Toyota bZ4X electric crossover gets official specs, available yoke

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After its reveal a few months ago, the Toyota bZ4X electric crossover finally has a comprehensive set of specifications before it goes on sale next year. The futuristic looking EV angular exterior panels and a grille-less front end stretches 184.6 inches from bumper to bumper, 73.2 inches wide, and 64.9 inches tall. For context, that's about three inches longer, almost exactly as wide, and roughly half an inch narrower than the current RAV4, yet the wheelbase is around six inches longer.

The sheet metal hides an architecture called e-TNGA that was developed jointly by Toyota and Subaru. In its standard configuration, the 4,232-pound bZ4X is powered by a single electric motor that zaps the front wheels with 201 horsepower. Optionally, buyers can add an electric motor to the rear axle for through-the-road all-wheel-drive and a 214-horsepower output, with each motor making 107 horses. That doubling the motor count only adds 13 horses underlines this wasn't designed as a sports car; hitting 62 mph from a stop takes 8.4 seconds with one motor and 7.7 with two.

Regardless of motor count, the bZ4X rides on a 71.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack said to deliver about 310 miles of maximum driving range in the front-wheel-drive model and 285 miles in the all-wheel-drive version. Both numbers were obtained on the Japanese testing cycle, and figures for the American-spec model won't be released until after the EPA puts the bZ4X through its paces. In the meantime, Toyota notes that plugging the crossover into a 150-kilowatt charger zaps the battery pack to 80% in about 30 minutes.

Step inside, and the 22nd-century vibe is just as strong. Every variant of the bZ4X gets a digital instrument cluster mounted relatively high in the name of visibility, and some are available with an optional yoke-like steering wheel connected to a steer-by-wire system, which is a first for the Japanese brand. We've somewhat surprisingly already weighed the pros and cons of putting a yoke in a car. Regarding steer-by-wire, Toyota points out that it's a technology that improves steering feel and ensures road and tire vibrations don't make their way to the driver. Our experience with existing steer-by-wire systems says otherwise regarding steering feel, but we'll reserve judgement until we try it. The climate control gets attention, too, with a more efficient heat pump-powered air conditioning system and a radiant foot heater for the front passengers. There's also a touchscreen-based infotainment system that helps the driver find a charging station and that can receive over-the-air software updates.

Toyota will release details about the American-spec version of the bZ4X in November 2021. Looking ahead, the crossover will spawn a Subaru-badged model named Solterra that will look very much like its Toyota-badged sibling. More details about it will be announced soon.

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