The name Toyota isn’t one that you’d generally associate with anything cool. The only model in the Japanese automaker’s lineup that could get remotely close to being seen as hip was the FJ Cruiser, which has now been discontinued. With styling that harks back to the classic FJ40 Land Cruiser, it had some amount of character, which is lacking from most of the other models in Toyota’s current range. So when we first saw the FT-4X concept that debuted at the New York International Auto Show, we were excited hoping it would be a replacement for the FJ. However, that excitement was short-lived, as reading through the accompanying statement we soon realised this was just a box of gizmos on four wheels that, despite a mechanical four-wheel drive system and selectable low-range, doesn’t have any real ability to venture out of the city limits.

This is clear from the great lengths Toyota’s marketing team has gone to glorify its urban credentials. Apparently their research shows the Generation Y prefers brief, unplanned, and casual adventures over multiday, extreme, high-effort excursions. Although they’re fond of the outdoors, the millennials operate indoors, says Toyota. And apparently when they want to do something more than “liking” a digital snapshot, their adventures “begin curbside, in a parking structure, or in the depths of an underground garage.” That’s very convenient, isn’t it?

So, what do these “casualcore” millennials get from their parked FT-4X? Among others, there’s the “Multi Hatch” split tailgate that can open horizontally or vertically, letting them use the rear cargo space as a party hub. There are storage compartments that can cool your drinks or heat your damp clothes to dry them quickly, door handles that serve as impromptu water bottles, armrests with USB outlets and a ceiling-mounted dome light that can be removed and used as a flashlight. If these aren’t enough, the Gen-Y urban adventurer also gets a removable armrest cover made by North Face that also doubles as a sleeping bag and a GoPro camera mounted on the external rear view mirror. Interestingly though, rather than cramming the cabin with capacitive touchscreens, Toyota has incorporated mechanical knobs, dials and levers, which will be a welcome change for the millennial nerd overdosed on touchscreens.

While there are no plans to put the FT-4X into production, we hope this design study will translate into an actual successor to the FJ Cruiser, one that doesn’t need marketing spiel to mask its off-road incompetence.

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