In December 2021, Toyota stunned the automotive world by previewing more than a dozen electric vehicle concepts, including five bZ-branded models.
Among them was a crossover called bZ Compact SUV Concept that envisioned a production model positioned under the bZ4X. Today, Toyota is showcasing that concept in greater detail at the Los Angeles Auto Show, suggesting that it previews the next addition to the "Beyond Zero" EV family.
"We've only just begun to scratch the surface of the Beyond Zero moniker. With an aerodynamic design coupled with intuitive tech features never before seen in a Toyota model, the bZ Concept showcases another possible vision of the very near future with our battery electric vehicles."
Toyota group vice president and general manager David Christ
Starting off with the styling, the Toyota bZ Compact SUV Concept looks quite aerodynamic for a sports utility vehicle, with the wheels pushed to the corners to achieve an aggressive stance. The short overhangs and sweepback angles make it stand out, while the narrowed-down cabin design contributes to giving it an agile appearance as well as a low coefficient of drag.
Exterior highlights include the headlights similar to the recently unveiled 2023 Prius, the sleek rear light strip, aggressive-looking bumpers, bulged wheel arches, sloping roofline, hidden rear door handles and sculpted roof spoiler.
Gallery: Toyota bZ Compact SUV Concept
The edgy styling carries over in the modern yet minimalist cabin which features a slim dashboard with two screens mounted on top—a wide one for the instrument cluster and a curved, larger one for the infotainment system. The steering yoke is also easy to notice, as is the "suspended" center console featuring the transmission dial.
Toyota says the bZ Compact SUV Concept features eco-friendly touches, like seating made from plant-based and recycled materials. There's also an in-car personal agent named "Yui" that connects the driver and passengers with the vehicle. The assistant responds to requests or commands from front or rear passengers via audio and visual lighting cues that move around the cabin.
Unfortunately, Toyota did not reveal anything about the electric concept's powertrain, although it says the bZ Compact SUV delivers fun to drive, exhilarating performance.
Toyota plans to offer around 30 dedicated battery electric vehicles worldwide by 2030, including five carrying the bZ brand moniker. Two of them have already been launched, the bZ4X SUV and bZ3 sedan, which is momentarily a China-only affair.
Besides the bZ Compact SUV and the bZ SDN Concept that previewed by bZ3 sedan, the bZ concepts previewed last year in Tokyo included the three-row bZ Large SUV and the bZ Small Crossover.