NYIAS 2017: Toyota FT-4X Concept - Mad for Millennials

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
nyias 2017 toyota ft 4x concept mad for millennials

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 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.

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.

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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4 of 71 comments
  • Acd Acd on Apr 12, 2017

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

    • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Apr 12, 2017

      I'm just glad they spelled it out in the classic script. It fits.

  • Fred Fred on Apr 13, 2017

    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.

    • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Apr 14, 2017

      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 4x4 crew cabs for maximum parking lot bragging rights and high douchbagability ratings.

  • Marvin Im a current owner of a 2012 Golf R 2 Door with 5 grand on the odometer . Fun car to drive ! It's my summer cruiser. 2006 GLI with 33,000 . The R can be money pit if service by the dealership. For both cars I deal with Foreign car specialist , non union shop but they know their stuff !!! From what I gather the newer R's 22,23' too many electronic controls on the screen, plus the 12 is the last of the of the trouble free ones and fun to drive no on screen electronics Maze !
  • VoGhost It's very odd to me to see so many commenters reflexively attack an American company like this. Maybe they will be able to find a job with BYD or Vinfast.
  • VoGhost I'm clearly in the minority here, but I think this is a smart move. Apple is getting very powerful, and has slowly been encroaching on the driving experience over the last decade. Companies like GM were on the verge of turning into mere hardware vendors to the Apple brand. "Is that a new car; what did you get?" "I don't remember. But it has the latest Apple OS, which is all I care about." Taking back the driving experience before it was too late might just be GM's smartest move in a while.
  • VoGhost Can someone Christian explain to me what this has to do with Jesus and bunnies?
  • Del My father bought GM cars in the 60's, but in 1971 he gave me a used Datsun (as they were called back then), and I'm now in my 70's and am happy to say that GM has been absent from my entire adult life. This article makes me gladder than ever.