I love alphanumeric car names, but the 2023 Toyota bZ4X XLE FWD is kind of pushing it. Car naming conventions are getting out of hand, and we might soon cross the point of no return. Next year, we could see the release of the 2024 Toyota bZ4ekksdfjlkjlajksdf FWD after product planners at Toyota get fed up with pecking random characters far away from the QWERTY home row.
Come to think of it, that’s not a bad name! The Lexus QWERTY; I’d pick that over the Lexus RZ 450e on principle alone. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, we might see the debut of a Honda EV simply called the Honda ~ (read aloud: “the Honda tilde”). This model being a course correction following the backlash against the Honda HR-V e:HEV. Explain yourself, Honda.
The thing is, even if letters and numbers in car names stand for something, that meaning isn’t clear to people wandering onto a dealer lot. Not without context.
Toyota wants us to think its naming scheme for the 2023 Toyota bZ4X XLE FWD is useful. Or that its name would totally come up in casual conversation. It reads more like a VIN or license plate, and its lower/upper cases aren’t helping. Yet Toyota claims it’s obvious, as our own Elizabeth Blackstock explained:
- bZ – beyond Zero
- 4 – Four Seats
- X – SUV/Crossover
The XLE and FWD tacked on the end are, of course, trim and traction labels. According to Toyota, XLE stands for Executive Luxury Edition and FWD for front-wheel drive. You don’t get all-wheel drive unless you splurge on a bZ4X with X-MODE — which is what Subaru calls the shared AWD system. Ah, yes.
I, too, aspire one day to own the Toyota beyond Zero Four-Seat Crossover Executive Luxury Edition Front Wheel Drive. Even though carmakers have always loved to abbreviate, at this point it’s just alphabet soup.
And who knows when it’s stopping, as Toyota is already on the bZ5X. The only way to make this OK is if we got bZs one through 12. The first one a single-seater, and the last one a fully-electric Toyota HiAce. If we’re going to keep getting these stupid names, at the very least give us something to show for it.