Toyota bZ4X LE (traction) 2023-2024: a rather convincing winter test

• Auto123 tests the Toyota bZ4X in winter conditions.

We tested the LE front-wheel drive version of the Toyota bZ4X, the entry-level one and priced at $53,025. Our goal was to test the performance of this base model in a winter environment, particularly because it is a front-wheel drive proposition and we were curious to see how it performed on snow and on ice.

In opting for the base model, we also wanted to evaluate the 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 critical aspect for any electric vehicle. Trying out this build was the perfect opportunity to measure the impact under real-world conditions, compiling valuable data on the bZ4X’s power efficiency and battery management.

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

Note that the model returns unchanged for 2024, apart from a few details – which means that our test, carried out with a 2023 version, applies just as much to this year’s model.

See: First test of the Toyota bZ4X: a return to the Toyota

See: Toyota in 2024: all the models and changes

Technical sheet for the 2024 Toyota bZ4X LE FWD

First impressions: an electric winter
When the mercury plunges, we expected our electronic steed to shiver a little in the breeze. The bZ4X was no exception. The autonomy flirted timidly with the 250 km mark with temperatures as welcoming as those of a freezer. We quickly understood that winter is not electrons’ best friend. In summer, during a test with the same version, the autonomy displayed was around 360 km.

A rolling lounge
After testing two models, we were amazed by the comfort and equipment of the basic version. Between the heated fabric seats that welcome us in a comforting way and the two-level heated steering wheel that activates itself, as if by magic, to warm our numb faces, we almost thought we were in a fully equipped Lexus model. These two options (automatic heating) are not found in many luxury vehicles priced over $80,000.

Control and flexibility on the snow
On a typical winter day, where most seek warm shelter, we chose to brave the cold to put our Toyota bZ4X to the test, just after a generous snowfall. The interest was to test the different driving modes, particularly in a context where the majority of electric vehicles offer propulsion or all-wheel drive. Our front-wheel drive model promised a distinct experience.

The 2023-2024 Toyota bZ4X, three-quarter rearThe 2023-2024 Toyota bZ4X, three-quarter rear

With Snow mode activated, the bZ4X demonstrated appreciable zeal, clinging to the road with great confidence. But, eager for discoveries, it was Toyota’s regenerative system that caught our attention. Although it does not bring you to a complete stop, it greatly facilitates deceleration, a significant advantage for modulating your speed in traffic, without constantly using the brake pedal. Unfortunately, using Snow mode disables this feature.

Curious to combine the two, we instead opted for Eco mode + regenerative braking, in order to see its impact when driving in the snow. And what a discovery! Improved control, in harmony with the snowy road which confirms the flexibility and adaptability of the vehicle to these conditions. Of course, this is a personal preference, but it highlights the importance of personalizing the driving experience and testing your vehicle according to the situations and in a safe manner.

Regenerative braking?
Remember that Toyota’s regenerative braking system is designed to slow the vehicle without requiring active pressure on the brake pedal, adopting what is called “one-pedal driving.” Indeed, as soon as the driver removes his foot from the accelerator, the vehicle’s electric motor takes on the role of generator, thus transforming the kinetic energy, generated by the movement of the vehicle, into electricity which is subsequently stored in the battery. This conversion generates resistance which contributes to slowing down the vehicle.

This way of decelerating, which is more subtle when compared to traditional braking, ensures smooth deceleration that is particularly advantageous on slippery surfaces.

It should be noted that not all regenerative braking modes of different brands of electric vehicles react identically, especially on snowy or icy roads. Experimentation and familiarity with the reactions of your electric vehicle are crucial for safe, winter-friendly driving.

The 2023-2024 Toyota bZ4X, rearThe 2023-2024 Toyota bZ4X, rear

The final word
The front-wheel drive Toyota bZ4X LE proves to be an efficient and convincing safety vehicle, but its range quickly runs out of steam. With a comfortable interior layout, and offering the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 safety suite, as well as some interesting automated and connected options, this electric SUV has no shortage of advantages.

The only problem is the autonomy which is low and disabling in winter when compared to that of the competition. Whether in winter or summer, such a vehicle from a brand like Toyota should lead the way and offer much better autonomy.

Competitors of the Toyota bZ4X

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

Original content from auto123.

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