The FT-4X is designed for the 'less extreme' adventures of urban millennials.
Toyota has pulled the veil from its FT-4X concept at the New York International Auto Show.
The four-wheel-drive crossover may look rugged, but the company cautions that its appearance is actually Rugged Charm designed to accommodate the "Casualcore -- rather than hardcore" adventures of young professional city dwellers.
"A shift from multiday, extreme, high-effort excursions to brief, unplanned, casual adventures is an overwhelming reality for Generation Y," Toyota says. "Millennials are fond of the outdoors, but operate almost always indoors. They enjoy venturing into to new neighborhoods and national parks, but hardly plan ahead."
After researching Gen Y, the company found that the tailgate is often the 'basecamp' for casual adventures. Designers consequently started concept development at the back rather than the front of the crossover. The reinforced flat roof places power supply outlets at the base of tie-down hoops, enabling users to power campsite electronics directly from the exterior.
Designers envisioned the FT-4X cabin as a "rolling gear box," with plenty of accessible storage yet an open layout. Two temperature-controlled boxes in the rear can be used to store snacks or gear, one box remaining cool and the other warm.
Interestingly, there is no traditional navigation screen. Rather than attempting to improve phone integration, Toyota apparently realized many young drivers continue to use their phone as the primary navigation tool even if a navigation system is present. The FT-4X integrates a mobile phone mount directly above the digitized instrument cluster.
Toyota has not committed to the FT-4X as a production vehicle. If it does find its way to showrooms, it will likely be aimed squarely at the Jeep Renegade and, to a lesser extent, the Kia Soul and Honda HR-V.
Live images by Brian Williams.