Adventure Awaits -- Introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Future Toyota Adventure Concept (FT-AC) raises the bar on on-road/off-road vehicles.
In the 1950s, Toyota established a foothold on the global stage thanks in large part to the practical appeal of its rugged FJ Land Cruiser. Japan’s response to America’s Jeep and Britain’s Land Rover helped pave the way for the company’s phenomenal success that was to follow.
So perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, building on this deep tradition, Toyota intends to raise the bar on on-road/off-road vehicles once again. And it’s blazing this new trail precisely when consumer demand for such experiential SUVs is surging to an all-time high.
Say hello to the Future Toyota Adventure Concept!
Fittingly, FT-AC made its debut in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show, where many of that mega metro area’s residents escape to the mountains, deserts or beaches for much-needed weekend recharges after a long week of work.
“FT-AC is a catalyst,” says Jack Hollis, Toyota Motor North America group vice president and general manager, at the unveiling. “It’s both the invitation and the medium for breaking day-to-day routines and embracing the unexpected, helping users to be active, to explore and to take their journeys even further.”
Ready to Go -- FT-AC is designed to haul all types of adventure gear and has a bike rack that can be stowed when it's not in use.
A Bold New Concept
It’s important to emphasize that FT-AC is not a production vehicle. But make no mistake: This concept clearly signals where Toyota is heading. And, in turn, it suggests where its customers will be able to follow.
It certainly looks the part. FT-AC rides on a long wheelbase with a wide track, emphasizing its powerful stance. Note, also, the wide black front grille flanked with bright LED headlights. And its extra-wide fender flares, which provide body shielding, float above 20-inch wheels and beefy all-terrain tires.
Front and rear skid plates help protect its short front and rear overhangs. Its generous ground clearance means it can take on a wide array of off-road obstacles.
“And if you’re wondering about the color combo, it’s called Prospect Green with Fortress Gray accents,” Hollis says. “It’s guaranteed to look even more phenomenal when it’s splattered with mud.”
But it’s FT-AC’s long list of super cool features that really set it apart. Take for example:
Bring it On -- FT-AC will likely incorporate a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system with variable terrain-response settings and four-wheel lock functionality.
What About the Mechanicals?
- Multipurpose fog lights — These can be removed from their pods to illuminate a campsite or be attached to a mountain bike for the occasional night ride.
- Infrared cameras on side mirrors — These can record trail runs and, like the fog lights, can be removed and used to document off-vehicle adventures.
- Safari-style cargo roof rack system — Designed to haul all types of adventure gear. LEDs at its front corners provide ambient lighting around the vehicle, brighten the trail ahead or can serve as a flash for the infrared cameras. Rear-facing LEDs also aid nighttime visibility and can be controlled by via smartphone.
- Wi-Fi connectivity — Footage captured by the cameras is automatically uploaded to cloud-based storage and can be edited and posted via a mobile device. The same connection can also be used to livestream the off-road fun to social media fans and followers.
- Integrated bike rack — Always at the ready, it can be stowed away when not in use.
As it is a concept vehicle, Hollis didn’t reveal what lies beneath FT-AC’s buff bodywork. But he hinted it’d likely incorporate a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system with variable terrain-response settings and four-wheel lock functionality that maximizes traction across many types of terrain.
“We also envision that FT-AC would offer a hybrid powertrain option that provides fuel efficiency as well as rugged grunt,” Hollis says. “Who says a hybrid can only play on pavement? Better dynamics, more power and capability, and helps improve fuel economy — all without compromise.”
“Be it biking, hiking, kayaking or having a meal in the middle of nowhere, FT-AC has all the ingredients for your next adventure,” he adds.
By Dan Miller