Enter the Titans: Toyota & Subaru Join EV Game with Twin Electric SUVs Ready to Take On Ford's Mach-E & Tesla
Despite being one of the world's largest automakers, Toyota is a company that's remained a minor player in the quickly growing electric vehicle market.
Toyota's First "Real" EV
Yes, the brand has experimented with various low production EVs over the years, made big investments in hydrogen vehicles and changed the game with its hybrid tech, but when it comes to the type of battery all-electric cars and trucks nearly every brand is rushing to build right now, Toyota has taken its time.
And while Toyota has been open with its hesitation toward pivoting its entire company to electric vehicles before the world is ready, that hasn't stopped them from jumping into the fray with its own EV platform designed to take on Tesla, Ford, Volkswagen and other leaders in the segment.
And this week at the LA Auto Show Toyota finally took the wraps off the first car in this series—the bZ4X SUV, and its partner Subaru simultaneously released its nearly identical Solterra EV built off the same platform.
Playing it Safe
Not surprisingly, the first release in the series is a crossover SUV, and the look is an expected mix of both Toyota and Subaru styling elements, with a basic profile has some resemblance to the Toyota RAV4 and certain Lexus products.
Unlike some other dedicated EV platforms which have their motors and drive wheels in the rear, the entry models of the bZ4X will be front-drive, with an optional dual motor, AWD setup. And in keeping with the brand's reputation, the Subaru Solterra will be sold only with the twin motor/AWD layout.
One of the biggest questions with any electric vehicle is its range, and Toyota claims the front-drive base version will have about 250 miles, with the twin motor version coming around 220 miles. Neither of these numbers are particularly impressive, but they are roughly on par with other EVs in the same segment.
And for those expecting performance to rival a Tesla, you'll want to lower your expectations, as even in dual motor, AWD trim output is relatively modest at 215 horsepower and 248 pound feet of torque.
What the bZ4X and Solterra should deliver, is the experience of a "fully-baked" electric vehicle with an abundance of interior space and an AWD system that Toyota and Subaru say should be very capable in light off-roading, with up to 8.3 inches of ground clearance available.
The Subaru will also feature the brand's signature "X-Mode" terrain system to make the most of its off-road capability, and the system will be available on the AWD versions of the Toyota as well.
Neither Toyota or Subaru has released pricing info for these new EVs, but a reasonable guess would be somewhere in the high $30,000s as a base price for the FWD bZ4X with higher trim AWD models heading towards $50,000.
Time will tell whether Toyota and Subaru's first attempt at a mainstream EV is a success, but given the loyalty that many people have toward these two brands they should be in a good position to take on competitors in this ever-growing field.
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