The new Toyota FT-AC Concept (Future Toyota Adventure Concept) did excite and thrill many when it was unveiled at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. The third small SUV concept that Toyota unveiled this year was designed for those with adventurous lifestyles but still have to be connected to the online world. Now, it appears that the FT-AC Concept would soon be developed for production with a market launch seen to happen in the next few years.
Jack Hollis, General Manager for Toyota Motor North America, told Motor Authority that for the next few years, the Japanese carmaker is planning to create and introduce a small SUV as inspired by the FT-AC Concept. Presently, Toyota’s crossover and SUV offerings include the C-HR, RAV4, 4Runner, Highlander and Sequoia, as well as the largest of them all, the Land Cruiser. In terms of size, the FT-AC would belong to the same segment as the C-HR, making it sit below the compact RAV4.
At first glance, offering a production version of the FT-AC and the C-HR would mean that Toyota is having two products in the same segment that might cannibalize each other’s sales. But as Hollis put it, the situation in the near future could be the same or similar to the 1990s, with Toyota offering more than one vehicle in each segment if they are distinct enough. This means that the FT-AC production version would be greatly differentiated from the C-HR.
To note, Toyota has released three SUV concepts since April – the FT-4X Concept (Future Toyota - Four-Wheel Drive Crossover), the TJ Cruiser concept, and the FT-AC Concept. Each of these concepts has different designs, different attitudes and different markets – all pointing to the direction by which Toyota plans to go in the future for its SUVs. According to Hollis, these concepts were made to "test the waters” in the market and obtain feedback from potential customers. It seems that among these three, the FT-AC Concept got the highest vote of approval from consumers, prompting Toyota to plan and work to make this study a reality.
As per Hollis, the FT-AC production version would be underpinned by Toyota’s TNGA platform, which means that it wouldn’t be a hardcore body-on-frame vehicle but would be a unibody vehicle rather than a hardcore body-on-frame vehicle. The current C-HR comes in gasoline and hybrid version, while the FT-AC production version will be powered by an inline-4 engine. However, Toyota said that the concept could be powered by a next-generation hybrid powertrain. Moreover, the FT-AC production version will be a front-wheel drive SUV as standard, with an available all-wheel drive system.
Hollis disclosed that the FT-AC production version will have a starting price of less than $20,000, which means that it is more affordable than the Toyota C-HR that has a base price of $22,500.