June 24, 2024

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Toyota bZ4X LE FWD 2023-2024 — Review, Driving | Automotive News

Toyota bZ4X LE FWD 2023-2024 — Review, Driving |  Automotive News

• Auto123 tests the Toyota bZ4X in winter conditions.

We tested the LE front-wheel drive version of the Toyota bZ4X, which is the entry-level one and costs $53,025. Our aim was to test the performance of this base model in winter conditions, especially since it's a front-wheel drive proposition and we were interested to see how it performed on snow and ice.

In choosing a base model, we also want to assess value for money to understand if any compromises are necessary. In other words, do the standard features and equipment meet the expectations of budget-conscious consumers?

Finally, reduced range with colder temperatures is a key factor for any electric vehicle. Trying out this build is the perfect opportunity to measure effectiveness in real-world conditions, compiling valuable data on the bZ4X's power efficiency and battery management.

The bZ4X is also available in all-wheel drive configuration (XLE and XLE Technology).

Bear in mind that the model returns for 2024 unchanged, apart from a few details – meaning our test conducted with the 2023 version applies just as well to this year's model.

WATCH: First test of the Toyota bZ4X: A return to Toyota

See: Toyota in 2024: All models and changes

Technical sheet for 2024 Toyota bZ4X LE FWD

Photo: K. Soltani

2023-2024 Toyota bZ4X in profile

First impressions: Electric winter
As the mercury drops, we imagine our electronic steed shaking slightly in the wind. bZ4X is no exception. Autonomy flirted with temperatures as welcoming as a freezer by the 250 km mark. We quickly learned that winter is not electrons' best friend. In the summer, during the test with the same version, the autonomy displayed is about 360 km.

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Rolling Lounge
After testing both models, we were pleasantly surprised by the comfort and materials of the basic version. Between the heated fabric seats that comfortingly welcome us and the two-stage heated steering wheel that magically warms our numb faces, we almost thought we were in a fully equipped Lexus model. Both of these options (automatic heating) are not found in many luxury vehicles priced above $80,000.

Control and flexibility on ice
On a typical winter's day, where many seek warm shelter, after a generous snowfall, we braved the cold to test drive our Toyota bZ4X. Testing different driving modes is of interest, especially in the case that most electric vehicles offer propulsion or all-wheel drive. Our front-wheel drive model promises a unique experience.

Photo: K. Soltani

2023-2024 Toyota bZ4X, rear three quarters

With the snow mode activated, the bZ4X displayed incredible enthusiasm, clinging to the road with great confidence. But, eager for innovation, Toyota's regeneration system caught our attention. While this won't bring you to a complete stop, it's a significant advantage for modulating your speed in traffic without constantly using the brake pedal, making deceleration much easier. Unfortunately, using Snow Mode disables this feature.

Keen to combine the two, we opted for Eco Mode + Regenerative Braking instead to see its effect when driving in snow. And what a discovery! Improved control to adapt to the snow road ensuring the flexibility and adaptability of the vehicle to these conditions. Of course, this is a personal preference, but it does highlight the importance of personalizing the driving experience and testing your vehicle in a situational and safe manner.

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Reproductive braking?
Remember that Toyota's regenerative braking system is designed to slow the vehicle without requiring active pressure on the brake pedal, known as “one-pedal driving.” Indeed, as soon as the driver takes his foot off the accelerator, the vehicle's electric motor plays the role of a generator, converting the kinetic energy generated by the vehicle's movement into electricity, which is then stored in the battery. This exchange produces resistance that helps slow down the vehicle.

This deceleration mechanism, which is more subtle when compared to traditional braking, ensures a smooth deceleration that is particularly beneficial on slippery surfaces.

It should be noted that not all regenerative braking modes of different brands of electric vehicles react the same especially on snow or icy roads. Experimentation and understanding your electric vehicle's reactions are critical to safe, winter-friendly driving.

Photo: K. Soltani

2023-2024 Toyota bZ4X, rear

The last word
The front-wheel drive Toyota bZ4X LE has proven to be an efficient and reliable safety vehicle, but its range quickly runs out of steam. With a comfortable interior layout and Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 safety suite offering some interesting automated and connected options, this electric SUV is not short of benefits.

The only problem is the lack of autonomy in the winter when compared to the competition and the suspension. Be it winter or summer, such a vehicle from a brand like Toyota should lead the way and offer even better autonomy.

Competitors of the Toyota bZ4X

  • – Ford Mustang Mac-E
  • – Honda Prologue
  • -Hyundai Ioniq 5
  • -Kia EV6
  • -Nissan Aria
  • -Subaru Solterra
  • -Tesla Model Y
  • -Volkswagen ID.4
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