Toyota FT-4X Concept Car Review Apr 26, 2017 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)
Toyota debuted the FT-4X concept at the New York Auto Show. While some reviewers were expecting something that could compete with the Jeep Wrangler, this crossover concept is geared more toward younger drivers who live in urban settings but want to go on the occasional adventure. This is part of Toyota’s efforts to rejuvenate and expand their lineup of crossovers, but did they succeed?
Targeting Young Buyers
While Toyota is known for their reliable sedans, their crossover SUV lineup has been slowly expanding as demand does. The designers behind the FT-4X concept are directing this vehicle toward those who want to be able to leave the city on a whim. They are looking specifically for young professionals, Generation Y, Millennials, and other overlapping demographic groups. Toyota developers aim to appeal to this group’s desire to go explore places like national parks and without having to rent a car or make a concrete plan, betting that younger users are more spontaneous. We’re not sure if that level of spontaneity will transition well into buying a big-ticket item like a car, but that remains to be seen.
Compact and Efficient
Since the FT-4X concept has only made its debut recently, information is still limited. We know that the “FT” portion of the name stands for “Future Toyota” and the “4X” portion is presumably related to its ability to take you on adventures. To fit in with the requirements of driving in an urban area, the Toyota FT-4X concept is a smaller vehicle, which pays dividends when it comes to efficiency. The concept FT-4X is definitely smaller than some of the other Toyota crossovers. It has a 103.9-inch wheelbase, is 167.3 inches long and 63.9 inches tall. Toyota said it may use a small 4-cylinder engine, but that is not currently its focus. The vehicle would be built on the new global vehicle architecture, allowing for a flexible design while decreasing production times.
Versatility and Features
In creating the FT-4X concept, Toyota included multiple innovative features that should enhance its appeal. Instead of a traditional tailgate, this model has a multi-hatch that can open both vertically and horizontally. The window glass is also removable, and the concept features a GoPro camera right on the rearview mirror, in a way reminiscent of the GoPro mount on the Toyota Tacoma’s windshield. There is additional hidden storage closer to the back, and the rear seats fold down. To help maintain an active lifestyle ready for adventure, the Toyota FT-4X concept also has a suspension that was designed to absorb potholes and rocks as well as all-season tires plus four-wheel drive. Even so, it isn’t geared for off-roading, just getting to your trail. Interestingly enough, the FT-4X has a phone mount instead of built-in navigation touchscreen based on the idea that young drivers get directions from their phones instead of the in-car system. We are wondering if this will change as the concept approaches production as drivers look for larger screens that their phones won’t provide.
While the FT-4X promises an interesting mix of features, we’re not sure if this millennial-mobile is the right fit for drivers looking for off-road adventures, depending on the production vehicle’s performance and capability. However, it just might be a perfect fit for urban drivers looking for something different with unique styling—and that will depend on the pricing of the production model.