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NYIAS 2017: Toyota FT-4X Concept – Mad for Millennials  NYIAS 2017: Toyota FT-4X Concept – Mad for Millennials

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Are you the “casualcore” type? If you have to ask what the hell that means, you’re not hip enough for this concept. There’s also a chance you live outside the city, or perhaps in the suburbs, and don’t take seldom, unplanned adventures with your trendy urban buddies on their day off from PR work or coding.

If so, Toyota didn’t spare a thought about you when it crafted the promotional copy behind its new FT-4X four-wheel-drive crossover concept. Based on the same platform as Toyota’s C-HR pseudo-crossover — a vehicle that omits four-wheel motivation from its roster of options — the FT-4X is meant to be a do-anything, go-anywhere vehicle for the trendiest people you’ve ever met.

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So trendy, in fact, that you’ll need to take a Gravol just to read about them.

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Toyota claims this concept “brings ‘casualcore’ to Gen Y city dwellers.” Hey, it’s that word again! Now, here’s the definition from the automaker:

“A shift from multiday, extreme, high-effort excursions to brief, unplanned, casual adventures is an overwhelming reality for Generation Y. Millennials are fond of the outdoors, but operate almost always indoors. They enjoy venturing into new neighborhoods and national parks, but hardly plan ahead. Their countless interactions on social media bring inspiration. It is the busyness of their nonstop daily lives that pushed them past the precipice of “liking” a digital snapshot into the realm of creating their own, in reality. Their adventures begin curbside, in a parking structure, or in the depths of an underground garage.”

Had enough yet? Bent over the toilet bowl? Sick of automaker-hired PR strategists making target audiences seem like precious zoo animals with a lifestyle you want to punch? Well, so are we.

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It’s painfully obvious that Toyota wants to flesh out the lower end of its utility category by making a funky “toolbox” for “young, career-oriented urbanites.” However, when it teased the FT-4X (or a corner of it) recently, all minds were on a brawny, Wrangler-fighting successor to the FJ Cruiser. Talk of urban adventures with Brianna from sales and Kyle from marketing doesn’t exactly bring to mind the rock-crawling experience, but at least the vehicle itself seems capable.

Beneath the edgy “X-Theme” styling, designers crafted the FT-4X for simplicity and versatility. The vehicle’s rear offers a lift gate that opens two ways: upwards, like a regular crossover, or barn-door-style. Inside the cargo hold, boxes and trays abound, eager to be filled with outdoorsy cargo (and the high-tech gadgetry those crazy Millennials can’t be without!) for those unplanned, spontaneous trips to unknown locales. Your water bottles, sleeping bags and mobile devices never had it so good.

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Above the rear fenders is a removable window that can be replaced with a colored opaque panel, should you feel bored with what’s there.

Off-road prowess comes from the vehicle’s competitive arrival and departure angles, selectable low range and beefed-up double-wishbone rear suspension and McPherson front struts. Toyota won’t say much about the drivetrain of this potential future model, only that it would be a “punchy” small-displacement four-cylinder.

Though the platform is the same, the FT-4X rides two inches taller and four inches shorter than its corporate cousin. Given that Toyota brought the C-HR to crossover-hungry North American without four- or all-wheel drive, the FT-4X, or a vehicle very similar to it, seems like an obvious future addition to the brand.

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