Enthusiasts had been penning renderings of a wild new FJ Cruiser for months, but what has come out is a novelty soft-road concept that is more Jeep Renegade than anything else. The bright red tow hooks should be a dead give-away.
Using limp catchphrases such as ‘Casualcore exploration’ and ‘Rugged charm persona’ to sell it, the FT-4X is a showcase of kooky ideas dreamed up by the designers at Toyota’s CALTY Design centre in California, the same studio that brought us the last FJ Cruiser.
“You can really tell that we had a blast designing the FT-4X because it looks fun to use and fun to drive,” described CALTY Studio Chief Designer, Ian Cartabiano. “I love this idea of mechanical satisfaction, because while we’re living in today’s digital world, we took something that’s based on physical movements and made that a large part of what this vehicle is. We want everyone to interact with this car and feel a sense of delight and excitement.”
So the FT-4X is purely a design concept, but the press information does mention it ‘could’ be powered by a low displacement engine and selectable dual range driveline. It is loaded with cool, functional interior quirks, but nothing we haven’t seen before.
The concept is just something to gauge customer feedback to see if there’s any scope for a future model like this. We doubt the reaction from off-road enthusiasts would be too positive, though.
At least the US designers had fun producing the non-functioning concept, but we reckon the Australians at Toyota Australia’s design studio would have had more fun penning, engineering and testing the awesome Tonka concept they showed off to us at an off-road course last month.