The FJ Cruiser may be a thing of the past, but Toyota has revealed a new model – in concept form at least – that could take its place.
Called the FT-4X, the show truck was revealed today at the New York Auto Show. It was designed by Toyota’s Calty Design Research studio in California to bring some “rugged charm” to urban Millennials looking to escape the city for brief adventures off the proverbial beaten path.
Based on the C-segment Toyota New Global Architecture, it’s substantially smaller than the FJ Cruiser: a good 8 inches lower to the ground and 16 inches shorter from nose to tail. ut with the wheels pushed further out to the extremities, its wheelbase is only a couple of inches shorter and narrower.
In fact it’s closer in footprint to the C-HR with which it shares its underpinnings (and hidden rear door handles). The design approach is decidedly more rugged, though, characterized by large Xs and throwback nods to Toyota off-roaders of old. Just look at the white roof, wide front grille, and vertical rear-quarter glass. Beefy wheel arches and contrasting lower body cladding complete the rugged look.
Since tailgating and base camps are typically set up behind the vehicle, a particular emphasis has been placed on the rear-end design, with a large rear aperture opened with a rotary handle in two ways: split horizontally in “urban mode,” or upwards in “outdoor mode.”
Described as a “four-wheel drive toolbox,” the FT-4X is jam-packed with useful features, from the reflective anchor points on both bumpers and reinforced flat roof to the outlets in the back for powering camping gear and the North Face sleeping bag stowed between the front seats. It even has hot and cold boxes inside for warming and cooling food and gear, with interchangeable windows to enable personalization, and a GoPro camera integrated into the side mirror for capturing the action.
The cabin space is divided into a “clean zone” where the front passengers sit, a “wet zone” around the rear seats, and a rear cargo zone for hauling stuff with a flat floor and sliding tracks in the headliner, where you’ll also find flashlights that are removable (like the stereo) for use outdoors.
Though strictly a concept for the time being, Calty has clearly designed the FT-4X with production in mind, giving it a “punchy, low-displacement” four-cylinder engine along with mechanical four-wheel drive, selectable low-range transfer gearbox, and a suspension with MacPherson struts up front and double wishbones at the back. Check it out in the gallery and video playlist below for a closer look.