Escaping the City in the Big Apple

Toyota debuts the FT-4X concept at New York International Auto Show

April 13, 2017
Yeah, climbing a mountain or whitewater rafting is a great idea, but in a 40-hour a week, urban jungle world, they just aren’t options on most days. You wanna live amongst nature? You’re gonna have to get off the grid.

But life, like the best Cirque du Soleil performances, is all about balance. It’s about pulling your weight at work followed by a weekend drive to the wilderness. Or seeing a nature show online, and then trekking to the closest approximation.

That’s the idea behind the FT-4X concept. Designed by CALTY and unveiled yesterday at the New York International Auto Show, the FT-4X (which stands for Future Toyota-4 Wheel Drive Crossover) is a conduit for the “casualcore” — as opposed to hardcore — lifestyle so many young professionals have adopted recently.

“As designers, we’re investing deep thought into the emotional connection with our cars,” said CALTY President, Kevin Hunter. “The Toyota FT-4X is not simply a concept where style meets function. It is a thoughtful, charming and engaging experience that adds real pleasure and convenience to the journey. We focused on how a crossover vehicle can add fun and value to casual adventures both in and out of the city, thinking about how someone would use it, and what they would love to do with it.”

Rugged Charm

The FT-4X was built with the philosophy of “rugged charm,” which values simplicity, capability, durability and the Toyota lineage. It also takes into account compact, sturdy dimensions and a charming, ubiquitous tactility of grips, handles and controls. It’s intuitive, responsive and works with the user.
On the Outside

For its exterior, stylists imbued an X theme throughout the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) C-Platform.

The FT-4X features 18-inch wheels and wears a custom 225/55R-18 Goodyear All-Season tire. It stands 63.9 inches tall, is 167.3 inches long, and has a wheelbase of 103.9 inches. Its form emanates simple sturdiness front to back, top to bottom.

Baby Got Back

When CALTY designers began work on the FT-4X, they started from the back. Why? Because that’s a favorite gathering place for millennial consumers. The design is built around summer nights with friends, legs dangling over the back bumper, talking and sharing with those who mean the most to you.

The rear hatch is a modern engineering marvel. Called Multi-Hatch, it opens two ways: horizontally in Urban Mode and vertically in Outdoor Mode. Urban Mode splits the hatch in half and makes for easier curbside gear loading when clearance is limited. Outdoor Mode opens the one-piece hatch upward, creating an impromptu shelter from the elements.

Tough Look

Generous approach and departure angles add to the FT-4X’s prowess on a variety of paved and unpaved paths. Wide black-painted over-fenders lend a tough look to the exterior and engulf the beefy tires. A vertical picture window set above the driver’s side rear fender pays homage to the classic version brandished by Toyota’s iconic Pickup Xtracab truck and first-generation 4Runner. The window glass is removable and interchangeable, so owners can add their personal style.

Storage Galore

The rear cargo zone’s floor lays completely flat and features topside tracks for securing cargo. A deep storage compartment is hidden underneath, and can be accessed by sliding the floor out toward the Multi-Hatch, transforming the floor into a tray. Folding the second-row bench seat down extends the floor’s capacity considerably. Red tie-down hooks line the sides of the rear’s cargo hold, too, for added load securing.

Look Inside!

Let’s talk more about the interior. Here’s the main thing: It’s got a North Face sleeping bag in the center console. Actually, it’s the arm rest. That’s right, you can sleep in the arm rest (kinda).
Here’s a few other bits of awesome built into the FT-4X:
  • The rear door handles serve as impromptu water bottles.
  • There’s a mounted, removable flashlight on the rear ceiling.
  • The armrests feature USB outlets.(And you can never have enough USB ports.
  • A built in GoPro in the driver’s side rear view mirror.
  • A mobile phone dock above the driver’s instrument panel, perfect for navigation.
  • Hot and cold boxes in the rear door, great for keeping your gloves warm on a skiing trip, or your drinks cold at the beach.
There’s so much more, too. Click here to watch Nied to Know at the New York International Auto Show, featuring an exclusive interview with CALTY President Kevin Hunter.

By Dan Nied

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