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TOYOTA FT-4X CONCEPT

In the busy routine of urban work life, there emerges a growing urge to get away. For millennial professionals confined to city limits, oftentimes these getaways are unplanned, and are of the casual, less extreme kind. And the revolutionary Toyota FT-4X Concept – or, Future Toyota-Four-Wheel Drive Crossover is one such concept designed to appeal to the urban populace.

It’s a four-wheel drive toolbox penned by Toyota’s Calty Design Research Inc. in Newport Beach, California. With its long list of unique functionalities and a rugged charm compact design, the FT-4X is the seamless conduit of popular casual core – rather than hardcore – outings by anyone, anytime.

A shift from multiday, extreme, high-effort excursions to brief, unplanned, casual adventures is an overwhelming reality for Generation Y. Millennials are fond of the outdoors, but operate almost always indoors. They enjoy venturing into to new neighborhoods and national parks, but hardly plan ahead. Their countless interactions on social media bring inspiration. It is the busyness of their nonstop daily lives that pushes them past the precipice of liking a digital snapshot into the realm of creating their own, in reality. Their adventures begin curbside, in a parking structure, or in the depths of an underground garage.

Small, yet strong outdoor activity gear inspired the FT-4X’s expressive looks. For its exterior, stylists imbued an X Theme throughout the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) C-Platform. At the center of a vertical X (which bows outward) is a door handle, or, in essence, the widest part of FT-4X (71.7 in.). This places the broadest area near the driver and passenger, creating a natural protective zone. At the rear, the bowed vertical X can be seen at the rear hatch, again placing the door handle at the center and creating a protective space.

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. The door’s design also incorporates a satisfying mechanical touch: a rotatable handle that users turn to select its opening mode. The deeply set handle is capable of being gripped by a gloved hand, say, when loading or unloading while snowboarding, or when out-and-about on a wintry day.

Twin red hooks sit below the Multi-Hatch within the rear bumper. These high-visibility reflective pieces are secure anchor points for vehicle recovery and the tying down of loads, if desired. Big item hauling is simplified with a reinforced flat roof, plus, a tie down hoop placed at each of the roof’s corners. Extra utility is provided by power supply outlets set at the base of the tie down hoops. Users can power a variety of campsite electronics and lighting or roof rack accessories thanks to the convenient outlets.

Albeit a concept, one could assume the FT-4X could potentially employ a small displacement four-cylinder engine. Being equipped with mechanical four-wheel drive and selectable low-range further accentuates the FT-4X’s always-ready character, while the punchy, low-displacement engine maintains exceptional usability and efficiency while traversing congested city streets or open dusty trails. A sophisticated MacPherson strut front, double-wishbone rear suspension absorbs rocks and potholes.

The Toyota FT-4X Concept fully embodies rugged waku-doki (a palpable heart-pounding sense of excitement) through its numerous clever design ingredients. It charms its tech-savvy, screen-scrolling users with a distinct tactile charisma sensed at every button push, handle twist, and dirt road trekked. Yes, with the FT-4X, never has the divide between desktop and trailhead been as infinitesimal as now.
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