Behold a car made for the millennials! I am referring to Toyota’s FT-4X Concept. Millennials present the next battleground for automakers. To establish a competitive advantage over others, automakers are trying to figure out how to entice this group of buyers. The FT-4X is Toyota’s latest attempt to appeal to the millennials. The Toyota FT-4X concept was unveiled at this year’s New York Auto show. The initials are an acronym for Future Toyota-Four Wheel-Drive. The model is targeted at the Generation Y who often go for short, impromptu, casual adventures such as an overnight camping trip. The model is the brainchild of the Calty Design Research house in California. I understand that unlike other vehicles, designers started designing the concept from the rear as they claim that millennials outdoor experiences revolve around a vehicle’s tailgate or hatch.
Toyota FT-4X Concept Exterior
The Toyota FT-4X concept looks like a Jeep Renegade due to its squarish “X” design. The automaker says the concept has X shapes at all sides including the roof. This design is, however, most evident on the sides where the door handles are strategically located at the center of a bulging X shape.
The model is designed to tackle the off roads as characterized by an impressive approach and departure angles, black plastic fenders, aggressive tires, tow hooks, running boards and a tall ground clearance.
The FT-X4 wears a “badge both on the front grille and tailgate making it look much attractive than the automaker’s other compact crossovers. Rather than hooking up the rear hatch with an automatic opener, Toyota has fitted a large dial that can be rotated 90 degrees to change how the hatch door opens. When the dial is turned vertical, its two doors split and open outwards. When the dial is turned horizontally, the liftgate opens upwards as a single unit.
The roof is also very practical with a flat surface and 4 tie-down hooks that make it easy to store and secure cargo.
The model also reintroduces the Xtracab truck design that featured a glass window behind the rear door on the driver’s side. However, this feature is likely to be discarded if the model makes it into production.
The cabin does not look any bit ready for production. The designers have however been creative trying to make things interesting for millennials who are the main target of the concept. The dashboard has an inward scallop that accommodates HVAC vents, gauge cluster and a glove box. The steering wheel design is derived from the 4Runner but the design of its controls look innovative. The gauge cluster is small and it displays readings for the tachometer, speed, fuel level and temperature. A closer look at the upper screen reveals that it is actually a cell phone. According to the designers of the model, millennials use their smartphones instead of infotainment systems to look up navigation information; hence, the decision to create a place to hold the phone. There is another screen down low for menu functions on the right side. The model has rotary switches for the windows and a rocker switch for the door locks.
The Toyota FT-4X Concept has a large center console to hold stuff such as a North Face sleeping bag that is also used as an armrest. The concept does not have plenty of cup holders except for a few built-in water bottles. At the rear, the rear bench can be folded flat to create extra storage space for bulky cargo. The model also has a hidden compartment (under-floor storage compartment) for hiding some cargo. The trunk has numerous hooks for securing cargo.
Engine and performance
Since it is just a concept, Toyota did not release details about the probable mill that will power the FT-4X concept in case it makes it into production. However, the automaker revealed that a 4-cylinder engine with an AWD pairing to enable the millennials to assess off-road getaway spots would likely power the model.
Price and release date
Like the engine details, Toyota did not say anything about the FT-4X concept prices. I would, however, expect the model to cost slightly less than the RAV4. As such, a starting price of around $22,000 is likely. I understand that the automaker is currently analyzing the reaction of the public and its dealers before deciding whether to take the concept into production or not.