The segment of the car market for pure electric, five-seat, mid-sized SUVs has been growing steadily in recent years.

Into that mix, Toyota has contributed the bZ4X - the manufacturer’s first all-electric vehicle and the start of a series of so-called ‘Beyond Zero’ products.

It’s a comfortable and spacious family motor, packed full of tech and sporting a distinctive look.

Ayrshire Today: The bZ4X on test in West Yorkshire

It’s also easy and smooth to drive, although it won’t set the pulse racing.

The battery is 71.4kWh and the WLTP range is 318 miles for the front-wheel drive version tested here, reducing to 257 miles for 4WD with 20-inch wheels.

The 0-62mph time is either 7.5 or 6.9 seconds, depending on whether you opt for two- or four-wheel drive.

The front-wheel drive bZ4X is powered by a high-response, front-mounted 150kW electric motor, producing 201bhp and 266Nm of torque.

That makes for a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 100mph.

Ayrshire Today: The bZ4X on test in West Yorkshire

It’s enough to keep keen drivers interested, especially given the responsive steering and nimble handling, but don’t expect too many driving thrills.

Inside, the bZ4X has an open and spacious cabin with generous leg room for rear seat passengers.

The cabin is well insulated from road and wind noise, creating an atmosphere that’s calm and quiet.

The dash and central console has a very eye-catching and distinctive appearance.

Ayrshire Today: The bZ4X on test in West Yorkshire

A classy woven pattern runs across the width of the dash, with the material giving it a soft-touch quality.

The driver’s digital display is set way back into the dash, putting it nicely in the eyeline as you look at the road ahead – all very convenient for keeping your eyes forward.

Two moulded plastic strips feed out from either side of the steering wheel towards the display screen to give it as a uniform look, although that visual feature looks a bit plasticy.

More impressive is the chunky floating central console, which sweeps upwards from the armrest into the stylish wide infotainment screen.

Ayrshire Today: The bZ4X on test in West Yorkshire

The screen itself, a 12.3-inch Toyota Smart Connect multimedia display, is intuitive and crystal clear.

In terms of looks, the vehicle has a very contemporary electric-era appearance, with a confident sculpted panel sitting where the grille would have been found on a conventionally-powered car.

The slim light signature adds to the slick look, featuring LED headlights, daytime running lights and front fog lights.

Black cladding runs across an unusually large area of the vehicle’s bodywork - including the entire area between the front wheel arches and the headlights as well as a significant chunk of the bonnet nearest the windscreen.

It’s certainly a bit different and singles the vehicle out visually from more generic-looking rivals in this crowded segment.

In terms of charging, you can get the bZ4X powered up to 80 per cent within 30 minutes if the right type of charger is available. On the official scale, it’s good for 318 miles, although I found the range to be rather less than that in real-world driving conditions.

So what does Toyota mean when it talks about bZ?

Well, it stands for Beyond Zero – Toyota’s new sub-brand focused on how battery electric vehicles can do much more than deliver zero emissions on the journey to carbon neutrality.

Going “beyond zero”, Toyota envisions a future in which carbon neutrality is achieved through the practical introduction of products with advanced, alternative fuel and zero-emission powertrain technologies.

Toyota says Beyond Zero reinforces the environmental leadership it has achieved since making zero carbon its ultimate goal with the introduction of Prius, the world’s first mass-market hybrid electric car, more than 25 years ago.

Since then, the company has constantly developed its hybrid technology to develop a multi-path approach, with hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric and fuel cell electric models.

Toyota bZ4X - Vision

PRICE: £51,810

BATTERY TYPE: Lithium-ion, 150kW

CHARGING TIME: 80 per cent in 30 mins


RANGE: 318 miles

TOP SPEED: 100mph

ACCELERATION: 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds