Toyota decided to end the run of the FJ Cruiser back in 2014. Even since, Toyota enthusiasts have been waiting to see if a replacement comes down the pipe. The future FJ could be what Toyota showed off today at the New York Auto Show, as it unveiled its new Toyota FT-4X Concept. Then again, it may not be the successor to the FJ Cruiser at all.
We first spotted the FT-4X badge in patent filings last October, but it wasn’t until recently that we actually found out what it is. Of course, the FT has traditionally referred to “Future Toyota” so that part was telling, but whether it was a legit FJ Cruiser replacement or option remained to be seen. In some ways, we’re still not fully sure, because the FT-4X, though clearly aimed at an off-road user, is actually a 4×4 crossover and not a traditional body-on-frame SUV like the FJ Cruiser.
Toyota’s Calty Design Research Inc. in Newport Beach, California, helped design the FT-4X, which rides on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) C-Platform. The aim of the buyer is a Gen Y explorer and not so much a hard-core off-roader, and Toyota explains that the design team actually started designed with the rear of the vehicle rather than the nose or profile because research indicated that this buyer sees base camp as the destination to which they are traveling, so the vehicle’s tailgate is where they’ll spend a great deal of time.
“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,” said Calty president, Kevin Hunter. “We focused on how a crossover vehicle can add fun and value to casual adventures both in and out of the city, thinking about how someone would use it, and what they would love to do with it.”
The FT-4X is 63.9 inches tall, 167.3 inches long and 71.7 inches wider, and it rides on a 103.9-inch wheelbase. The “Multi-Hatch” rear is unique in that it opens both horizontally in “Urban Mode” and vertically in “Outdoor Mode,” both of which are selected by a rotatable hatch lever. Urban Mode splits the hatch in half and makes it easier to load gear curbside when clearance is limited. In Outdoor Mode, the one-piece hatch opens upward to create a pop-up shelter when needed.
The FT-4X isn’t just designed with an off-road look, as Toyota designed it with “generous approach and departure angles,” though those specific specs aren’t yet detailed. There’s three cargo zones inside broken up into the Clean Zone, Wet Zone and Rear Cargo Zone. The Clean Zone houses the front passengers, while the Wet Zone also boasts all-weather floor mats and is located just behind the front seats (a stash area for wet or muddy gear), and the Rear Cargo Zone features flat floor and topside tracks for securing cargo. There’s a deep storage compartment underneath the cargo zone by sliding the floor out toward the Multi-Hatch.
Toyota didn’t elaborate much on the power train other than noting it would be a low-displacement, four-cylinder engine.
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