Corolla-like Toyota bZ sedan (bZ3/bZ4) debut likely delayed

Update: ‘Toyota sedans are still popular in the U.S.’ section added.

After the Toyota bZ4X electric SUV, Toyota is reportedly planning to introduce a Toyota bZ sedan EV. A Reuters report from December 2021 stated that the Toyota bZ sedan EV would only be for the Chinese market and a pillar of Toyota’s bZ range of electric cars. It could either be called the Toyota bZ3 or Toyota bZ4 and would miss out on the X, a letter that denotes SUV/Crossover in Toyota’s new terminology.

Design

Spy shots of the production model of the Toyota bZ sedan EV emerged on the Chinese news website Autohome on March 3, 2022. The silhouette is identical to the concept showcased at Toyota’s Beyond Zero presentation in December 2021. The show car and the test mule spotted in China feature a low curvy bonnet with power bulges on the flanks, L-shaped headlamps, and an air intake on the chin.

Toyota bZ SDN concept front three quarter
The Toyota bZ4 sedan (name: TBA) is a close adaptation of the Toyota bZ SDN concept unveiled on December 14, 2021. Image Source: Noriaki Mitsuhashi/N-RAK PHOTO AGENCY

More aerodynamic than the Corolla

The Toyota bZ sedan EV appears more aerodynamic than the Corolla, thanks mainly to a sloping roofline. Toyota has dropped the flush door handles on the test mules, seen on the bZ SDN concept. The glass area is also identical, with the window line having a subtle uptick towards the hips. It’s unclear what kind of wheels the test mule has, but the concept’s cut aero wheels looked like they could make it to production. The prototype also has a regular-sized sunroof and horizontal reflectors on the rear bumper.

Interior

Toyota bZ sedan interior
Toyota is crafting the interior keeping in mind Chinese buyers’ interests, which could be why it is so different from the bZ4X, a global SUV. Image: Autohome

One would expect the Toyota electric sedan to share its interior layout with the bZ4X in the interest of cost and time, but that’s not the case if the test mules are anything to go by. The center console appears unique, and unlike the bZ4X, which has a sizeable horizontal touchscreen, the sedan has a portrait-oriented unit. The digital instrument console is also unique and is positioned far ahead of the driver on the low dashboard. However, the rotary gear selector appears identical to the one found on the bZ4X.

It is easy to see large windows in the picture, which should let plenty of light in. Plus, there is generous knee room for the rear seat passenger. A sunroof and what looks like rear AC vents can also be made out from the image.

Specifications

A specifications sheet posted on Autohome reveals the dimensions of the Toyota electric sedan. It is 4,725 mm long, 1,835 mm wide, and 1,475 mm tall. It has a wheelbase of 2,880 mm, slightly longer than the Tesla Model 3. The maximum speed is 160 km/h (100 mph). The leaked document shows the manufacturer’s name as ‘BYD Auto Industry Co. Ltd,’ a testament to the Toyota-BYD partnership in developing the electric sedan.

BYD Blade battery

BYD Blade battery
Toyota established an R&D joint venture with BYD in 2020, called BYD Toyota EV Technology. Image: BYD

The Toyota bZ sedan EV would be equipped with BYD’s Blade LFP battery technology. The blade battery, which is marketed as “ultra-safe,” is low-cost and is 5-10 cm thinner than conventional EV batteries, opening up more room in the interior. It could help make the Toyota electric sedan roomier than the Corolla.

Price & Release Date

Reuters reported that the Toyota bZ sedan (possibly the Toyota bZ3 or Toyota bZ4) would break cover at the 2022 Beijing Auto Show. Previously scheduled between April 21-30, 2022, the event has been postponed because of the surge of COVID-19 cases in China. The revised dates for the show have not been announced.

The Toyota electric sedan will enter showrooms late in 2022, and according to a local Chinese source, it may cost under CNY 200,000 (USD 31,428) for the base variant.

Toyota sedans are still popular in the U.S.

Bob Carter, Toyota’s top sales executive in the United States, reiterated the brand’s focus on ‘cars’ (referring to sedans in the traditional sense) during a press briefing on April 6, 2022, reports Bloomberg. Even though the global sales trends are increasingly favoring SUVs and crossovers, Toyota sedans like the Corolla and the Camry continue to be popular options for communities like Asian and Hispanic car buyers in America as they are generally more affordable than SUVs or pickups.

Let’s not forget the advantages sedans have over SUVs; they’re more aerodynamic, which improves range and have a lower center of gravity for better handling. The popularity of ‘cars’ could be a confidence booster for Toyota’s all-electric bZ sedan. Moreover, the Ioniq 6 has been confirmed for the U.S., and the VW Aero B is also highly anticipated. If Toyota decides to bring the bZ sedan to America, the German, Korean and Japanese electric sedans could steal the Tesla Model 3’s thunder.

Toyota bZ3 FAQs

What is the Toyota bZ sedan release date?

The Toyota bZ sedan will likely go on sale towards the year-end in the Chinese market.

What will be the Toyota bZ sedan price?

The Toyota bZ sedan’s prices may start at under CNY 200,000 (USD 31,428).

Which EVs will be Toyota bZ sedan rivals?

The Toyota bZ sedan may compete with the Xpeng P5 and BYD Seal.

Featured image source: Toyota