Admittedly designed with “outdoorsy millennials” in mind, the FT-X4 promises to provide young adventurous buyers with a new option in the small SUV market.
Imagine the transformability of the not-so-long-forgotten Honda Element mixed with the off-road running gear of the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk; back it with Toyota’s reliability and off-road heritage and you might just have a winner on your hands.
With the promise of a fuel efficient 4 cylinder engine, a “true mechanical” four wheel drive system, tow hooks and over nine inches of ground clearance; Toyota could easily surpass the capability of Jeep’s entry level off-roaders (Renegade and Compass) – especially if the mechanical 4-wheel drive includes a true gear reduced low range, something the two small Trailhawks are lacking.
The FT-X4 (Futre Toyota Four Wheel Drive) has a modular interior that allows for maximum cargo and adventure gear hauling, as well as, ample cargo tie down hooks.The rear hatch opens vertically like most small crossovers, but also has the ability to split down the middle and open side to side – barn door style. Each of the rear doors has a temperature controlled compartment; one hot, one cold, for keeping your adventure provisions from spoiling. Cargo tie-down hooks can also be found on the roof of the FT-X4, in addition to an external power outlet for roof top tent camping with all of your electronics.
The interior includes a lot of gimmicky outdoorsy things like The North Face sleeping bag arm rest, mobile device mount for GPS-ing, integrated water bottles and removable LED dome lights. Take a hint from Jeep, Toyota; removable led domelights that doubled as flashlights worked so well in the Jeep Patriot that they stopped putting them in for the last few model years and no one knew they were gone.
Focus, instead, on making an incredibly capable and efficient mini-off-roader; I can bring my own sleeping bag and flashlight, thanks. (You can leave the mirror mounted GoPro though – as long as I can start filming from the driver’s seat).
The FT-X4 is sadly just a concept vehicle, but hopefully a sign of more entry level TRDpro type vehicles to come from Toyota’s off road side.