Toyota Urban Utility Concept created for creators
Set for its public debut at this week's Maker's Faire in New York City, the Toyota Urban Utility Concept is an idea-rich one-off designed to "reflect the lifestyle and needs of an entrepreneurial, urban driver." The Urban Utility Concept - aka U-squared -- was created by the firm's Calty Design Research operation in Newport Beach, California, using input gained from a series of interviews with participants at Maker's Faire (an expo of crafts, arts and do-it-yourselfers) as well as from an in-house market research. The result is an user-friendly vehicle that matches contemporary style with ultimate re-configurability and tosses in good fuel economy and in-town agility for good measure.
Looking towards tomorrow
"Toyota saw an opportunity for a new approach to an urban vehicle based on increasing re-urbanization of our cities and urban drivers' desire for flexibility, fun and maneuverability," said Calty president Kevin Hunter of this exercise in possibility thinking that has the footprint of a compact car, the utility of a small truck and the interior space of a cargo van.
To fully leverage the potential of its boxy exterior design, the Urban Utility Concept features retractable roof panels and a tailgate that can be extended into a ramp. The vehicle's city-centric theme also incorporates things like customizable side panels with flip-up windows, easy-grab circular door handles and a robust underbody design capable of staving off damage from potholes.
Practical and fashionable
That same kind of Maker's mentality is equally evident inside of the Toyota Urban Utility Concept, starting with its foldable/removable front passenger seat and rear buckets. A retractable utility bar and rail system plus various overhead bin/rack/elastic band options promote easy and secure storage of any number of items while its unique dash/console layout, tablet-based touchscreen display and wide choice of available colors/materials add even more personality to the package.
"As more products are developed expressly to appeal to Makers and their deep appreciation of design esthetic combined with open architecture and practical utility, we expect to see more trusted brands like Toyota take an unconventional approach to not only product development but their marketing and launch strategies," noted Sherry Huss, VP and co-founder of Maker Faire. While there's still no word as to if or when we might see a production version of the Toyota Urban Utility Concept turn up in showrooms, we do know it will be heading back to Calty following its appearance in The Big Apple.
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