Interviewing Toyota's Jack Hollis about the brand's latest SUV concept
Toyota has launched a squadron of SUV crossover trial balloons at recent auto shows, with the Future Toyota Adventure Concept, or FT-AC, being the latest. We caught up with Toyota general manager Jack Hollis right after his enthusiastic introduction of the concept to get a few more details on this latest conversation starter.
More Doable than FT-4X
When pressed about the FT-AC’s prospects for production, Hollis said: “I don’t like doing concepts just for concepts’ sake,” and also admitted that this concept was “more doable” than the New York show concept, FT-4X. We expect elements of the FT-AC’s design to be scaled down and applied to the next RAV4 (as shown, it splits the size difference between the RAV4 and Highlander).
Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications are all the rage, but the FT-AC wants to extend the usefulness of the connection to its users’ phones and cloud storage accounts. Its detachable cameras can store and/or stream to the web, whether attached to the car or detached and mounted to bikes or helmets when adventuring. Also, leveraging the onboard Wi-Fi connection, the various lighting elements can be used for flash photography by the cameras and triggered by a cell phone.
Weekday Comfort/Weekend Ruggedness
The design intent for the chassis tuners is to ensure the FT-AC delivers a comfortable, supple ride for weekday commuting to work, with sufficient ground clearance and tractability from the torque-vectoring all-wheel drive to access your favorite base-jumping/kayak-launching/backpacking-trailhead locations.
Floating Fender Flairs
The castellated fender flares actually stand proud of the bodywork by a finger width or so, which would likely complicate cleaning and waxing the body and would doubtless be an aero killer. But when we suggested to Hollis making them telescopic to cover variable tire sizes, his eyes lit up! (Don’t look for anything like this happening, fixed or telescopic.)
Not a CALTY Design
This design sprang from internal competitions involving California CALTY design center and others in Japan. There was even some collaboration with vehicle customizers.
Interior Coming Soon
The show car in LA was a shell with opaque windows, but Hollis promises that an interior is being designed to incorporate as much innovation as the current exterior is demonstrating.
Learn more about the Toyota FT-AC right here.