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Toyota bZ4X reviews: the first media drives

Selected members of the national motoring press were recently invited to test-drive pre-production prototype versions of our highly anticipated new Toyota bZ4X – the first model in our new beyond Zero series of battery electric vehicles. Unusually, the professional testers were able to get to grips with the mid-size SUV across a variety of challenging…

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Selected members of the national motoring press were recently invited to test-drive pre-production prototype versions of our highly anticipated new Toyota bZ4X – the first model in our new beyond Zero series of battery electric vehicles. Unusually, the professional testers were able to get to grips with the mid-size SUV across a variety of challenging terrains, from scarred mountain roads to water troughs deep enough to swim in. What were their Toyota bZ4X reviews?

Below is a selection of excerpts from their online reviews. To read the full reports, click on the emboldened links.

Toyota bZ4X reviews

“We had the opportunity to sample a pre-production version of the twin-motor range-topper, and while… you won’t find it lacking in punch off the line… [its] easy-going power delivery encourages you to drive the bZ4X in a more relaxed manner. But the bZ4X felt surprisingly at home on the tight and twisty country roads just outside of Barcelona. Body movements, while noticeable, remained well-controlled, while a reassuringly consistent brake pedal gave us the confidence to cover ground at a reasonable pace.

“This might look like the very definition of a soft-roader, but it benefits from a… terrain-control system which allows it to overcome deep snow, mud and other obstacles. We tested these systems, including the… 500mm wading depth, on a challenging off-road course, and the way the 4WD system manages to find grip in the muckiest of situations is truly impressive. Things continue to impress inside the cabin [where] you’re met with exactly what you would expect from a next-generation Toyota.”

“Our early taste of Toyota’s first EV shows it’s a solid electric SUV boasting range claims that should be achievable and a relaxed and refined driving experience. It delivers more than adequate charging capability and practicality, while the new infotainment is a big step on. It bodes well for the brand’s all-electric future bZ models.

“Toyota has always been explicit about actually living up to the numbers it quotes, rather than just offering unachievable headline stats. Plus the platform underneath the car’s squared-off frame is an impressive piece of engineering. On the move the bZ4X… is incredibly smooth, delivering Lexus-like refinement in a mainstream product.”

“We’ve used the all-wheel drive prototypes to traverse impossibly steep hills, navigate sticky ruts and slink through water. The bZ4X is equipped with X Mode – an all-encompassing function which allows for easy ascent and descent. And thanks to our car’s twin 80kW motors, the bZ4X is able to move torque to wherever there’s more grip. Sealed batteries also mean the prototype can partially submerge in water.

“We’re pleased to report the bZ4X has road manners, too. On the roads around Barcelona, we were able to test the dynamics of the first e-TNGA chassis, and the Toyota seems perfectly balanced. The chassis benefits from a modest ground-clearance and low centre-of gravity. It means that the weight… isn’t noticeable when driving normally. The result is a car that… you’re happy to feed into corners at a decent pace.”

“All versions will boast 150kW rapid-charging capability, sufficient for an 80% top-up to be done in around half an hour. That’s slightly ahead of the pack as far as charging speeds go. On the road, it’s not violently fast… but it is extremely smooth and quiet, suggesting Toyota is going after a different sort of buyer with the bZ4X – one who prioritises comfort over sheer driving thrills. Such buyers will be pleased to learn that even on large 20-inch alloy wheels, tackling less-than-perfect Spanish tarmac and even some gravel roads, the bZ4X rode very well, thanks to a sophisticated and evidently very well-engineered suspension and chassis.

“The next-generation infotainment system it showcases has sharper graphics, faster responses, more versatile connectivity and a generally slicker feel than what’s gone before. Safety technology is also impressive. Toyota’s latest package of crash-avoidance systems goes by the name ‘T-Mate’ and… we expect all this will be offered on even the entry-level bZ4X.”

“The Toyota bZ4X is Toyota’s very first pure electric car. And there’s plenty to like from the off. It looks distinctive with matt wheel arches and some defiantly Japanese styling. The many sensors for the advanced driver-assistance systems are hidden behind the slim black panel on the nose, keeping everything neat, and there’s a sense of drama about the whole thing.

“The initial signs are really very good. Toyota has obviously aimed to hit all the right notes without too much drama. The battery comes in one size which Toyota thinks is a bit of a sweet spot, the power is modest but workable, the interior sporting all the right tech without feeling too oppressive. This is Toyota making a car with general appeal, rather than something polarising. The bZ4X… is confident about pretty much everything. And it’s exceptional off-road. It’ll probably never see even 30% of its capability, but it’s comforting to know that it can.”

“Throttle response felt well-calibrated, and… we didn’t find it lacking in punch off the line. It’s only as the speed rises beyond 70mph that the rate of acceleration starts to ease off.  The easy-going power delivery combined with fairly soft suspension makes the bZ4X a relaxing place to while away hours behind the wheel. Body movements remained well-controlled and a reassuringly consistent brake pedal gave us the confidence to cover ground at a reasonable pace.

“Inside you’re met with exactly what you’d expect from a next-generation Toyota. The materials… are plush and well screwed together, while a low scuttle gives an open and airy feel to the interior. Higher spec cars give you a cinematic infotainment experience, with a 12in landscape-oriented screen. In the rear, two tall adults have limo-like amounts of leg room on account of the unusually long wheelbase, while a flat floor will even make a third occupant feel fairly at ease.”

“There’s decent space, tonnes of credible tech and driver-assistance systems and really very striking styling, with lots of angles and funky plastic wheel arches that add some visual drama. There’s only so far you can go with the basic shape of a mid-sized SUV, but Toyota has done a decent job of making it look at least a little bit different. Of particular note is the fact that all the forward-facing sensors have been inveigled away into the little black plastic moustache at the front; it’s neat and effective.

“Toyota makes a big deal out of the fact that the bZ4X is decent off-road – unlike most of it’s competition. We waded, hill climbed, cross-axled and mud-ran a bZ4X through several carefully-crafted off-road courses. Even with summer ‘eco’ tyres and some ham-fisted driving, the bZ4X showed that it’s got more off-tarmac chops than 75% of its peers. It’s an extremely competent, well-built example of the breed, that looks really quite striking.”

Learn more: Click here to read about the new Toyota bZ4X, its grade structure and how to reserve yours

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Mountain bike bravery with a Proace

Perched on a blustery granite outcrop, Derek Evans sits astride his mountain bike and surveys the scenery. A few miles to the north he can see the Bristol Channel shining dark blue. Further to the south, he can just make out the English Channel through the midday haze. Fifty yards behind him a Victorian folly,…

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Perched on a blustery granite outcrop, Derek Evans sits astride his mountain bike and surveys the scenery. A few miles to the north he can see the Bristol Channel shining dark blue. Further to the south, he can just make out the English Channel through the midday haze. Fifty yards behind him a Victorian folly, hewn from the same stone, juts out abruptly from the scenery. And just below him, an unmade track winds its way through clumps of yellow gorse and past a white van.

There are many routes down from this 738ft high summit on Carn Brea near Redruth in Cornwall. Derek is spoiled for choice. But one thing is for sure – his descent will be fast. “I’ve ridden bikes off-road for as long as I can remember – since I had stabilisers!” laughs Derek as he dances his mountain bike onto its front wheel. 

He’s riding a very smart full-suspension, mountain bike which he built himself around a custom-made black carbon fibre frame. “I ride all over the country – often in the Surrey Hills and the Brecon Beacons in Wales. I’ve also cycled in Les Gets and Morzine in the French Alps” explains the 41-year-old vehicle technician.

His bike’s chain and gears clatter and click as he points his bike down the yellow stony track towards the van. The smart white Proace Compact is his. Perhaps he’s going this way so he can look at his van on the way down. “I love vans,” he said. “I always have done. I’ve always had a van. But I’ve been without for two years. 

“I bought this one from Parklands Toyota at Carland Cross in February after my girlfriend spotted it. Other manufacturers have a string of issues and are very expensive. This is the small Compact version. It suits me well with all the little country lanes around here.

“My dad was a car-nut and got me into Toyotas. I’ve always liked their technology. He imported a Mk 4 Supra from Japan about 20-years-ago. He drove it to Spain and all around Europe and I used it to go out on dates.

“I really like the look of the Proace. I’m going to make a few cosmetic modifications, and turn it into a proper day van so I and my girlfriend can both take our bikes out, have adventures and picnic in it. I’ve already fitted insulation so I can carpet it floor-to-ceiling. I’ll probably put 20-inch alloys on it and maybe a spoiler and splitter, but I don’t want it to be too showy.”

Derek’s Proace is an L1 manual in Comfort spec with leather seats. He paid £12,500+VAT for his immaculate three-year-old van with 80,000 miles.

As he loads his bike back into the van after an afternoon on his mountain bike, he looks fondly at his van and says: “I don’t see me ever getting rid of it”

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World Premiere of the New Lexus “UX” | Lexus | Global Newsroom

Lexus globally announces the new UX 200/250h. The vehicle is scheduled for summer 2022 launch. Introduced to the Lexus lineup in 2018 as an urban compact cross-over, the UX uses the “Creative Urban Explorer” concept, with the aim to be the “CUE” to exploring a new lifestyle. The muscular body exudes toughness and strength, while…

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Lexus globally announces the new UX 200/250h. The vehicle is scheduled for summer 2022 launch.

Introduced to the Lexus lineup in 2018 as an urban compact cross-over, the UX uses the “Creative Urban Explorer” concept, with the aim to be the “CUE” to exploring a new lifestyle. The muscular body exudes toughness and strength, while the flared fenders evoke agile driving in order to create a bold and refined exterior. The interior cockpit combines a sense of driving excitement with a visually expansive space. In addition, we have pursued excellent steering response, handling stability, and refined ride quality.

Since its launch in 2018, a cumulative total of approximately 240,000 units have been sold in more than 80 countries and regions as of the end of March 2022. The expanding lineup of electrified vehicles of Hybrid (HEV) and battery EV (BEV), achieved the percentage of electrified vehicles of approximately 80% of sales globally, making it the leading model in the Lexus electrified lineup. Going forward, we will continue to contribute to the practical spread of electrified vehicles toward the realization of a carbon-neutral society, while tailoring to the diversifying needs and lifestyles of customers.

Based on the “Always On” philosophy of continuous improvement through agile development, the new UX200/250h has further refined and exhilarating driving performance, enhanced its advanced safety systems by expanding the preventive safety technology functions and added the latest multimedia system.

To enhance the driving experience, structural rigidity was improved by adding 20 spot welding points on the body and the EPS and shock absorbers tuning was performed accordingly. It achieved refined and exhilarating performance and to further improve the refined, direct feeling and response through extensive testing at Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama.

For advanced safety system enhancements, we aimed to make driving safer and more reassuring by enhancing the functionality of the “Lexus Safety System +” preventive safety technology. The UX also features a new state-of-the-art multimedia system with a larger/higher-resolution touch screen display. Usability has been improved by optimizing the shapes and switch layout of the instrument panel and console area. Two USB charging connectors (Type-C) have also been added in the front of the console.

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LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2022 Grand Prix Winner Announced | Lexus | Global Newsroom

TOKYO, Japan (May 12, 2022)―Lexus announced today that “Rewind” by Poh Yun Ru has been selected by the judging panel as the Grand Prix winner of the 2022 LEXUS DESIGN AWARD, the award’s tenth edition, which drew 1,726 entries from 57 countries and regions. The LEXUS DESIGN AWARD was established in 2013 with the mission…

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TOKYO, Japan (May 12, 2022)―Lexus announced today that “Rewind” by Poh Yun Ru has been selected by the judging panel as the Grand Prix winner of the 2022 LEXUS DESIGN AWARD, the award’s tenth edition, which drew 1,726 entries from 57 countries and regions.

The LEXUS DESIGN AWARD was established in 2013 with the mission of supporting and nurturing creators early in their careers to help shape a better future and enhance the happiness for all through design, while articulating the Lexus brand’s three core principles: Anticipate, Innovate, and Captivate. The Grand Prix winner “Rewind” contributes to a better tomorrow by using technology to help people stimulate their memories when their recall ability is challenged, for example by dementia.

The six finalists selected this January spent three months developing their original proposals and creating prototypes under the enthusiastic and highly skilled guidance of Sam Baron, Joe Doucet, Yosuke Hayano and Sabine Marcelis. Mentoring by the world’s leading creators was a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience for these young talents. This process facilitated the impressive evolution of the finalists’ projects, not to mention that of the Grand Prix work, “Rewind.”

Poh Yun Ru commented: “I feel immensely grateful that Rewind is now a step closer to improving the lives of more people. This couldn’t have happened without the unwavering support of my mentors, my team of dedicated engineers, programmers, healthcare experts, and users. This opportunity from LEXUS DESIGN AWARD to turn a project into a real-world product felt nothing short of amazing, and I feel heartened to have met and learned from so many passionate designers from around the world. It has been such a rewarding and inspiring journey, and I am excited to continue designing for a better world and a better tomorrow for all.”

In a new benefit for 2022, the finalists met one-on-one with the design world’s elite panel of judges: Paola Antonelli, Anupama Kundoo, Bruce Mau and Simon Humphries following the 10th LEXUS DESIGN AWARD event. After the judging session, the finalists received not only direct feedback on their work, but also career advice and tips for improvement. This beta-feature of the 10th anniversary LEXUS DESIGN AWARD turned out to be an extraordinarily valuable experience.

After the judging session, all four judges provided comments.

Paola Antonelli told of the overall importance of design in today’s world: “The LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2022 finalists offer a wide range of products in different fields of design, employing different types of technology, but they all have one thing in common: care. Care for the environment, care for the elderly and differently able, care for the needs of families and communities, and more. They demonstrate that at a time of emergency in the world, design can offer suggestions that are poetic and beautiful, and also feasible and scalable. In the hands of great designers, doing the right thing―by society, the environment, the world―also becomes inspiring and elating.”

Anupama Kundoo and Bruce Mau commented on the Award’s feature of mentorship: “I particularly enjoyed the unique feature of the LEXUS DESIGN AWARD, namely, that the talented visionary designers are first identified, and then supported personally in their further development through dedicated mentorship.” Kundoo said, while Mau commented, “The LEXUS DESIGN AWARD’s process, where the finalists are connected to design mentors, is absolutely brilliant. And the impact was plainly evident in the final submissions.”

Simon Humphries praised all finalists for their creativity and imagination in addressing the judging criteria: “The power of creativity and its ability to enrich people’s lives never ceases to amaze me and this year’s entries only reinforced this further. Congratulations to all the finalists who showed such imaginative insights into challenging problems that many just take for granted.”

The six LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2022 finalists’ projects will be shown at Lexus exhibit during Milan Design Week 2022, the world’s largest design event, to be held in June.

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