- ‘Sunshine state’ designers pen fun outdoors wagon
- So much innovation, so little wasted space
- Adding pleasure and convenience to any trip
LOS ANGELES, California – Toyota recently reincarnated the spirit of its FJ Land Cruisers and other iconic “adventure vehicles” with the world premiere of its FT-4X concept at the New York auto show.
The revolutionary Toyota FT-4X (Future Toyota 4WD Crossover) is an all-wheel drive toolbox designed by Toyota’s Calty Design Research studio in California and features compact, sturdy dimensions and “rugged charm” that “emphasises simplicity, capability and durability while reinforcing the Toyota lineage”.
Calty president Kevin Hunter said the FT-4X demonstrated that designers invested deep thought into human “emotional connection” with their vehicles.
“The FT-4X is not simply a concept where style meets function,” he said. “It’s a thoughtful, charming and engaging experience that adds real pleasure and convenience to the journey.
“We focused on how a crossover can add fun and value to casual adventures in and out of the city after thinking about how people would use it and what they would love to do with it.”
The truck, Toyota says, was inspired by “a simple, sturdy “X-theme”. Each side, it explains, has a vertical X shaped to provide the widest point at the door releases… “a natural protection zone for passengers”. A similar treatment is used for the tail.
“Innovation,” Toyota says, “abounds throughout the vehicle.” Such as…
The ‘Multi-Hatch’ tail door that works in either of two ways: in “urban mode” it can be split horizontally to load stuff: in “outdoor mode” it can lift to provide shelter from the elements – handy for tailgate parties, an American fun pastime.
Each red hook (front and rear) offers secure anchor points for vehicle recovery or, perhaps, tying down loads. Off-road, “generous approach and departure angles add to the vehicle’s prowess”.
Wide black “over-fenders”, Toyota says, add a rugged look to accommodate a tough, custom, 225/55R18 Goodyear all-season tyres and a vertical window over the driver’s-side rear wing can be removed and swopped for a variety of opaque colour or tinted glass options.
Off-road adventures can be captured by a GoPro Hero5 Session camera in the driver’s external mirror while at the centre of the nose is an extra-large embossed Toyota logo flanked by diode headlights.
Twin boxes in the cargo area – one warm, one cold – are designated for functions such as storing snacks, warming gloves or cooling ice packs. The cargo floor has tracks to tie down stuff; below it is a deep compartment accessed through the slideable floor.
WET ZONE FOR WATER DAYS
Ahead of the cargo volume is a wet zone – think swimming gear, muddy boots.
Each rear armrest has a USB socket and rotating switches; front and rear door handles serve as water bottles; removable inside rear lighting doubles as a torch; the dome light can become an exterior locator or beacon. A removable multimedia system is part boom-box, in-dash stereo, and has an extra-large handle.
There is no normal satnav screen, instead a cellphone mount directly above the cylindrical digital instrument cluster – Toyota recognises that people are used to relying on their own devices for directions.
Although a concept, the FT-4X could have a small-displacement four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive with low range.
Calty chief designer Ian Cartabiano told The Corner in a media release: “We had a blast designing the FT-4X so it looks fun to use and fun to drive, We want everybody to interact with the car, to feel delighted and excited.”