Toyota FT-4X Is Not What You Thought It Was

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Reveal of much-hyped concept vehicle leads to collective sighs of disappointment across the Internet. But who’s fault is that?

Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green once famously (infamously?) said of his opponent, “they are who we thought they were.” But a lot of folks were saying quite the opposite, likely in just as angry a tone, when the Toyota FT-4X Concept rolled across the stage at the 2017 New York International Auto Show. Because for whatever reason, it seems they thought it would be something altogether different.

When Toyota dropped a teaser concept pic showing nothing more than a beefy tire wrapped around an attractive wheel, the Internet went wild with speculation. Further fueling that fire was the name of said concept: FT-4X. “Anything with the ‘F’ nomenclature must be a serious off-roader!” the Internet cried. You know, because the FJ did too. And the “4X” must be short for 4×4, or signal a throwback to the FJ-40, or something.

Toyota FT-4X Concept

Wrong, wrong, and wrong. The FT-4X is not a Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler competitor, nor is it a glorious return to the hardcore (or even soft-roading) past for Toyota. So what, exactly, is it? An unabashedly “Casualcore” (Toyota’s own word) ride designed to carry Gen Y city dwellers not to mountain trials, but to scenic points. Seriously.


The FT-4X is not a Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler competitor, nor is it a glorious return to the hardcore (or even soft-roading) past for Toyota.


And heck, they might be on to something. Even though us enthusiasts will bash the little SUV as less-than-stellar, it might actually sell, because the customer they’re targeting actually exists. Folks who own cars in cities often can barely afford to own one vehicle. And it needs to fit in tiny, expensive spaces. So why limit yourself to something that can only traverse paved roads and parking garages?

After all, Mr. App Developer needs to get away every now and then, head out to the beach, or maybe even a nice mountain road, breathe in some fresh air, you know. They don’t necessarily need or want to go rock crawling or desert running. And the FT-4X is exactly what they need to take a little spontaneous trip to the local trailhead.

So, the Toyota FT-4X isn’t anything like what anyone thought it would be like. But in the end, that’s perfectly OK. Because once again, the power of the Internet transformed rumors into speculation, and speculation into false hope. We certainly can’t blame Toyota for that — well, other than posting some vague teaser pic. Alright, maybe it’s their fault after all.

Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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