Toyota bZ4X long-term test: report 7

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 going into corner

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 2720 List price £51,950 Target Price £49,008 Price as tested £56,125 Test range 173 miles Official range 259 miles  

4 March 2024 – A clean brake

Virtually all electric cars have regenerative braking systems that actively slow the car down when you lift off the accelerator pedal, while directing otherwise wasted energy back into the battery to help eke out range. Some, though, allow you to adjust the strength of the regen through several levels, while in others you simply have it on or off. My Toyota bZ4X falls into the latter camp. This isn’t a letdown, though, because its system – like so many dynamic aspects of this car – is very well judged.

Toyota bZ4X slowing for junction

While the regenerative effect isn’t strong enough to bring the bZ4X to a complete halt without pressing the brake pedal, it’s still very effective at allowing me to control the car’s speed around town, from the prevailing limit right down to crawling speed, simply by easing on and off the accelerator.

Unlike the system in the rival Smart #1, the bZ4X’s is slick, unobtrusive and lag-free, making this an exceptionally easy car to drive smoothly. And even when I have to use the regular brakes, the bZ4X’s are far more consistent and natural feeling than those of many other EVs I’ve driven.

Toyota bZ4X regen button

The button to activate the regenerative braking is conveniently located on the console beside my left knee, so hitting it just as I set off anywhere has become second nature. The effect isn’t available temporarily if I charge the battery to 100% (because there’s nowhere for the harvested energy to go until the level has dropped by 5% or so), so I’ve adjusted the charging limit to 90% for top-ups at home, unless I'm planning a longer trip. That way, I’m never without the braking benefits of the regeneration.

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