The 2023 Toyota bZ4X Is a Tough Sell: Pricing, Range and Performance

May 6, 2022
Toyota bZ4X

When Toyota unveiled the Prius hybrid in August of 2000, green tech and sustainability advocates jumped for joy, while the rest of the world pondered the reliability and durability of a hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain. Toyota proved to the world that it was on to something, and has since gone on to sell more than 15 million hybrid vehicles globally. Over 22 years later, Toyota has launched its first-ever fully-electric vehicle, the 2023 Toyota bZ4X. Has the bZ4X electric crossover been worth the wait? Well, it depends on your driving habits and budget. Here’s what we know.

bZ4X Pricing and Availability

For those who were anticipating an affordable EV from Toyota, I have some bad news. The 2023 bZ4X starts nearly $17,000 above the entry-level RAV4, and $12,000 over the RAV4 XLE Hybrid. The bZ4X is offered in two trims: XLE and Limited.  The front-wheel drive XLE starts at $43,215 with destination. Adding dual-motor all-wheel drive to either trim will tack on $2,080. The Toyota bZ4X Limited with all-wheel drive comes out to $49,995. Of course, these MSRPs are before any dealer markups.

bZ4X Incentives

Although the bZ4X is Toyota’s first fully-electric mass-market vehicle, America’s best-selling brand sold enough Prius and RAV4 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) to approach the sales cap enshrined in the existing federal EV tax credit. In 2022, the federal EV tax credit is worth up to $7,500, depending on your tax liability. Tesla and General Motors electric vehicles no longer qualify for this incentive after the two automakers exceeded their 200,000 sale limit, and completed the phase-out period. 

Analysts (and even Toyota itself) estimate that the bZ4X will remain eligible for the full $7,500 EV tax credit through 2022. Soon after, they expect to hit the 200,000 sale limit, and the one-year phase out period will ensue until the credit disappears entirely. 

State incentives in the form of rebates, tax credits and tax exemptions promote EV adoption in a number of states around the country. Find out if your state offers generous incentives here

Free charging?

Toyota will offer bZ4X owners and lessees one year of free fast charging at EVgo stations.

EVgo is America’s third-largest public charging network behind Tesla and Electrify America. Over 800 DC fast chargers are located around the U.S., with most located on the coasts, Texas and Great Lakes region.

The bZ4X’s Range and Charging Are Already Outdated

2023 bZ4X rear

Before you get too excited about free charging at EVgo, let’s talk charging capabilities. Electric vehicle enthusiasts like myself are puzzled by the outdated charging speeds of the 2023 bZ4X. The front-wheel drive bZ4X is capable of charging at up to 150 kilowatt speeds, which isn’t bad (if the charging curve can sustain that). However, the more powerful and likely more popular all-wheel drive bZ4X is only capable of charging at 100 kilowatts. Why the difference? Battery supply shortages forced Toyota to source the batteries for these two powertrain variants from two different suppliers. And with these charging speeds, it almost seems like Toyota was scraping the bottom of the global battery barrel. 

The bZ4X’s charge times are wild, and not in a good way. A recent charging test by Kyle Conner of Out of Spec Reviews found that it took 58 minutes (an hour!!!!!) for the AWD bZ4X to charge from 10% to 80%. That’s NOT normal for an EV in 2022. For comparison, my very own Hyundai IONIQ 5 accomplishes the same feat in 20 minutes, and Tesla’s can do that in 15 minutes. Over 80% of EV charging is done at home overnight, but if you’re a frequent traveler, be very wary of the bZ4X’s charging faults. 

Range

The 2023 bZ4X’s range is merely okay. It would not be NEARLY as big of an issue if it could charge faster. The front-wheel drive bZ4X is rated for 242 miles with the Limited trim, and 252 miles on the XLE. Upgrade to dual-motor all-wheel drive, and range suffers. The AWD Toyota bZ4X is EPA-rated for 222 miles on the Limited, and 228 miles with lower trims. 

Can Performance and Features Redeem Toyota’s First EV?

2023 bZ4X interior

The bZ4X comes standard with a panoramic glass roof (impressive…), adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and Safe Exit Assist. The Limited’s additional features include a motion-activated power liftgate, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, an upgraded camera, 20-inch rims and faux-leather upholstery. Does that make it worth the hours you’ll spend charging? I’m not so sure.

Toyota’s first fully-electric vehicle is sharp looking and loaded with safety features, but range, charging capabilities and price point leave a lot to be desired. I know more than a few Toyota fans who are disappointed by the bZ4X’s specs. Will this EV turn out to be a winner for Toyota? Time will tell. 

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