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Long-term review

Toyota bZ4X - long-term review

£54,410 / £54,410 as tested / £519pcm
Published: 16 Jan 2024
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    bZ4X Vision

  • Range

    260 miles

  • ENGINE

    1cc

  • BHP

    214.6bhp

  • 0-62

    6.9s

Time to beef up Top Gear's long-term Toyota bZ4X

My name is Tom Ford, and I have a problem. If I have a car for more than a week, I tend to start doing things to it. Usually, I can be dissuaded by a strongly-worded letter from a manufacturer (in the case of Top Gear’s Garage) or a notification from my bank (in the case of my own cars). But now and again, the owner of the car gives me a bit of a pass. And Toyota didn’t wince when I asked if I could do some very light mods to the bZ4x. Which basically means I can do anything, according to The Law. Probably.

So a couple of things. The bZ4x is actually very good at off-road stuff, but it naturally gets a little bit hampered by tyres biased toward efficiency and low rolling resistance - this is a range-obsessed EV world, after all. So instead of 20-inch smooth trainers, there are now a set of chunkier hiking boots. No messing around, just a drop in wheel size and upping the sidewall for a decent compromise tyre.

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So BF Goodrich Trail Terrains in 235/60/R18 replace 235/50/R20 Bridgestone Alenzas for minimum disturbance. No arch rub, and because we haven’t gone very aggressive with the pattern, they’re pretty much as quiet as the OEM fitment. Trail Terrains are ‘severe snow rated’, have decent sipes and toughened up sidewalls to deal with some gravel road/ off road use and are generally a bit tougher - not an max-attack off-road tyre, but much more sturdy for my non-tarmac pottering. Obviously there’s probably some degradation in outright grip on tarmac, but to be honest, I haven’t noticed it at all. Then again, I don’t drive in a very ‘sporty’ fashion. We shall see how they get on.

The 18-inch wheels are from the base ‘Pure’ model of bZ4x (ours is a top-spec Vision grade), but stripped of their aero covers - the idea was to go for a white O.Z or Compomotive rally wheel, but given that Toyota had some issues with wandering wheel bolts on early bZs, Toyota thought it prudent not to poke that particular bear.

Roof bars are on order from Toyota so that I can have a roof-rack, and I’ll probably add a couple of lamps, possibly in that front grille. There may well be some Toyota-ish graphics coming soon, too, and there’s only one place to get those done, so my friends at Mission Motorsport’s livery department have already been assembled. Like The Avengers, but with more vinyl.

Other than that, it’s been pretty much business as usual. The ‘Yota copes with all the commuting and family stuff, and I’ve been hauling through the miles. I still hate the reversing beep. I still like the relatively modest size and space on offer inside, and the relaxed mien. Lower temperatures recently have seen the expected drop in range, but all within what I was expecting at about 2.7/2.8miles per kWh.

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With a 64kWh useable battery, in cold weather, you’re looking at 180-miles of real-world range, a bit more with the HVAC turned off. But let’s face it, the time you really need the heater is in the cold weather, so I hesitate to promote range estimates that have you wearing gloves and hats inside your car. Ideally, I’d be wanting more like 3.5mi/kWh. Still, I base most things on 1.8 miles per 1 per cent of predicted range for this AWD dual motor bZ4x - which seems pretty accurate.

So as it turns out, the mental acrobatics I often end up doing to work out comfy charging stops means that owning an electric car makes you better at maths. Who knew?

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