Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
So far, we've driven the Toyota bZ4X in its most powerful form, the 214bhp twin-motor, four-wheel-drive (AWD) range-topper. With an official 0-62mph time of 6.9sec, it doesn’t deliver the neck-snapping acceleration of the Kia EV6 AWD and Tesla Model Y Long Range, but feels brisk enough off the line.
The easygoing power delivery encourages you to drive the bZ4X in a more relaxed manner, which suits its personality down to the ground. The suspension is noticeably softer than on the Model Y and even the mild-mannered EV6, giving it a more pliant and supple ride.
The bZ4X's standard steering feels naturally weighted and progressive. It will also be available with a ‘steer-by-wire’ system, which supposedly gives you full lock with just a 150-degree turn of the accompanying (and yet to be signed off) Tesla-inspired ‘yoke’ steering wheel.
We should point out at this point that our Press car was described by Toyota as being a ‘hand-made’ pre-production prototype and not fully representative of the cars we will get in the UK.
Truth be told, though, aside from a bit of buffeting generated by the side mirrors and a whistle from the panoramic sunroof, the cars – dynamically at least – felt very close to being production ready. This was especially the case when it came to sampling the various off-road systems.
Yes, you read that correctly – off-road systems. The bZ4X might look like the very definition of a ‘soft-roader’, but it benefits from a version of Subaru’s X-Mode terrain control system, which allows it to overcome deep snow, mud and other obstacles.
We tested these systems, including the bZ4X’s Jeep Renegade beating 500mm wading depth, on a challenging off-road course. The way the four-wheel-drive system manages to find grip in the muckiest of situations is truly impressive, with the two-motor drivetrain sensing slip and metering out power to each wheel as needed.
Ground clearance over particularly severe obstacles is more of a limitation when things get really rough, we can confidently say that you’re not going to get stuck in your local National Trust car park anytime soon.
So what about the electric range? Well, the provisional ranges of more than 280 miles for the FWD cars and more than 255 miles for AWD model would have been seriously impressive not long ago.