Compact crossovers are great everyday vehicles, but because they use all-wheel drive instead of true four-wheel drive, their ability off-road is extremely limited. Enter Toyota’s new FT-4X concept, which debuted Tuesday night at the New York Auto Show. With true 4WD and selectable low-range gearing, this concept will be very off-road capable. It's also kitted out like a rolling REI.
The door handles? They’re removable water bottles. The radio? It’s removable, too, and includes a battery so it can stream Spotify in camp. The center armrest is a North Face sleeping bag, the rearview-mirror-mounted camera is a removable GoPro Hero Session, and the dome light is a removable LED flashlight and lantern.
The idea is to create a vehicle that can work in the city day-to-day, as well as give urbanite drivers true access to the wilderness. You can parallel park it, but it can also tackle a real off-road trail.
If, or when, a production model of the FT-4X happens, it’s obviously not going to come with a removable GoPro or any of the other items. But a compact SUV with true 4WD? That’d be a great vehicle. It’d have better fuel economy than the larger and taller Jeep Wrangler, and, thanks to its car-like construction, it would actually be more spacious inside than that Jeep. Thanks to that ability to lock the speeds of the front and rear axles together, it’d also be capable of going most of the places the Jeep can go.
In short, this Toyota could be an ideal vehicle for driving in the city during the week, then heading for the hills on weekends. Fingers crossed the company makes it.