Toyota is on a bit of a styling hot streak these days with the most recent example being the shocking revelation of a super sexy 5th-generation Prius. Now, we’ve got new one to stare at: the bZ Compact SUV.
Yes, it’s still a concept, and no that’s definitely not going to be its final name. However, judging by how complete (ready for production) the car looks despite its futuristic appearance, we can be fairly certain that the finished product will not differ too greatly.
The ‘compact SUV’ label itself seems a bit of a misnomer here as it looks far more like a slightly raised sporty hatchback to our eyes. There’s a very aero-informed shape, sharp lines, big sporty wheels with low profile tyres, and only a minimal dose of that unnecessary cladding that’s characteristic of the crossover vehicle genre.
You can almost think of it as the second coming of the C-HR, a model that’s fondly remembered but was by no means a sales hit for the automaker.
Its interior is especially impressive - almost Lexus-like in terms of its visual wow factor. There’s a thin yoke-style steering wheel, minimal switchgear array, almost freestanding centre console, and a curved central screen paired with an equally bendy driver’s display.
Being the latest addition in Toyota’s growing EV portfolio, the bZ Compact SUV is built upon the e-TNGA platform. When fully realised, this be part of the brand’s arsenal of 30 fully electric cars, 5 of which bearing the bZ (Beyond Zero) name.
It looks as though this will be the third model under that pioneering umbrella following the bZ4X (also known as the Subaru Solterra) and the incoming bZ3, a smaller four-door sedan aimed to compete against the Tesla Model 3.
Unfortunately, apart from these images and an in-person unveil at the ongoing Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota hasn’t disclosed many other details. In fact, we know virtually nothing about it past that point.
However, it would probably be safe to guess that it could have a 71.4kWh battery wedged between its axles, powering either a single or dual electric motor setup with as much as 220PS given that these are figures shared with its would-be stablemate, the bZ4X.
We’ve got some indication that the automaker’s exclusive local distributors, UMW Malaysia, are keen to bring the bZ line to our shores. Elsewhere in the region, the bZ4X has already launched in both Thailand and Indonesia, leaving the door open to a 2023 debut for us.