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Toyota FT-4X concept – you can cut the disappointment with a knife

The New york Auto show is currently going on, and there has been quite the buzz created around Toyota’s FT-4X concept. Rumours that it was shaping up to be the FJ Cruiser replacement and a potential rival to the new Jeep Wrangler and yet-to-be-built Ford Bronco were flying around automotive circles thick and fast. The anticipation was palpable…

…the reality was a huge disappointment.

Make no mistake, this is no hardcore tourer, nor is it even designed to take on much beyond a well-graded dirt road. It’s just another execrable “crossover”, but hey, at least it has red tow hooks.

Look, I can’t blame Toyota for bringing this concept out. It has all the hallmarks of appealing to Millenials who live in densely populated urban areas and occasionally want to drive to a well-bollarded car park at the start of a bushwalking track or park up on a slightly sandy grassy embankment before hitting the beach. It has plenty of gimmicky tech that would make you feel like you’re driving a cross between an Apple store and a North Face outlet (which makes sense seeing North Face actually had a hand in the design).

There is a “smart-phoney” gauge cluster, an armrest that doubles up as a sleeping bag, a stereo that is removable for parties with your similarly self-described “adventurous” mates, windows that can be popped out and swapped for clear, tinted or just left out altogether, a tailgate that can be opened either as barn doors or a hatch, door handles that are actually water bottles (seriously?), rear seats with more foldability than a gymnast, GoPro-integrated rear-view mirrors and (gasp) there’s even low range!

Nevertheless, this is much more Rav-4 than FJ Cruiser, and it’s certainly no contender against a Wrangler. Still, there is a certain appeal to a fuel-efficient small 4X4 with city traffic manoeuvrability, low-range capability (even if it’s modest) and Toyota reliability. So I guess we don’t exactly hate the idea. It’s just that we were so hopeful for more.

27 Comments

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  • Enough soccer mom’s and urban survivalists will think this makes them “rugged” that Toyota will only keep making these decisions.

  • I’m a millennial and I am deeply disappointed in this. I want a proper short-wheel base 4wd with a real low range and locking dif from Toyota. A manual and a diesel would be nice as well. I guess I’ll be in the market for a used FJ cruiser.

  • Well I don’t like it and I don’t like the general trends in current “Off Röad” designs. I didn’t like the FJ either as it seemed completely pointless as this one does for Australian driving.
    I have just spent 6 weeks travelling europe and the UK (Rural and City) and there really is no market as far as I can see for an actual 4×4 in any of the places I went. There are some small markets for small rural farmers but realistically they use a tractor as the land areas small ( a few hectares) and major commercial farms have high quality internal roads.
    There is almost no where to get off road for the”average owner but horse paddocks get boggy in winter and all wheel drive is a great idea in snow and ice.
    So in the absence of an actual opportunity to get off road and a shift is major consumer markets the trend seems to be to make the vehicles a fashion statement in each sector. Cannot blame the designers for trying to follow major market volumes but it is really sad for us as what we need gets lost due to our small market size. Some one needs to tell the distributors that what we need are vehicles spec’ed and made for Africa and the Middle East not Europe or the US.
    But hey it is a “CONCEPT”. Let the poor buggers have a bit of fun.

  • Well I have a 27 year old Nissan Patrol GQ that is still far better than this concept vehicle, never mind I will still keep my money in the bank.

  • Wow, so many haters. This is a concept people. It’s meant to be shocking to get chins wagging. You can be sure of one thing, if Toyota make it, it will sell. They’re not number 1 for no reason. Haters bagged out the new Hilux too and what do u know? It’s the best car in the country. Open your minds people, the future is coming.

  • we all know that all the shiny new 4×4 are seen dropping the kids off at school you’ know look at me ‘ look at me’ me thinks this Toyota will will be rav ed about may even get the GOLD FINGER kids will love it its got the Lego look

  • I remember seeing the RAV4 concept vehicle, it was also out there, but had to have one, did, but was not as wild as the concept.

  • Does anyone remember the Homer Simpson series where Homer is given the responsibility of designing a new car? Homer’s relative owned the business that went bust as a result of Homer’s design and production.
    Was Homer on the STEERING COMMITTEE in Toyota’s new baby?

  • My god that is one ugly duckling – and that’s from someone who has owned two 40 series, one of them did the full lap including Cape York and the Canning. They’ve lost their way, my god they’ve lost it completely. They are obviously targeting a group never targeted before.

  • I thought the FJ Cruiser was ugly enough, but it looks like they are trying to out do themselves with making it even uglier

  • Just a little bit narky I thought. Nothing good?. Or was it not supposed to be a balanced review? Of course we all know the reliability of Jeep. Just left wondering. Just some balance please in the review, but don’t expect much more from the nibblers and the end. Come for me. I won’t read it.

  • Another case of designer doing what he wants, not what the customer wants. Any vehicle with tow hooks factory fitted sends signal of FAILURE off road. Trash.

  • Well after the design of FJ cruiser, what could we expect. Underneath they may be good vehicles, but maybe sack designers and get some more.

  • Looks like Toyota and been blessed by the “Fugley” stick, in the bush it would be as handy as a back pocket in yer underpants

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