April 20, 2017 By C! Magazine Staff

The Toyota FT-4X debuts at this year’s NYIAS

Ruggedness and Charm can go hand-in-hand

Millennials were definitely top-of-mind when Toyota thought of their newest concept, the FT-4X, which stands for “Future Toyota – Four-Wheel Drive Crossover”. It made its debut at the 2017 New York International Auto Show and it totally stole the show. With its long list of unique functionalities and a Rugged Charm compact design, the FT-4X is the seamless conduit of popular Casualcore – rather than hardcore – outings by anyone, anytime.

A shift from multiday, extreme, high-effort excursions to brief, unplanned, casual adventures is an overwhelming reality for Generation Y. Millennials are fond of the outdoors, but operate almost always indoors. Their adventures begin curbside, in a parking structure, or in the depths of an underground garage. All these being mentioned, the FT-4X is always raring and ready to go to meet the needs of newer drivers and consumers who lean towards an active lifestyle.

Designers approached their work uncharacteristically. Rather than begin their styling processes at the nose or profile, they began at the rear. Why? In their months’ long research, they noticed that basecamp for Gen Y explorers was oftentimes the destination itself. Cherished experiences were had in and around this basecamp, usually at their vehicle’s tailgate or hatch. The rear hatch is a modern engineering marvel. Called 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.

Proceeding from work to play, indoors to outdoors, without advanced preparation can be a recipe for forgetting some essential equipment. No worries (as Gen Y-ers might say)! The FT-4X is a rolling gear box. Not only is the interior’s concept that of a large open space having plenty of easily accessible storage for basic equipment, but it is basic equipment itself. Passengers can easily identify the space’s purpose based on coloring, as blue classifies closed storage, while orange indicates open storage. 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.

Albeit a concept, one could assume the FT-4X could potentially employ a small displacement four-cylinder engine. Being equipped with mechanical four-wheel drive and selectable low-range further accentuates the FT-4X’s always-ready character, while the punchy, low-displacement engine maintains exceptional usability and efficiency while traversing congested city streets or open dusty trails.

There is always something that truly excites a person when you say “concept”. In this case, the FT-4X takes the cake, and Generation Y can most definitely look forward to the possibility of having a vehicle that caters to their generation’s lifestyle and needs.

 

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