Toyota Brings Its Model Y Killer to Australia

Toyota Brings Its Model Y Killer to Australia

After delaying the car for years, Toyota has finally brought its first-ever electric vehicle to Australia, the BZ4X (stylised ‘bZ4X’, but we refuse to write it like that because it’s silly), a Model Y competitor (sarcastically, a ‘Model Y killer’). According to the Japanese carmaker, the BZ4X has finally arrived in Australian showrooms, with two trims available.

We’ve been waiting for this car ever since the end of 2022, when it was expected to hit our shores in the next year. It never came in 2023, but now it looks like Toyota’s getting serious about an electric option in Australia, just in time for the development of fuel efficiency standards, no less.

It’s worth noting that Toyota has dragged its feet on electrification for a while, to the point where it was slammed by Greenpeace in 2022 – though the company was a pioneer of hybrid technology, is trying really hard to make hydrogen a thing (it doesn’t appear to be working), and builds a sick as heck electric concept now and again. In May 2023, Toyota Australia boss Sean Hanley said it was too early for electric cars to replace Australia’s vehicles.

In October, Chairman Akio Toyoda said “There are many ways to climb the mountain that is achieving carbon neutrality”, in light of cooling EV sales internationally.

But, at least in Australia, the tune appears to have changed.

Image: Toyota Australia

“The bZ4X is not just an electric car; it’s the foundation for the next phase of our electrification strategy that hits a sweet spot with its mid-size SUV dimensions, space and functionality,” Toyota Australia VP Sean Hanley said.

“As the first Toyota BEV, it will accelerate our multi-pathway approach that’s designed to help our customers lower their tailpipe carbon emissions while leaving no-one behind.”

Let’s dive into the car, and see if it’s worth waiting for instead of buying a Model Y.

Toyota BZ4X pricing

The Toyota BZ4X is an SUV marketed competitively against the Tesla Model Y, the most popular EV in Australia and one of the most loved modern SUVs. Taking the fight to Tesla, the car starts at $66,000 in Australia (for the front-wheel drive variant), while the Y starts at $65,400 (as a rear-wheel drive). An all-wheel drive variant starts at $74,900, while Tesla’s all-wheel drive Model Y starts at $78,400

Keep in mind that these prices are before any extras and inclusions. Premium paint options, for example, will cost $575 (and include Ebony Black, Frosted White, Liquid Metal, Silver Rush, Feverish Red, and Dynamic Blue). A gloss black roof two-tone is also available for $1,350. These are the only extras Toyota has discussed.

Image: Toyota Australia

Toyota BZ4X battery range

The base-model BZ4X will be capable of an electric driving range of 436km, tested on the WLTP test cycle (and slightly below the Model Y’s range of 455km). The AWD variant has a range of 411km, well below the Model Y AWD’s range of 533km. Both the FWD and AWD BZ4X are fitted with the same 71.4kWh battery.

Image: Toyota Australia

Toyota BZ4X specs

The Toyota BZ4X comes with 20-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, a synthetic leather interior, heated front seats, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, ‘poly-ellipsoidal LED headlights’, and over-the-air updates, along with a 12.3-inch interior touchscreen, and safety features like lane tracing assistance, emergency stop assistance, road-sign assistance for speed signs, and a park support brake.

Meanwhile, the AWD variant also gets a bunch of extras, such as a roof spoiler, a panoramic roof, roof rails, a gloss black bonnet accent, a JBL sound system, a higher-end seat trim, a wireless charger, ventilated front seats, a seat memory function for the driver seat, a kick sensor for the boot, and safety features like driver monitoring, blind-spot monitoring, safe exit assistance, intelligence parking assistance, and panoramic view monitoring.

Image: Toyota Australia

Will the Toyota BZ4X be the Tesla Model Y killer?

On price and range, the base-model Tesla Model Y has the base Toyota BZ4X beaten, however, the AWD BZ4X undercuts the AWD Model Y, though with substantially less range. It’ll be difficult to tell whether or not the BZ4X actually even stands a chance against Tesla until well into the product’s time on the market.

One area where the BZ4X appears to lose out against the Model Y is public charging. While the Model Y can charge at up to 220kW, the BZ4X appears to max out at only 150kW on the FWD variant, and 100kW on the AWD variant. Toyota hasn’t provided any detail on this at the time of writing.

Considering the BZ4X hasn’t changed all that much since it was originally released in 2022 overseas, it’ll be interesting to see if it’ll be revised this year after launching down under. It hasn’t been selling overly well overseas, and Toyota only expects to sell about 1,500 in the country. Also, again, it’s Toyota’s first attempt at an EV (and it’s coming to us late).

We’re excited to see the car enter the Australian market… Even if it is a bit late. Subaru is also releasing its first EV in Australia at the same time, which makes sense, as it’s almost entirely the same car as the BZ4X (except every Subaru Solterra variant is AWD).

When will the Toyota BZ4X be available for purchase?

Prospective owners can register their interest online now, or check with their local Toyota dealer.

Image: Toyota

Want more Aussie car news? Here’s every EV we’ve reviewed in the last two years, all the EVs we can expect down under soon, and our guide to finding EV chargers across the country. Check out our dedicated Cars tab for more.

This article has been updated since it was originally published.

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