If you like extreme off-roading, meticulously-planned adventures and going places only a serious four-wheel-drive can tackle… this isn’t the car for you.
Toyota is targeting a new subset of SUV customers with the FT-4X, a spiritual successor to the cult-favourite FJ Cruiser.
The brand has “casualcore” Gen-Y or millennial buyers in mind for the machine, people inspired by what they’ve seen on Instagram or Snapchat, who “hardly plan ahead” before heading out in search of adventure.
The FT-4X, or “Future Toyota-Four-Wheel Drive Crossover” taps into that culture by making last-minute adventures as easy as possible.
Powered by a four-cylinder engine mated to a proper four-wheel-drive system, the Toyota promises to give people an opportunity to reach interesting places and become a base camp when they arrive.
Toyota’s Californian studio designed the chunky-looking crossover from back to front, starting with an ingenious “Multi Hatch” split tailgate that can open horizontally or vertically, encouraging people to use the rear of the car in social settings.
Clever touches include storage compartments that can cool or heat knick-knacks (to dry damp clothes), interior lights that can be removed to function as torches and a removable North Face armrest cover that doubles as a sleeping bag.
The armrest itself is a removable cargo box, the door handles also work as water bottles, there is a GoPro camera mounted within an external rear view mirror and a dock for the driver’s smartphone to take advantage of music and mapping apps.
Interestingly, Toyota reckons the smartphone-savvy “swipe right” generation are more likely to appreciate the tactility of mechanical knobs, dials and levers throughout the cabin, so it resisted the modern temptation to put capacitive-touch switches throughout the interior.
While there are no official plans top put the FT-4X into production, it does offer an interesting glimpse into a potential replacement to the FJ Cruiser, and a window into Toyota’s thinking for future SUVs.