Toyota’s official pivot to EVs is coming hard. It wasn’t even two months ago that we were admiring the bZ Compact SUV concept in Los Angeles, and here it is, in the metal (vinyl?) and with the C-HR already fading out here in the States, we can expect a quick turnaround on what promises to be a budget-friendly EV entry for the U.S. market. If you ask the Autoblog staff, the C-HR was either fun and funky or just downright homely. Like it or not, it certainly wasn’t dull. The bZ concept we saw in L. A. certainly drinks from the same aesthetic spring, and we’re seeing hints of those styling elements beneath the camouflage on this prototype.
Several elements from the concept are evident under this prototype’s disguise. The headlights aren’t quite as radical as those we saw on the show car, but they appear to be recessed into the horizontal crease on its nose in the same manner. Also plainly visible is the not-so-subtle spoiler hanging off the top of the aggressively raked hatch. Even with most of the details hidden by plastic, it’s pretty clear that the production version won’t drift too far from what we’ve seen already.
Apart from its size (it’s smaller than a RAV4 and slightly bigger than the aforementioned C-HR) and what it’s probably going to look like, we really don’t know much about this new baby EV. Toyota has managed to keep the concept’s powertrain a secret for the time being. The larger bZ4X comes with a 150-kilowatt (201 horsepower) motor in FWD form, so we’d expect a smaller bZ variant to come in under that figure. The bz4X’s all-wheel-drive model packs a pair of 80-kW (107 hp) motors — one on each axle. One alone would probably be insufficient unless Toyota is going for the ultra-economical end of the spectrum and can shave weight with a small battery.