Exclusive: Toyota FT-4X at the 2017 New York Auto Show

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In a sea of luxury and sports car unveilings, Toyota stole the limelight.

Unlike Detroit and Chicago, the New York and Los Angeles auto shows are known for their high-end vehicle unveilings. It comes at no surprise that one of the biggest markets for luxury automakers would also be the venue where Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Rolls-Royce and others choose to debut their rides. That being said, this year’s biggest attention-grabber doesn’t belong to Porsche or even Audi but good ‘ole Toyota!

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After unveiling the very mainstream Camry in Detroit, and the utilitarian RAV4 and Sequoia in Chicago, Toyota needed a little color and pizzaz for the Big Apple. What a better way to wow the ‘Yota loyalists than with a hardcore off-road concept, right? Say hello to the cute-yet-rowdy Toyota FT-4X concept.

FT-4X stands for Future Toyota-Four-Wheel Drive Crossover, and it’s the creation of Toyota’s Calty Design Research Inc. in Newport Beach, California. Yes, like most “far-fetched” vehicles today, the FT-4X is directed at millennials who want the best of both worlds: a comfy and sleek city ride, but also a rugged and capable off-roader.

“As designers, we’re investing deep thought into the emotional connection with our cars,” said Calty President, Kevin Hunter. “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. 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 stands 63.9 inches tall, is 167.3 inches long, and has a wheelbase of 103.9 inches. Furthermore, it sports 18-inch wheels wearing custom 225/55R-18 Goodyear All-Season tires, which look more than capable to do their fair share of trail exploring. The “Multi-Hatch,” opens two ways: horizontally in Urban Mode, and vertically in Outdoor Mode. Urban Mode splits the hatch in half and makes for easier curbside gear loading when clearance is limited. Outdoor Mode opens the one-piece hatch upward, creating an impromptu shelter from the elements.

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Albeit a concept, we could assume the FT-4X could potentially employ a small displacement four-cylinder engine. According to Toyota, a mechanical four-wheel drive and selectable low-range system would further accentuate the concept’s always-ready character. Perhaps a punchy, low-displacement engine could provide exceptional usability and efficiency in congested city streets and open muddy trails.

Would you want the FT-4X to make it into production?

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