There is a weird trend in car culture – more and more people want to drive SUV‘s despite the fact that they live in the city. Urban environment does not require a strong off-roader and a huge car is not suitable for small parking spaces. However, Toyota thinks it can offer an alternative, which is as fun as owning an SUV, but a bit more practical.
Toyota just introduced a FT-4X Concept, which is basically a compact SUV, meant for active people, who live in urban environment. It features a rugged design, meant to appeal to younger drivers. Interestingly, designers started making this concept from its rear, because usually that is how cars are parked in campsites – with a tailgate facing people. FT-4X Concept features an extensive use of X symbol in its design – a thing Toyota has been doing quite well for a while.
There is an X at the front of the car, at the rear and in the interior. Tailgate is actually very smart. It opens two ways – horizontally in Urban Mode, and vertically in Outdoor Mode. Urban Mode allows accessing luggage compartment when car is parked along a curb. Outdoor Mode allows opening the hatch all the way, which also serves as a small shelter from the elements. FT-4X Concept is meant for people who like partaking in outdoor activities, such as snowboarding or riding bicycles. That is why its handles can be operated with gloves and roof is reinforced for larger loads.
Interior of the FT-4X Concept is very functional too, having lots of various compartments for various objects. For example, there is a heated and cooled compartment, meant to keep food fresh of blankets, gloves and similar gear warm. The dash design is a mix of blue and orange designated storage. Toyota tried thinking about everything – there is even a space to store wet gear, such as wetsuits and bathing suits.
So FT-4X Concept is all about active leisure and functionality. But its powertrain is not that special – it is just a small displacement four-cylinder engine. However, it is powering all four wheels and even has a low range. So a small displacement is really just for efficiency. Surely, if this car is ever going to enter production, most of its life it is going to spend in the city.
FT-4X Concept could go against a Jeep Renegade, if Toyota decides to make it a reality. A stylish compact SUV will always found its customers. However, a production version might be very different and some of its ruggedness may be gone.