By on April 12, 2017

[Image: Toyota]

Are you the “casualcore” type? If you have to ask what the hell that means, you’re not hip enough for this concept. There’s also a chance you live outside the city, or perhaps in the suburbs, and don’t take seldom, unplanned adventures with your trendy urban buddies on their day off from PR work or coding.

If so, Toyota didn’t spare a thought about you when it crafted the promotional copy behind its new FT-4X four-wheel-drive crossover concept. Based on the same platform as Toyota’s C-HR pseudo-crossover — a vehicle that omits four-wheel motivation from its roster of options — the FT-4X is meant to be a do-anything, go-anywhere vehicle for the trendiest people you’ve ever met.

So trendy, in fact, that you’ll need to take a Gravol just to read about them.

toyota-ft-4x-concept-2

Toyota claims this concept “brings ‘casualcore’ to Gen Y city dwellers.” Hey, it’s that word again! Now, here’s the definition from the automaker:

“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 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 pushed 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.”

Had enough yet? Bent over the toilet bowl? Sick of automaker-hired PR strategists making target audiences seem like precious zoo animals with a lifestyle you want to punch? Well, so are we.

toyota-ft-4x-concept-12

It’s painfully obvious that Toyota wants to flesh out the lower end of its utility category by making a funky “toolbox” for “young, career-oriented urbanites.” However, when it teased the FT-4X (or a corner of it) recently, all minds were on a brawny, Wrangler-fighting successor to the FJ Cruiser. Talk of urban adventures with Brianna from sales and Kyle from marketing doesn’t exactly bring to mind the rock-crawling experience, but at least the vehicle itself seems capable.

Beneath the edgy “X-Theme” styling, designers crafted the FT-4X for simplicity and versatility. The vehicle’s rear offers a liftgate that opens two ways: upwards, like a regular crossover, or barn-door-style. Inside the cargo hold, boxes and trays abound, eager to be filled with outdoorsy cargo (and the high-tech gadgetry those crazy Millennials can’t be without!) for those unplanned, spontaneous trips to unknown locales. Your water bottles, sleeping bags and mobile devices never had it so good.

toyota-ft-4x-concept-39

Above the rear fenders is a removable window that can be replaced with a colored opaque panel, should you feel bored with what’s there.

Off-road prowess comes from the vehicle’s competitive arrival and departure angles, selectable low range and beefed-up double-wishbone rear suspension and McPherson front struts. Toyota won’t say much about the drivetrain of this potential future model, only that it would be a “punchy” small-displacement four-cylinder.

Though the platform is the same, the FT-4X rides two inches taller and four inches shorter than its corporate cousin. Given that Toyota brought the C-HR to crossover-hungry North American without four- or all-wheel drive, the FT-4X, or a vehicle very similar to it, seems like an obvious future addition to the brand.

[Images: Toyota Motor Corporation]

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71 Comments on “NYIAS 2017: Toyota FT-4X Concept – Mad for Millennials...”


  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    It’s a Toyota Soul Element, and I approve.

    • 0 avatar
      strafer

      Soulementcube

    • 0 avatar
      benders

      More like a Toyota Renegade. Dimensions should be very similar to the Jeep.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        The Renegade splits the difference exactly between the two names I applied. The Soul is -3″ to the Renegade in all dimensions, and the Element is +3″. But now the joke isn’t funny anymore, so thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’m with you, Corey. Boxy is OK as long as it’s well executed.

      The C-HR I saw at the auto show this weekend also looked kind of neat in person.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        People will buy well-done boxy. They need to not over-niche the styling like the Cube.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          But Cubic Hair.

          I loved the Cube, but I tend to love quirkiness like that. Wraparound rear window on a box? Only on one side? Its great.

          The C-HR is just awful, IMO. Just like the Juke, whereas the Cube is on the same platform, yet I dig it. Same with this.

          Its the boxy nature that attracts me, it works so much better than a stretched out silly puddy mis-mash of curves. You can’t be a sporty coupe and a 4 door CUV at the same time, at least in my book, it just doesn’t work. But, what do I know? The Cube failed (it should be on my list of favorite flops) and the Juke sells.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      God help me, I really like it.

      I mean, fr fr, and I’m the “millennial” (1982 model) that loves his 90s Taurus, wants a big RWD Oldsmobile and can’t stop thinking about a 1964 F-350 I found a month or two ago that’s lingering on Craigslist for $1500.

      Anyway, back to this, I really hope they will build it.

      Sure it isn’t a Toyota Bronco, but if you think about it like it is the new *original* Rav4-like crossover, its awesome.

      Toyota built a new Element because Honda won’t.

      They must be doing something different, there’s the Toyobaru
      that gives me positive feelings, then the Lexus RC350 I totally dig, and now this.

      Could a good looking Corolla be far behind? Base it off the 86, and don’t forget the hatch (and PLEASE make it good looking and rename it Corolla LiftBack). Then I’ll create a membership on ToyotaNation.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    As a member of Gen Y/The Millenials, I have no problems with this trucklet but ALL the problems with the insufferable marketing gobbledygook.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    Good idea to make the huge C pillar windowed on the side where it counts. Idiotic to make it the left side even on an LWD version. As for the design, I think it’s much better than those “organic”, curvy designs you usually see these days. The white applications look cheap, those need a brushed aluminium oder polished steel look.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      You’re right. Gah, I hope that gets fixed. Though I doubt we’ll ever see something resembling a giant window on a car these days.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Those C panels are removable, from my understanding.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Yes, you can replace them with glass panels. They look like the early “Jesse Pinkman” Tercel wagon. or the early 90’s Corolla All-trac wagon.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          They do! I still like it, despite that. LOL

          I had an 83 Tercel wagon 4wd that I hated. It was so ugly, slow and unreliable that I was glad when I finnaly got to dump it. I really wanted an earlier Tercel coupe, hatch or sedan (in that order), but I settled for the wagon and regretted it.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “brief, unplanned, casual adventures is an overwhelming reality for Generation Y.”

    This. So much this.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I guess “going to Taco Bell and picking up beer on the way home” counts as a brief, unplanned, casual adventure.

    • 0 avatar
      Tosh

      Explains why it looks like an inflatable amphibious rescue capsule and/or love hotel compartment.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You “Y” kids are going to love WW4.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        I only participate in formal adventures, with luggage.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        WW4?

        Did I miss WW3 somehow?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Some historians consider the Cold War to be the Third World War.

          “Norman Podhoretz has suggested that the Cold War can be identified as World War III[39] because it was fought, although by proxy, on a global scale, involving the United States, NATO, the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries.[citation needed] Similarly, Eliot Cohen, the director of strategic studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, declared, in The Wall Street Journal, that he considers World War III to be history, writing: “The Cold War was World War III, which reminds us that not all global conflicts entail the movement of multi-million-man armies, or conventional front lines on a map.”[40] On the 24 May 2011 edition of CNBC’s Kudlow and Company, host Lawrence Kudlow, discussing a book by former deputy Under-Secretary of Defense Jed Babbin, accepted the view of the Cold War as World War III, adding, “World War IV is the terror war, and war with China would be World War V.”[41] However, not everyone accepts this definition of the Cold War as World War III. In his book Secret Weapons of the Cold War, Bill Yenne contends that “[the Cold War] was what occurred between the two ‘Superpowers’ – the United States and the Soviet Union – in lieu of World War III.”[42]”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_III#Cold_War

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            My high school history teacher always said that if you wanted to count conflicts that involved “the known world” you could number your world wars in the dozens quite easily.

            Alexander the Great vs. Persia – a large part of the know world was involved.

            Rome vs. Barbarians – majority of the known world involved.

            Byzantium vs. The Arab World – basically a world war.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            West vs Third World is currently playing in theaters.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I hope we don’t get a sequel any time soon.

            Maybe we need a franchise reboot…

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    So it’s a Toyota Jeep Renegade? Got it.

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    I can’t help but wish this had more off-road credentials due to the FJ Cruiser-ness of the design. However, it actually looks pretty great in its current form, which is so out of the ordinary for a “funky” Toyota that I hope this gets rushed to production. I’m so sick of the Nissan/Lexus swoopy angles that something with big chunky squared-off looks makes me very, very happy.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I actually kinda like this.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      If Toyota doesn’t quit phucking up, they’re going to have me dropping by for test drives on the semi-reg, and as a customer eventually.

      Toyota is one of my least favorite automakers as a whole, but the Toyobaru, Lex RC350 and now this are making an impact. Their star is rising in my world.

      I HOPE THEY BUILD IT!

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I would drive this (ex-Element owner).

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I get why they did this, certainly they’ve locked onto the Soul/Renegade part of the subcompact CUV segment. And I get that this is only a concept that magnifies the outlandish styling and features. But I can’t help but pine for someone to make a truly utilitarian, cheap box on wheels that derives its reputation and appeal from a real “form follows function” more minimalist styling, that may end up looking homely as a result of sacrificing style for the sake of utility. NOT creating to fake the funk with ugly styling for the sake of ugly styling.

    I speak highly of the Diahatsu Terios I rented overseas, a stubby little car with somewhat awkward proportions rolling on plain steel wheels with a spare tire hooked on the swing open rear door. Mix that with some Wrangler/LC70 brutalist upright cues (that actually benefit interior room or packaging somehow, or make it cheaper to manufacture), and you might have something.

    Additionally: Toyota better not wimp out on the mechanicals and simply swap in the current Rav4 electroncially controlled AWD in. Either beef up the rear diff/driveshaft to allow for more continuous torque to be sent back there with different traction control settings, or dust off their old Full-time AWD setups like they used to use on older All-trac Previas/Celicas/Corollas/etc. A true default 50/50 split, and a mechanical rear LSD while I’m dreaming. Not likely in the age of MPG optimization.

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    I just found myself going back to look at the pictures 30 minutes later. I can’t recall the last time that’s happened with any car, much less a funky Toyota concept. Toyota, please do what Kia did with the Soul and make VERY FEW CHANGES to the exterior.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Been waiting for a valid replacement for my 1st gen xB. Maybe this is it?

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    Hey I like the look of this! Did Toyota hire new designers?

    Lol “punchy”. That’s marketing speak for “this will have a borderline underpowered engine, but damn will it have aggressive throttle tip-in.”

    • 0 avatar
      Bucknasty

      If Toyota really wanted to do something different in this segment a small turbocharged engine with around 180 HP and 180ft lbs of torque would do it (or more but, this is unlikely enough). This vehicle with an engine like that would be a blast.

      Sadly I agree “punchy” in this case likely means 1.8L of naturally aspirated sadness. Prove me wrong, Toyota.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Talk of urban adventures with Brianna from sales and Kyle from marketing doesn’t exactly bring to mind the rock-crawling experience”

    Pure gold.

    I like the dimensions and proportions. Hopefully the production version will soften the wacky artistic details.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      In fairness, Toyota already delivers better than most on the rock-crawler front (4Runner, Tacoma, Land Cruiser, GX/LX Lexuses). People in this segment don’t need or want anything more capable than a Subaru Outback or they’d be buying a Wrangler or Taco or 4Runner anyways.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Well, maybe they don’t want the truckyness of those examples. Maybe going off road is a thing, but not a constant thing and they don’t want to put up with 17 mpg and the tipsy, truck-like driving dynamics.

        There should be some middle ground between the 4Runner and the first xB. This looks like it.

    • 0 avatar
      KW1

      Tell me more about this Brianna from sales…

  • avatar
    brawnychicken333

    So it’s a reliable Jeep Renegade. Meh, I bet it will sell.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “Are you the “casualcore” type? If you have to ask what the hell that means, you’re not hip enough for this concept.” Speak plain English – we’re not all kids here (only in our minds, though).

    First of all, that statement is a lot of horse manure. The ONLY thing that counts is if a prospective buyer is hip enough to afford to buy one.

    Not that I care, but what’s it mean? Can we expect hamsters?

  • avatar
    IBx1

    I really like this actually. Lots of little details that remind me of what concept cars used to be about, rather than an unimaginative direct production preview like the Germans do these days.

  • avatar
    Willyam

    I have decided, after re-examining the pics, that it’s a butt-heavy moon buggy prop from Space: 1999.

    These exact colors referenced in a still from the show here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space:_1999#/media/File:S99-Maya-Tony.jpg

    Still, why not? At least it will look unique when it’s adopted by all of us retirees because it’s economical, upright, and can carry some stuff (a la the Soul and xB)

  • avatar
    Acd

    The front end looks like it should have Tonka on it instead of Toyota.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Looks like something I’ve seen on a cartoon. Maybe it’s because I’m an old school boomer, but this is more of a toy than a truck or jeep.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Its intended to be a toy. There was speculations that it was to be a Wrangler-fighter, but it turns out Toyota is going for people who find the Kia Soul boring to look at, and/or want some more capabilities like 4wd.

      I guess the FJ Cruiser was their best shot (at that target), and they figured the 4Runner and Taco will have to do for real off-road guys. I can totally see Bros cross shopping Wrangler Unlimited with Taco 4×4 crew cabs for maximum parking lot bragging rights and high douchbagability ratings.


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