Toyota bZ4X long-term test: report 6

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 using infotainment

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 2490 List price £51,950 Target Price £49,008 Price as tested £56,125 Test range 180 miles Official range 259 miles  

12 February 2024 – That's infotainment

Unlike a lot of people, I don’t make great demands of my car’s infotainment system. I often drive with the audio system turned off (all the better to enjoy the relative hush of an electric car) and use phone integration only sporadically; as long as the built-in sat-nav is reasonably easy to programme destinations into (which it is in my Toyota bZ4X) and gets me where I want to go (which it does), that’s all I really care about.

Toyota bZ4X frustrating infotainment

However, I still have to delve into the system’s menus sometimes if I need to change a setting, and that’s when it becomes apparent that the bZ4X’s system isn’t particularly user-friendly or logically laid out.

There’s a row of small shortcut icons down the right-hand side of the touchscreen for the sat-nav, audio, phone, vehicle, internet/notifications and settings. The ‘vehicle’ menu contains almost nothing of use – just a couple of information pages. To adjust the charging limit, for example, I have to go to ‘settings’, then scroll down to ‘vehicle customise’ and then to the charging menu; in other words, it’s considerably more buried that anything to do with charging should be.

Toyota bZ4X infotainment menu

Annoyingly, most of the menus are stacked down the left-hand side of the screen, so reaching them is a stretch from the driver’s seat. Likewise, when the sat-nav is in use, key readouts for the likes of remaining distance and time of arrival are tiny and located in the top left corner of the map, where they’re difficult to read. 

Another grumble is to do with the wireless phone charging tray between the front seats. Unusually deep and with a pop-up lid, it works just fine if all I want to do is top up my phone’s battery, but using Android Auto is another story.

Toyota bZ4X charging tray

In the bZ4X, Android Auto requires a wired connection, and the only USB port that can be used (that I can find) is inside the charging tray. With my very normal-sized phone plugged in, it won’t fit in the tray; I have to leave the lid open and have the device poking out awkwardly. A shallower tray without a lid would be much more convenient for those of us with Android phones – which is about half of the phone market.

None of this is detracting from my overall enjoyment of the car, but that might not be the case for anyone who relies on their car’s infotainment functions more than I do.

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