Toyota BZ4X concept lands as an electric RAV4-sized package for America

Toyota brings its "Beyond Zero" badged electric SUV to America this week to preview its first purpose-built EV.

America, this is the future at Toyota. Well, part of its future. Spearheading Toyota's first major charge into electric vehicles is the BZ4X concept, which the brand revealed in the US for the first time on Wednesday. We saw this SUV first break cover at the Shanghai Motor Show a couple months ago, but now we get to see it on US shores.

The bummer is Toyota didn't reveal any other important specs surrounding the SUV and still only shared the fact that this rides on the automaker's new e-TNGA platform. The bones come from a joint project with Subaru, which in the near future will debut its own version of the BZ4X called the Solterra. The idea was, Toyota supplied its electrification know-how, while Subaru brought its all-wheel drive talents to the table.

As for the design, it's a RAV4-ish looking thing with even more creases and edges. The front fascia is most distinct, thanks to the different cooling needs of an EV. The strangest part, perhaps, is the glossy black cladding around the wheel wells, which differs from the common plastic look of SUVs. That could change for production, but by and large, this SUV looks ready for production as it sits.

Inside, the BZ4X sports an "open concept" interior, as Toyota called it. The biggest attribute to the ethos is the gauge cluster pushed further back from the driver. The automaker said it not only helps enhance the feeling of airiness inside, but gives drivers better visibility while motoring around. More visibility in modern cars is not a bad thing. To the right of the driver sits a rather large infotainment screen with plenty of physical buttons and knobs. The BZ4X will still carry forward Toyota's "legendary" reputation for reliability, the company said, hence the reliance on switchgear that, well, just works. Touch-sensitive buttons be damned.

The base of the center console also houses some sort of blue panel. It could be a touchpad, or perhaps it's just an interior accent, but we don't know yet. Echoing Antuan Goodwin when we first saw the SUV: Please let it be an accent. Touchpads in cars aren't all that great.

Toyota plans to put the BZ4X on sale next year, and the automaker said it plans to share the finer details and availability for the SUV later this year. But the BZ4X begins an EV onslaught for Toyota. The brand has 15 new EVs coming globally by 2025, so consider this the sign of things to come.