But is that a good thing?
Clearly the Toyota FT-4X Concept is not a direct successor to the FJ Cruiser, but it is an intriguing thing nonetheless. Following its debut last week at the New York Auto Show, Toyota is still gauging public opinion as to whether or not it deserves the production green light. Speaking to CarAdvice, Toyota’s studio design chief in California, Ian Cartabiano, confirmed the concept is “75 percent” production ready. “We can make this thing,” Cartabiano stated.
“We have a good record with concept cars. If the reaction is good, you never know what’s going to happen. We don’t make these fluffy concept cars that have no purpose to go anywhere. You know the record of Calty (Toyota’s California design studio) concept cars, FJ Cruiser, FT-X becoming the Tundra, FT-1, C-HR.” Now that a sizable chunk of the design is established, which elements will remain and which will be left on the drawing board? The rear dual-action hatch, which can be lifted upwards or opened barn door style, is likely to remain. “The hatch could be doable, but obviously we’d have to engineer a few issues out. We got it to work mechanically on this concept. At Toyota, if we want to make something, we can. We just need that push.”
Also noteworthy is the fact that designers started at the rear, focusing on a functional tailgate, and went forward from there. “Being the designer of the C-HR, I always imagined it as the city mouse, with the FT-4X as the country mouse. They’re very similar, but this car has more interior volume, and more usable space. It’s mission is different,” Cartabiano summarized. But one thing is absolutely clear: “This is not a Moab rock crawling car.”