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Henry Payne: Smooth, comfy bZ4X is an EV for the Toyota faithful

Henry Payne, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

Ergonomic tics aside, the cabin is as comfortable as your sun porch.

Letting the sunshine in is a premium panoramic roof, a standard item that Tesla made a signature of the SUV class. Under the glass dome is a palatial rear-seat couch with Land Cruiser-like 47.1 inches of legroom — 10 more inches than a RAV4. My giraffe legs loved it, and they dig the heated rear seat option, too. Not to be left out, front passengers get heated/cooled seats — and a special space heater (like your sun porch in the winter) where the glove compartment used to be.

That’s right, bZ4X nixes the glove compartment — innovating on the passenger side just as it does the driver dash.

Expect more such breakthroughs as interior designers recognize the benefits of EVs that no longer have driveline tunnels through the middle of the cabin. BZ4X ditches the glove compartment because it has a bottomless center console into which you can drop air gauges, insurance cards — it’s so deep Toyota offers a top bin so you can segment it. Under the electronic shifter is more space for your purse, tissue box and small dog (I hear they’re all the rage these days).

The emphasis on space does not extend to a frunk, which is another Tesla-pioneered feature (for those counting, that’s liquid torque, OTA, pano roof, big screen, frunk) that Ford has embraced with the Mach-E and Lightning pickup. Mach-E was hell-bent on creating a Tesla clone to steal away Model 3/Y buyers. Toyota? Not so much. They’re content to make an approachable EV for brand loyalists.

They’ll give it a big tree-hugger hug.

 

2023 Toyota bZ4X

Vehicle type: Battery-powered, front- and all-wheel-drive four-door SUV

Price: $43,215, including $1,215 destination charge ($49,970 Limited FWD and $52,050 Limited AWD as tested)

Powerplant: 71.4/72.8 kWh lithium-ion battery driving single/twin electric motors

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