New Toyota FT-4X Concept – Rugged Waku-Doki Bows at 2017 New York Auto Show

By Steve & Tamami Laser

Toyota’s FT-4X concept crossover that made its debut at the New York Auto show today embodies “Rugged Waku-Doki” (a heart-pounding sense of excitement) targeting young adventure seekers.

It’s a four-wheel drive toolbox penned by Toyota’s Calty Design Research Inc. in Newport Beach, Calif. With its unique functionalities and Rugged Charm compact design, the FT-4X is ready for “Casualcore” outings anytime.

“As designers, we’re investing deep thought into the emotional connection with our cars,” said Calty President, Kevin Hunter (above). “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.”

Check out the new Toyota FT-4X concept in the video above. A shift from multiday, extreme, high-effort excursions to brief, unplanned, casual adventures is an overwhelming reality for Generation Y. (video: Toyota)

Calty’s designers instituted a Rugged Charm ethos when creating the FT-4X that places value on simplicity, capability, durability, and Toyota lineage.

“You can really tell that we had a blast designing the FT-4X because it looks fun to use and fun to drive,” said Calty Studio Chief Designer, Ian Cartabiano.

In their research, designers noticed that basecamp for Gen Y explorers was often the destination. Cherished experiences were had in and around this basecamp, usually at their vehicle’s tailgate or hatch.

The rear hatch is a modern engineering marvel. Called Multi-Hatch, it opens two ways: horizontally in Urban Mode, and vertically in Outdoor Mode.

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.

Whenever the FT-4X finds some heroic scenery, a GoPro® HERO5 Session™ camera built into the driver’s side rearview mirror can capture it all.

The cabin is sectioned into threes: Clean Zone, where the front passengers sit, and where rugged floor mats and door sills were inspired by Japanese sunoko slatted wood flooring; Wet Zone, also characterized by all-weather mats (where passengers can stow damp swimsuits/snow clothing or muddy boots) and located just behind the front seats, as well as below the rear second row bench seat; and, Rear Cargo Zone.

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.

The rear door handles serve as impromptu water bottles. Armrests have USB outlets and big, rotatable window switches. And, much like the rear’s ceiling-mounted removable flashlight, the dome light can serve as an exterior locator or beacon.

An ultra-compact The North Face® sleeping bag fits neatly between front passenger seats, and functions as an armrest that’s strapped atop an extra-large console.

A removable multimedia audio system is part boom box, part in-dash stereo and engineered with an extra-large handle grip (ala exterior door handles).

Although there’s no traditional navigation screen, designers did include a mobile phone mount directly above the driver’s digitized cylindrical instrument cluster. The concept being that a downloadable navigation application, as well as an application showing digitized off-road instrumentation, can be made available for drivers’ use. Gen Y-ers, Calty’s designers realized, rely heavily on their mobile devices for GPS directions.

Toyota says the FT-4X could potentially employ a small displacement 4-cylinder engine. Being equipped with mechanical 4-wheel drive and selectable low-range would further accentuate the FT-4X’s character.

Could something like the FT-4X join Toyota’s lineup? Well, the TNGA C-Platform is already used for the new Toyota C-HR (right), so perhaps there’s room for another compact crossover with a bit more waku-doki?

News source, photos and video courtesy Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. Additional photos from Newspress.

Story © 2017