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First look: Toyota aims for best of both worlds

The way ahead: FT-SX concept could preview future models like the next generation Kluger.

Toyota reveals the future of its car-based SUV philosophy

2 Feb 2005

YET another solution to the automotive world’s best-of-both-worlds quandary was presented by Toyota at the Detroit motor show, in the shape of the FT-SX concept.

This is what an advanced product strategy group and Toyota’s US-based Calty research and design centre came up with when assigned the task of creating a vehicle that combined the ride comfort, handling and fuel efficiency of a sedan with the utility and visibility of a car-based SUV.

FT-SX was styled by 2005 US Avalon designer, 30-year-old Ian Cartabiano, and measures an imposing 4.5 metres long, 1.8 metres wide and 1.5 metres high.

Presenting a fresh corporate face for Toyota as well as hoping to appeal to young families and empty-nesters, FT-SX features a rear hatch with three opening options - the upper glass hatch pivots up, the lower hatch pivots down and the glass roof has two panels which slide towards the centre to create a loading opening and double as a rear sunroof.

FT-SX’s interior was the work of Calty’s Alberto Palma and uses natural woods, soft leathers and durable metals, plus a “60/60” driver and front passenger seat that features overlapping seat elements and armrests.

Meantime, the “flying speedboard” instrument cluster has a sporting, sleek design that echoes the exterior by flowing seamlessly into the door and interior, while the rear cargo area includes a loading tray that automatically extends when the lower hatch is opened.

According to Toyota, the FT-SX is “the emotional and powerful result of our exercise in defining a new genre and potential product direction for Toyota.

“Its surprising utility, powerful design, innovative features and luxurious comfort create the passion necessary to fulfil the requirements of its buyers in a fresh new way. In short, the FT-SX is a vehicle that delivers the best of both worlds.”

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