TOYOTA has teased yet another SUV-styled concept car that looks to be an advance on the chunky, angular FT-4X concept shown at this year’s Detroit Motor Show.
What’s not clear, though, is whether this is an advance on the Toyota CH-R based FT-4X, or heralds a potentially larger, more lifestyle focussed RAV4 replacement for the US market. We should know soon, though, as the car is slated to have its global reveal at the LA Motor Show late this month
Dubbed the Future Toyota Adventure Concept (FT-AC), the heavily blacked-out rendering shows the front end of a rugged-looking SUV form sitting between plumped guard extensions. Of note, though, is the light treatment; what appear to be LED headlights are framed in distinctive stacked daytime running lights, while a row of driving lights sit above the windscreen – you won’t mistake it for anything else in the rear-view mirror if the concept’s form makes its way into a future road car.
We can speculate, though, that this is potentially our first look at what could become the next Toyota RAV4 as the Japanese car maker positions itself to take on a raft of much more premium-feel rivals including the Mazda CX-5 and the Hyundai Tucson – both of which outsell the Toyota – and the Nissan X-Trail and Subaru Forester.
The fourth-generation RAV4 was released in 2013, and potentially still has a couple more years to run before being replaced by an all-new model that should shift to Toyota’s TNGA platform that currently sits under the Prius hybrid hatch and the C-HR compact SUV. Other cars to adopt the new hybrid and battery power-friendly platform include the now fully imported Toyota Camry, due on sale in Australia soon, and the upcoming Toyota Corolla small hatch and sedan.
The RAV4 is a key member of Toyota’s passenger car line-up. It has traditionally been outsold by the Corolla and the Camry, but with the car maker shutting down Australian production in October and switching to a potentially more expensive source for the Camry – the model has also potentially lost the support of government buyers who heavily favoured Australian-made cars over imported models – the mid-size SUV’s contribution to Toyota’s number one status will only grow in importance.