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Toyota FT-4X Concept rolled at New York Auto Show

The Toyota FT-4X Concept – or, “Future Toyota”-Four-Wheel Drive Crossover – has been rolled out at the New York International Auto Show.

Called a "four-wheel drive toolbox" the concept was penned by Toyota’s Calty Design Research Inc. in Newport Beach, California. With its long list of unique functionalities and compact design, the FT-4X is designed for hardcore outings by anyone, anytime.

“As designers, we’re investing deep thought into the emotional connection with our cars,” said Calty President, Kevin Hunter. “The Toyota FT-4X is not simply a concept where style meets function; it is a thoughtful, charming and engaging experience that adds real pleasure and convenience to the journey. We focused on how a crossover vehicle can add fun and value to casual adventures both in and out of the city, thinking about how someone would use it, and what they would love to do with it.”

Small, yet strong outdoor activity gear inspired the FT-4X’s looks. For its exterior, stylists imbued an X Theme throughout the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) C-Platform. At the center of a vertical X (which bows outward) is a door handle, or, in essence, the widest part of FT-4X (71.7 in.). This places the broadest area near the driver and passenger, creating a natural protective zone. At the rear, the bowed vertical X can be seen at the rear hatch, again placing the door handle at the center and creating a protective space.

At each of the four corners of the bottom X is an 18-inch wheel wearing a custom 225/55R-18 Goodyear All-Season tire. The FT-4X stands 63.9 inches tall, is 167.3 inches long, and has a wheelbase of 103.9 inches. Its form emanates simple sturdiness front to back, top to bottom.

The rear hatch is called a Multi-Hatch, it opens two ways: horizontally in Urban Mode, and vertically in Outdoor Mode. Urban Mode splits the hatch in half and makes for easier curbside gear loading when clearance is limited. Outdoor Mode opens the one-piece hatch upward, creating an impromptu shelter from the elements. The door’s design also incorporates a satisfying mechanical touch: a rotatable handle that users turn to select its opening mode. The deeply set handle is capable of being gripped by a gloved hand when loading or unloading while snowboarding, or when out-and-about on a wintry day.

Twin red hooks sit below the Multi-Hatch within the rear bumper. These high-visibility reflective pieces are secure anchor points for vehicle recovery and the tying down of loads, if desired. Big item hauling is simplified with a reinforced flat roof, plus, a tie down hoop placed at each of the roof’s corners. Extra utility is provided by power supply outlets set at the base of the tie down hoops. Users can power a variety of campsite electronics and lighting or roof rack accessories thanks to the convenient outlets.

Wide black-painted over-fenders lend a tough look to the exterior and engulf the beefy Goodyear rubber. A vertical Picture Window set above the driver’s side rear fender pays homage to the classic version brandished by Toyota’s iconic Pickup Xtracab truck and first-generation 4Runner sport-utility vehicle. The window glass is removable and interchangeable, allowing for owners to personalize their FT-4X even further with multiple opaque color or tinted glass options. The rear door handle is discretely placed fore of the vertical window and high above the beltline, much like it is on the current Toyota C-HR.

Sculpted rocker panels at the lower portion of the doors enhance underbody protection and durability when venturing off the beaten path. And whenever the FT-4X does find some heroic scenery, a GoPro HERO5 Session camera built into the driver’s side rearview mirror can capture it all.

At the center of the nose’s vertical X is a classic, extra-large embossed TOYOTA logo that’s flanked by bright LED headlamps. Like the rear, reflective tie down hooks set in the lower bumper add to the crossover’s looks and deftness. Another nod to classic FJ Land Cruisers and Pickup models of yesteryears: the recognizable horizontal orientation of the FT-4X’s grille, headlights, and bumper.

The cabin is sectioned into threes: Clean Zone, where the front passengers sit, and where rugged floor mats and door sills were inspired by Japanese sunoko slatted wood flooring; Wet Zone, also characterized by all-weather mats (where passengers can stow damp swimsuits/snow clothing or muddy boots) and located just behind the front seats, as well as below the rear second row bench seat; and, Rear Cargo Zone.

Although there is no traditional navigation screen, designers did include a mobile phone mount directly above the driver’s digitized cylindrical instrument cluster. The concept being that a downloadable navigation application, as well as an application showing digitized off-road instrumentation, can be made available for drivers’ use. Gen Y-ers, Calty’s designers realized, rely heavily on their mobile devices for GPS directions.

The FT-4X could potentially employ a small displacement four-cylinder engine and being equipped with mechanical four-wheel drive. A punchy, low-displacement engine would maintain usability and efficiency while traversing congested city streets or open dusty trails. A sophisticated MacPherson strut front, double-wishbone rear suspension absorbs rocks and potholes.

04/12/17

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