What is it: 

This is Toyota’s first electric car – jointly developed with Subaru (its version is called the Solterra) – ahead of a fleet of new electric Toyotas from next year. 


The Toyota BZ4X single-motor electric car tested starts from $66,000 before on-road costs.

The Toyota website lists a drive-away price of $71,500 for buyers in NSW. 

Prices in other states vary according to registration and stamp duty.


There are two models available: single motor (front-wheel-drive) and dual motor (all-wheel-drive).

The front-wheel-drive electric motor has a 150kW/266Nm output.

The all-wheel-drive model has two electric motors (one to power the front wheels, the other to power the rear wheels) with a combined output of 160kW/337Nm.


As with most electric vehicles (one exception being the Porsche Taycan which has a two-speed electric motor), the Toyota BZ4X electric motor has one ratio (or gear). Top speed is listed at 160kmh.

Driving range and battery capacity:

The battery pack has a capacity of 71.4kWh (for both the single motor and dual motor). 

Claimed maximum driving range for the single-motor Toyota BZ4X tested is listed at 436km and consumption is estimated at 16.9kWh/100km.

On test we averaged 15.7kWh/100km on a 130km road test loop including a mix of city, suburban, inter-urban and freeway driving, but consumption was higher at other times during the week.

Real-world driving range estimates were closer to 350km to 400km.

0 to 100km/h (as tested):

Toyota claims the BZ4X single-motor motor does the 0 to 100kmh dash in 7.5 seconds (the claim for the AWD model is 6.9 seconds).

On our VBox test equipment, the single-motor Toyota BZ4X recorded repeatable 0 to 100kmh times of 7.7 seconds.

This is brisk for a family car, and on par with other electric commuter cars.

Emergency braking from 100km/h (as tested): 

Outstanding: The Toyota BZ4X pulled up in 37.1 metres despite weighing 1960kg. This is hot-hatch braking performance and at the pointy end of the electric-car class.

Tyres also play a key role in braking. The Toyota BZ4X was equipped with Bridgestone Alenza tyres (235/50/20).

Good points:

When you’re last in, you need to be best-dressed. 

This may come as a shock to many tech heads (it did to me) but this is an exceptional electric car to drive.

I went in with low expectations but it is now apparent why Toyota has taken so long.

It has been sweating the details and perfecting the vehicle before launching it in showrooms.

It has a superb blend of comfort and handling (grip) and feels secure on the road.

The large window area and convex side mirrors provide a good view of the traffic around you.

Being a Toyota, all cabin controls and basic functions are well laid out, simple and intuitive to use.

For example, it has two widescreen digital displays (one for the instrument cluster and one for infotainment, which many rivals have).

However, Toyota still has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, AM and FM etc, and buttons and switches for ease of operation.

Other electric cars (Tesla, MG and others) don’t bother with AM any more and the controls are not as intuitive.

The Toyota BZ4X also has a futuristic interior design and plush materials.

It feels more like a luxury car than a Toyota; this could easily wear a Lexus badge.

It’s roomy inside (it’s larger in most dimensions compared to the Toyota RAV4).

Yet it doesn’t look big, and it is easy to park in small spaces.

To cap it off, it has low fixed-price servicing costs (just like every other Toyota).

Bad points:

The battery recharging speed and real-world driving range are not as good as the industry benchmarks for electric cars.

In “one-pedal” driving mode, unlike other electric cars, the Toyota BZ4X does not come to a complete stop without touching the brake pedal (it slows to 8kmh).

Toyota says it prefers to encourage driver engagement, but we hope the company updates its “one-pedal” driving mode to include a complete stop – in line with rivals – as that feature is part of the appeal of electric vehicles.

As is the case with most electric cars, there is no spare tyre, so you’re calling a tow truck if you get a flat tyre.

Sidenote: I wonder how long it will take the NRMA, RACV, RACQ etc – or a private company – to come up with an emergency spare tyre change service for electric cars.

The logistics would be huge, to stock and carry so many spares, but it would be helpful to electric-car owners.

Also, one other minus that made our list: no rear window wiper. 

What the haters say:

Why has it taken Toyota so long to introduce an electric car?

What the haters don’t understand:

Toyota is a risk-averse company that quadruple-checks every step of the process (and then some), from engineering to manufacturing.

Other brands, particularly emerging Chinese brands and even Tesla to an extent, in my experience release vehicles to market prematurely and let customers do the final validation work.

Indeed, part of the reason Chinese brands have claimed the early ground in the electric-car race is because they have a tendency to cut corners (on advanced safety integration, infotainment systems, and even missing the occasional Australian Design Rule requirement).

Cutting corners and shortening the engineering work means you can sell a car sooner and cheaper.

Toyota sweats the details, and they’ve been unfairly penalised in the court of public opinion for taking their time and following the process.

Should you buy one?

If you’re a Toyota fan, this is the electric car for you.

If you’re not necessarily a Toyota fan and what to cautiously step into the electric-car world, this is a safe bet.

Also consider:

Tesla Model Y, Kia EV5 (when it comes out later this year).