Toyota's FT-4X is an off-road warrior for nerdy yuppies

It might be the perfect glamping machine.

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After years of very good work, the "Toyota" name still conjures up mental images of cheap, functional econoboxes. Efforts to harness the power of cool have led to weird projects like the FJ Cruiser, but we might have seen the pinnacle of Toyota's work here at the New York Auto Show. Behold: the FT-4X, a concept machine built specifically for tech-loving yuppies.

Gallery: Up-close with Toyota's FT-4X | 13 Photos


No, I'm serious. At one point during the press conference, a Toyota exec said the company met with "outdoorsy millennials in the Bay Area" to develop the FT-4X, which said exec later referred to as "casualcore." (Thankfully, the cringe-inducing platitudes mostly stopped there.)

It's hard to deny the FT-4X's chops as a nerdy ride, though: there are power outlets obscured by heavy duty flaps on the thing's roof, and you'll find a GoPro Hero5 Session wedged into the driver's side rearview mirror. You might think it'd be there as a pseudo-dashcam meant to keep track of drivers that rear-end Teslas rolling through SoMa, but not quite. Toyota says it's actually there to capture more visceral footage, like jets of mud when this thing goes off-road. Most intriguing is the spot above the dashboard instrument cluster for a smartphone to connect. Toyota says that with the help of an app (that likely doesn't exist yet), those pocketable screens will double as secondary displays for navigation and gauge readouts.

With all that tech crammed into a relatively tiny body — the FT-4X is smaller than the FJ Cruiser — it's easy to assume the interior would be a testament to modern touch interfaces. Hell no. While Toyota was hesitant to let people inside the car at time of writing, it's just loaded with knobs and handles instead of screens, all in hopes of creating a satisfying, tactile symphony. I'll be the judge of that, Toyota: just let me in the damned car.

For better or worse, the rest of the car's interior design is split between actual useful touches and yuppie wankery. The trunk door, for instance, can split into two doors that open outward — those doors also house a heater and a tiny refrigerator. This is genuinely great. Then you have the center armrest, which is actually a North Face sleeping bag in disguise. If that doesn't say everything about who Toyota thinks the FT-4X's real audience is, I don't know what will.

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