Wed, 12 May 2021

Debuts - Name Trademarked In India

Slowdown in the global automotive industry hasn't impacted the process of automakers transitioning to electrified powertrains. Toyota has announced that it will be adding as many fifteen fully electric vehicles (EVs) in its global lineup out of which seven will wear the branding of bZ which stands for 'Beyond Zero'.

The first of the bZ lineup has now been revealed in a pre-production concept form called bZ4X which is loosely based on Toyota's mid-size SUV RAV4. Given RAV4's popularity in international markets, it was a no-brainer for the Japanese carmaker. The crossover has been built on e-TNGA platform in partnership with Subaru.

Exterior Design

As expected, the bZ4X Concept takes a number of styling inspirations from its IC engine-powered cousin. It is similar in shape and size to RAV4 but sits a little lower and is slightly longer than the latter.

At front, it gets a small hexagonal grille in the lower section of the face with small vertical inlets in the corners. Otherwise, the front end has no openings with a trapezoidal nose. The headlight clusters have four projector LED beams and a strip of LED DRLs at top of each.

Moving to its side profile, it gets swift character lines flowing backward giving it the impression of a scooped-out section. Lower part of the door kinks upward at the rear fenders while a rear spoiler and high beltline add a sporty element to its design. Like RAV4, the C-pillar has a steep coupe-like rake while glossy black wheel arches and multi-spoke tubeless alloy wheels accentuate the crossover's sporty appeal.

At rear, LED illumination comprising boomerang-shaped taillights and a full-width strip across the tailgate gives it a premium appeal. Overall, the bZX4 concept grabs the attention by its bold and futuristic looks. Its interior, though premium and modern, fails to complement the exterior.

Interior Layout & Features

The cabin features a bulky steering column with a digital instrument cluster almost stuck to the windscreen glass. The dashboard flaunts a wide touchscreen infotainment unit extending up to the centre console finished in piano with rotary dials for toggling assistance systems and drive modes.

It also receives a touchpad with a blue glow that can be used to operate the infotainment screen. Other highlights include multi-zone climate control, USB charging ports and a dual-tone interior theme.

The rear seat seems fairly spacious thanks to the lack of a drivetrain hump and a wide cabin which should accommodate three adults abreast. Toyota hasn't yet revealed the exact powertrain specs. The e-TNGA platform is suited for both single motor and dual motor setups.

The former can be opted in either front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive layouts while the latter comes with all-wheel-drive capabilities. A single-motor variant called bZ4 should also be included in the lineup. Basically, the 'X' in the model name refers to all-wheel-drive vehicles.

A rebadged crossover under Subaru branding shall also be developed. Expect production version of bZ4X to start reaching markets by mid-2022. Toyota intends to launch all seven bZ models by 2025 which will also include an electric pickup truck. Production of the electric crossover is expected to be carried out in Japan and China.

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