After being inadvertently revealed hours before its official unveiling at the ongoing New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), full details and photos of the Toyota FT-4X concept have finally been released. Styled at the Calty Design Research studio in Newport Beach, the rugged SUV is designed for millennials and their so-called “casualcore” – rather than hardcore – adventures in and out of the city.
The FT-4X, which stands for Future Toyota-Four-Wheel Drive Crossover, is boxy and minimalist on the outside, with X graphics dominating the front, sides and rear of the vehicle. Designers began with the tailgate, where they believed millennial adventurers spend most of their time in; to that end, there’s a split “Multi Hatch” that can opening outwards in Urban mode, or upwards like a traditional hatch in Outdoor mode.
At the front, a white wraparound front mask carries the angular LED headlights and the large horizontal Toyota badge. Black fender flares add to the strong stance provided by the 18-inch six-spoke alloy wheels shod in 235/55-section Goodyear all-season tyres.
Meanwhile, the roof is flat and has been reinforced to haul large items, and is fitted with a tie-down hoop and a power socket at each corner – the latter can be used to run a variety of campsite electronics and lighting or roof rack accessories. A GoPro Hero 5 Session camera is built into the driver’s side door mirror to capture the various excursions that might take place.
Aft of the rear doors sit the vertical “Picture Windows” inspired by the Hilux Xtra Cab and the original 4Runner. The glass panels can be removed, allowing owners to swap them for various opaque or tinted options. Sculpted rocker panels along the side provide extra protection, while the upwards-raked bumpers increase approach and departure angles. Four tow hooks found at the front and rear double as tie-downs.
The grips, handles, and controls throughout the car have been designed to be tactile, with Calty’s chief designer Ian Cartabiano saying, “While we’re living in today’s digital world, we took something that’s based on physical movements and made that a large part of what this vehicle is.” The rear knob that switches between the two tailgate modes, in particular, is deeply set and is designed for use with gloves.
Although it looks big and tough, the FT-4X is actually slightly smaller than the compact C-HR, riding on the same Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Measuring 4,249 mm long, 1,821 mm wide and 1,623 mm tall, it’s 111 mm shorter, 26 mm wider and 58 mm taller than the B-segment crossover, while the 2,640 mm wheelbase is identical.
Mechanical details are scarce, but Toyota says that “one could assume the FT-4X could potentially employ a small-displacement four-cylinder engine,” and there’s also a four-wheel drive system with low range. Suspension consists of MacPherson struts at the front and double wishbones at the rear.
Inside, the FT-4X has a simple horizontal dashboard that’s similar to the Citroën C4 Cactus, with large stowage spaces coloured blue for closed storage and orange for open cubby holes. On either side of the large “floating” glovebox sit slim air vents that can be rotated downwards to warm, dry, or cool clothing such as gloves and hats on the tray below.
Instrumentation is digital, and while there isn’t a dedicated navigation screen on-board, a smartphone dock sits above the main instrument display so that drivers can use their own navigation apps. There’s also a removable boom box with a large grip that mirrors the exterior door handles.
Between the centre console, there’s a sleeping bag by The North Face that also functions as an armrest above a large centre storage compartment, which has a breathable, high-grip hybrid mesh surface that allows wet items to dry quickly, along with bungie cord lattices to keep small items in place.
Elsewhere, the door handles double as water bottles; there’s also a flashlight integrated into the rear ceiling, a dome light that can be used as an exterior locator or beacon, USB ports in the armrests and storage bins hidden inside each of the tailgate sides – one heated, the other cooled. These compartments can be used to store snacks, and can also warm or cool items such as gloves, blankets and ice packs.
The cabin is divided into three sections – the front occupants sit in the Clean Zone with floor mats and side sills inspired by Japanese sunoko slatted wood flooring. In the middle, there’s the Wet Zone with all-weather mats that can hold damp swimsuits or snow clothing, or muddy boots.
The Rear Cargo Zone behind the rear seats has a completely flat floor, fitted with topside tracks and red tie-down hooks for securing cargo. Slide the floor out – turning it into a tray in the process – and you’ll also find a deep storage compartment, handy for keeping items away from prying eyes.