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Toyota’s off-road concept for town-and-around ‘millennials’

on April 14 2017 | in Highlights, Industry news, Latest news | by | with Comments Off

Under the theme ‘Let’s go places’, Toyota has unveiled a four-wheel-drive adventure concept aimed at making last-minute adventures for city-slickers as easy as possible.

It’s called the FT-4X, or ‘Future Toyota Four-Wheel-Drive Crossover’. The buyers Toyota’s marketing people have in mind are ‘millennials who are fond of the outdoors, but operate almost always indoors’.

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‘Casualcore’ off-roaders, Toyota calls them: ‘They enjoy venturing into new neighbourhoods and national parks, but hardly plan ahead’. In other words, Generation-Y-ers impulsively inspired by what they’ve seen on Instgram or Snapchat.

The FT-4X made its debut at the New York motor show. The design might be toy-like but it’s chockablock with innovative goodies and comes with generous approach and departure angles.

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Industry analysts point to it showing Toyota’s plans for future ‘town-and-around’ SUVs – and a likely indication of what the replacement for the FT Cruiser might look like.

There is nothing under the bonnet of the concept and Toyota says it has no plans to put the FT-4X into production. But such a vehicle could ‘potentially employ’ a four-cylinder engine mated to a proper four-wheel-drive system.

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FT-4X was designed by Toyota’s Californian studio as a vehicle that could go pretty much anywhere at a moment’s notice. It’s a Swiss Army knife of sorts, complete with all sorts of conveniences.

Highlighting them is a clever ‘multi hatch’ spilt tailgate that can open upwards in one piece or sideways like a pair of doors. Other smart touches include interior lights that can be removed and used as torches, rear door handles that work as water bottles, and a GoPro camera mounted within a wing mirror.

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The roof rack has tie-down hoops at each corner and the base of the hoops have a power supply for outdoor lights or electronic gizmos. There are reflective tow hooks in the front and rear bumpers.

There are two storage boxes – one to keep items warm, the other to keep things cool. The rear seats fold flat, and the floor has rails to tie down cargo.

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Up front, the centre armrest doubles as a removeable cargo or tool box, and the North Face armrest cover doubles as a sleeping bag. The radio can be removed and used as a portable stereo. Front air vents rotate to dry off damp gear in a storage below.

An interesting innovation is the absence of satellite-navigation. Toyota instead has a dock for the driver’s smartphone, believing most millennials use their phones for GPS. There are also plenty of USB ports.

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Another is the appearance of mechanical knobs, dials and levers in the cabin – Toyota reckons the smartphone-savvy generation will appreciation the tactility of such items rather than the touchy-feely stuff.

The FT-4X is 4200mm long, 1620mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2630mm. Suspension is by MacPherson struts up front and double wishbone in the rear, the same set-up as the town-and-around C-HR launched in New Zealand last week.

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