probably having been reset accidentally either by me or a colleague to whom I’d lent the car. A little research revealed that holding down the close button on the tailgate through a series of beeps would reinstate the default setting. And so it proved.

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