Toyota has captured the spirit of its FJ Land Cruisers with the world premiere of the FT-4X Concept unveiled at the New York auto show. This revolutionary vehicle is a four-wheel-drive toolbox penned by Toyota’s Calty Design Research studio in California with value placed on the principals of simplicity, capability, durability and the Toyota lineage. Built with compact, but sturdy dimensions, the concept vehicle possesses a certain ‘rugged’ charm.
Based on Toyota’s new C-platform, the FT-4X is inspired by a simple, sturdy “X” theme. Professor Xavier would be proud. At the sides, a vertical X is shaped to provide the widest point at the door handle, creating a natural protective zone for the occupants. A similar treatment is used for the tailgate, and the X shape carries across to the vehicle’s nose. The designers also developed a horizontal X theme that accentuates the rugged 18-inch wheels at each corner of the vehicle.
Apart from the X theme, the vehicle’s exterior is defined by its innovative Multi-Hatch tailgate that opens two ways: in urban mode, a horizontal opening splits the hatch in half and makes it easier for kerb side loading. In outdoor mode, the one-piece door opens upwards to create a shelter from the elements. Twin red hooks in the front and rear bumpers provide secure anchor points for vehicle recovery and for tying down loads. Custom Goodyear all-season tyres and a GoPro Hero Session camera mounted to the driver’s side mirror prepare you for off-road. At the centre of the nose is an extra-large embossed TOYOTA logo that’s flanked by bright LED headlights.
The FT-4X interior presents an array of off-road necessities, complimented by modern luxuries. Twin boxes are built into the cargo area – one warm, the other cold – basically replacing the cooler in a novelty way. Rear-door armrests have USB outlets and big, rotatable window switches; front and rear door handles serve as water bottles; removable inside rear lighting doubles as a torch; and the dome light can serve as an exterior locator or beacon. A removable multimedia system is part boom box and part in-dash stereo, engineered with an extra-large handle grip. There is no nav screen; you have to rely on your phone with this vehicle.
Although a concept, Toyota has argued the FT-4X could potentially employ a punchy, small displacement four-cylinder engine combined with its mechanical 4WD, selectable low range and front MacPherson strut suspension and rear double wishbones. Toyota’s FT-4X is a really nice concept. Time will tell if it ever becomes more than just that.