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Toyota FT-AC Concept is a brave attempt to ruggedize a light-duty crossover

5 December 2017 - Autoblog

Toyota FT-AC Concept is a brave attempt to ruggedize a light-duty crossover

Earlier this year, Toyota showed off the boldly-styled FT-4X soft-roader concept, a vehicular Swiss Army knife with funky but charismatic styling.

The new FT-AC concept, which stands for Future Toyota Adventure Concept and debuts in LA, borrows some of the novelty without quite the same amount of charisma. Let's take a closer look.

First, if you want a quick refresher on the FT-4X, go read the reveal post and have a closer look at what might happen if it came to market (toned down for production, of course). Some of the analysis in the second piece is relevant here.

Now, back to the FT-AC. It appears to be roughly RAV4-sized, with a front end that blends that vehicle's swept-back, angry headlights with a grille that seems inspired by the Tacoma TRD Pro. The big, quadrangle foglights can be detached and used as portable lights, exemplifying the dual-purpose novelty of the FT-4X. The extra-chunky 20-inch wheels wear blocky all-season tires. The clear message here is that Toyota wants this to live in the "Proper Truck" camp of the Toyota stable, despite what's almost assuredly a carlike platform underneath.

The profile has lots of Jeep Cherokee inspiration, like the kicked-down window sill aft of the side mirrors that sweeps up as things go aft. A bit of a kink at the C-pillar is a departure, as is the complex faceting at the rear corners, and it adds some distinctiveness to the profile. Huge overfenders and the silly faux-rock sliders are campy and unnecessary, but the low-profile roof rack looks functional and slick. There's more RAV4 influence at the taillights, but there's a Volkswagen/Audi-ish look to the rear. It's more avant-garde than Toyota concepts have managed to look recently, and that's a credit to the rear design.

As far as interior and powertrain details, Toyota doesn't have many. It readily admits this is a pure design experiment, with a blue sky attitude about engine choice. Torque-vectoring AWD? Sure. Hybrid system? Why not? Doesn't matter at this point, because it isn't real.

We're hoping there will be neat, FT-4X-like touches inside and more to learn about the outside. The multi-functionality of that prior concept crossover was one of its strengths, and Toyota would be smart to play around with more novel dual-purpose items in the FT-AC concept. We'll learn all about it on the show floor and report back about what we find.

 

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