The bZ4X is the first Beyond Zero model, Toyota’s family of all-electric cars, to hit the market. A family that promises to become quite numerous according to last December’s mega-preview, when Akio Toyoda presented sixteen future models for the Toyota and Lexus brands in concept car form, including the bZ Small Crossover, bZ Compact Suv, bZ Sdn and bZ Large Suv.

After covering the design story of the bZ4X in A&D issue 250, we drove it on the streets of Copenhagen and the surrounding area, appreciating its roominess, aided by the use of e-TNGA, a platform reserved for zero-emission cars. Where this new D-segment electric surprised the most, however, was in the tests set up by the Toyota team to demonstrate its off-road capabilities. Credit is due to the X-Mode and Grip control systems for climbing up and down slopes on rough terrain. We also put the bZ4X’s wading ability to the test by crossing a wade with water about 30 centimetres deep, proving that the battery-stuffed platform is not afraid of being submerged.

The bZ4X is a proper an SUV and this explains the choices made for its design, as Yung Presciutti, the designer from the Toyota Motor Europe team present at the test drive, pointed out. “One of the main aspects of the project was the development of the front wing: the bZ4X is an electric car but it is also suitable for off-roading and also has several plastic appendages around the perimeter of the bodywork to withstand some small bumps or marks,” says Yung Presciutti.

The bZ4X is the first in a family of bZ-branded cars and this has given it the task of ushering in some styling traits that will also be common, in terms of family feeling, to the models that will debut in the coming years. “The design will not necessarily be shared with all upcoming bZs, each one will have its own personality. However, I think it is clear from the big preview we saw in December what the stylistic face of the bZ brand is. The bZ4X is the brand’s first and the next ones will obviously follow an evolution in terms of design.”