Toyota’s FT-4X concept made its debut on Wednesday at the 2017 New York auto show, and the vehicle isn’t quite the rugged off-roader we were hoping for.
It features a design inspired by the FJ Cruiser which itself was inspired by the legendary FJ40 Land Cruiser, but the new concept is very much an on-road vehicle that Toyota happily admits is aimed at urban-dwelling millennials that dream of getting away from it all while stuck in traffic.
The “FT” in the name stands for “Future Toyota” and is a standard feature of many concept car names from the automaker. And the “4X” is a reference to the car’s all-wheel-drive capability. Responsible for the design was Toyota’s Calty Design Research lab in Newport Beach, California.
The concept is similar in size to the C-HR and common to both vehicles is Toyota’s TNGA platform. But for the FT-4X the designers wanted to maximize practicality. For example, there are plenty of cubby holes, a large rear opening to fit any gear, and chunky wheels with all-season tires. Toyota said the vehicle needed to be ready for the unplanned adventures millennials are supposedly making.
The rear hatch, in particular, features an interesting design. Called a Multi-Hatch, it opens in two ways: either with split doors when in the tighter confines of a city or as a one-piece hatch for open areas. A chunky rotating handle allows the user to switch between the two opening styles. The roof is also flat to make the loading of extra gear up top as easy as possible.
Toyota FT-4X concept, 2017 New York auto show
The inspiration for the interior comes from sport gear and once again the designers have attempted to make the vehicle as versatile as possible. There are heated and cooled storage boxes in the rear, a sleeping bag, and a section lined in rubber mats so wet or muddy equipment can be stored without soiling the rest of the cabin.
A single screen functions as the main instrument cluster and above this is a dock for a smartphone which users rely on for navigation. In the center of the dash is a removable multimedia system. Surprisingly for a millennial-targeted vehicle, Toyota hasn’t mentioned much in the way of apps.
The FT-4X isn’t a functional vehicle, i.e. there's no powertrain, but Toyota says the engine bay fits a low-displacement inline-4. Its all-wheel-drive system is a conventional mechanical setup and is said to even have a low-range setting. Generous approach and departure angles have also been added to help handle rougher terrain.
If built, we could imagine a vehicle like the FT-4X competing with the Jeep Renegade. However, Toyota is downplaying production since it’s just launched the C-HR.
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