Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., unveiled the FT-SX concept at a press conference today at the 2005 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
"The FT-SX concept was developed to explore a totally new genre to help create a bolder, more decisive image for Toyota," said Don Esmond, senior vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. "It is a concept aimed at young families looking beyond the traditional passenger car or SUV and boomers seeking a stylish and refined reward vehicle."
The FT-SX concept was developed by Calty, Toyota's North American-based, research and design center located in Newport Beach, CA and the TMS Advanced Product Strategy Group. The team was assigned the task of creating a vehicle combining the ride comfort, handling, and fuel efficiency of a sedan with the utility, spaciousness and visibility of a car-based SUV.
"With the FT-SX, we studied the finest attributes of Toyota's successful passenger cars and SUV's and took it to the next level," said Kevin Hunter, vice president, design and studio activities at Calty Design Research, Inc. "We began with a totally new silhouette and package, lower and wider than an SUV, but taller, more comfortable, and more versatile than a sedan. Add a powerful V6, all-wheel drive, 21-inch wheels, four doors, a large, multi-function glass roof and an innovative rear hatch and you have a vehicle with exceptional functionality."
The exterior design concept of the FT-SX was the creation of 30-year-old Calty designer, Ian Cartabiano, who also designed the all-new 2005 Toyota Avalon. When undertaking the FT-SX project, Cartabiano envisioned a powerful design that would create excitement for both young families and empty-nest boomers, with a fresh styling identity for the Toyota brand.
The exterior theme of the FT-SX is bold, simple and powerful. At more than 15 feet in length, over six feet in width and over 5 feet in height, the FT-SX delivers a stance that is both sleek and imposing.
The face of the FT-SX is an all-new expression for Toyota. Defined by the alignment of the headlamps, Toyota badging, and grille, the new "T-Face" establishes a memorable design theme for Toyota's future. The headlamps connect seamlessly with a bold new grille. Deep hood sculpting is achieved with unbroken lines elegantly sweeping down from the upper edge of the A-pillar, through the grille, and down the bumper, wrapping back around the front wheels, giving the FT-SX a wide, dynamic image presence.
The profile of the FT-SX is long and sleek. A dramatic, arching roofline conveys versatility, while a fast angle, "coupe inspired" greenhouse and D-pillar suggest sporty performance. Clean and unadorned, the strength of the modern profile flows from center to rear, tying in wide, sculpted wheel well flares. Strong rocker character lines wrap around the entire car, providing a look of stability. The beltline's unbroken, razor sharp edge carries back to the exhaust.
In the rear, the tail lamps sweep around the beltline to emphasize a wide, stable stance. The FT-SX features a clean and taut surface accented by a full width exhaust in the lower bumper. A smoothly integrated rear wing extends from the belt line continuing the body side motion past the rear glass.
The innovative rear hatch offers 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 center, not only creating a useful loading opening, but also doubling as a rear sunroof. The door handles are subtly integrated into the beltline and open the clamshell doors at the touch of a button. Deep, acrylic lamps house new LED technology to provide a "surface-through" image. Two-piece detailed 21-inch wheels provide a counterpoint to the clean body theme.
The inviting interior was created by Calty designer Alberto Palma and exudes luxury, comfort, utility, and practicality. The fresh look is achieved with natural woods, soft leathers, and durable metals. The interior features a new sense of space defined by a "60/60" feeling for the driver and front passenger. This is achieved by overlapping seat elements that create individual space giving each the impression his space is dominant. A "flying speedboard" gauge cluster surrounds the driver with a sleek, sporty design that (like the exterior) seamlessly flows into the door and around the interior. The armrests are integrated into the seats, eliminating clutter and creating a living-room effect.
The rear cargo area is designed to fit every need, displaying a high level of quality and refinement. A loading tray automatically extends when the lower hatch is opened to assist in loading large and heavy objects.
"The FT-SX is the emotional and powerful result of our exercise in defining a new genre and potential product direction for Toyota," said Hunter. "Its surprising utility, powerful design, innovative features, and luxurious comfort create the passion necessary to fulfill 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."