• Truck Rewind: Toyota FTX Concept: What the Tundra was Meant to Be


    The Toyota FTX Concept pickup truck debuted at the 2004 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) and quickly garnered accolades for its design and utility. Like the Nissan Alpha-T Concept which debuted three years earlier at the NAIAS, the Toyota FTX concept represented forward thinking, capability, utility and a ground shaking design. While the second generation Toyota Tundra, which came out in 2007, looked a bit like the FTX concept, it was nowhere near as daring as the original concept.

    Click (here) to read about the Nissan Alpha-T pickup truck concept.

    Toyota’s North American-based research and design center designed the Toyota FTX concept and added a unique V-8 hybrid gas-electric engine. It was supposed to give the truck V8 grunt while getting V6 economy. Judging by our current batch of V6 truck’s economy numbers, it may not be a great marketing idea to laud those figures.

    Other notable design cues:

    • A component hidden under the rear skid-plate holds an air compressor and electric outlets that work off an independant electric generator.
    • A ramp is stored just beneath the tailgate. The tailgate folds out and connects to a ram, this ramp can extend all the way from the tailgate to the ground.
    • In the bed, there is a collapsible storage box that can fold away completely when not in use.
    • There is a 3D centrally located information screen on the dashboard.

    Toyota calls their interior design motif the “Flying T” theme. It is still modern-looking by today’s standards while providing an industrial-like utility cockpit. The back seats fold away and, according to Toyota, look like fold-away seats that were styled after high-end recreational boats.

    Since the Toyota FTX concept debut, many Toyota fans have wanted the same truck that debuted in 2004 at the NAIAS. There are still a multitude of Toyota fans who want a truck that looks like the concept – at the very least. It’s doubtful that the V8 hybrid they envisioned back then will see production, but ideas like the tailgate ramp, folding cargo tray and air compressor/generator certainly have merit.

    Personally, I feel that Toyota missed a golden opportunity to turn truck design on its head back then.

    What do you think?


    Nathan Adlen
    Nathan Adlen
    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.

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    23 thoughts on “Truck Rewind: Toyota FTX Concept: What the Tundra was Meant to Be

    1. Now that Ford has announced their hybrid, Toyota may very well have theirs in the works. They’ve hybridized everything else.
      Toyota does it better. They just need a fully boxed frame and some aluminum.
      30 MPG all day long, with great torque.
      Although looks like Jeep will come out with a four cylinder 370 hp hybrid in their Wrangler and probably their truck.

      1. Pity Toyota didn’t build it. I am sure it would have done better than Nissan did with the Titan. Help to keep the big 3 honest and give them some competition in the HD market.

        1. @Jason Scott
          Would have made them a more legitimate contender for the US market. Seems Toyota has overcome other Challenges : NASCAR; Overall US sales went past Ford, but has had a half hearted approach to the US Pickup market, although the Tacoma has by far been a leader in the midsize Pickup market

    2. Something has happened to Toyota’s light truck program as Toyota fans, past and present, would like more from Toyota, but are not getting it. My claim can be easily seen in Toyota’s lack of new features, well, actually, features pulled. Like the now defunct SC and TRD Pro, just to name a couple. Also, look at the changed tune in marketing. Yeah, there is definitely a different course Toyota is taking, yet for some reason, all Truck sites, etc. don’t have the guts to ask Toyota point blank.

      1. Very good question NoQDRTundra!

        I often ask this same question- what’s happened or happening?

        I suspect they are perfecting completely new and innovative powertrians.

          1. @NoQDRTundra
            Have not been that interested in the US Pickup market but where their US Transplant operations can help Global Sales

      2. They’re busy settling into their new digs in Texas. Hopefully the new surroundings reinvigorates their truck efforts.

      3. I can answer that in two words…”Mike Sweers”…. He went from VP of interior engineering to chief engineer in 2010. The Tundra has been on the downward slide ever since. The funny thing is that the things he did that people liked such as the rear Recliner and under seat storage are all gone now. The only thing Sweers has done for the tundra since he took over has been to find ways to make it cheaper and create new gimmicks to sell the same thing each year. You will know that Toyota has gotten serious about their Truck line when you see someone else in charge.

        1. @TheCurseofFJP: Agree on 2010 when the direction changed. In order for him to become chief engineer, someone had to vacant that position. Why would the USA light truck chief engineer of Toyota leave his position? In 2009 Akio Toyoda became president of Toyota and it’s no secret cars are his passion; google search “Akio Toyoda: Master driver, late bloomer” and the first result is an article on Akio’s driving education and the responsibility he has placed upon himself to distinguish Toyota and Lexus cars from each other. With that, my thought, which is speculation, is that Akio changed direction.

          I also agree they’re trying to make it cheaper; to recover losses from recalls and a recent settlement.

    3. I’m glad they didn’t take up this styling all the way. From the rear it basically looks like a toddler in a diaper. The way the bumper opens just makes it that much worse!

    4. WHAAAATTT? No demand for locking rear diff? That guy has been drinking from the corporate cool aid. EVERYONE has one. I just bought a full size truck and did not even look at the Tundra JUST because of that. A rear locker is 1992 technology, now its available front lockers, sway bar disconnects, sliders….Fake hood scoop, shocks and some sway bars, sounds like a 1980’s package. Good luck on that!

      1. Love my 07 Reg cab 5.7. MPG’s suck but at 155,000 plus she still runs and looks great. Still gets looks and great comments from people and she’s been paid off for years !!!

    5. 2010 5.7L with 45k on the clock. Still runs like new. Would have been nice to have locking diff option. As for the concept truck, the power in the bed and hidden ramp…..that woyld come in handy.
      I deffinatiely agree with Toyota trying to go cheep, my 06 prius interior is straight up junk. Seems like they put all of their money in developing the drivetrain and scraped togethet what they could for the inside. Ah well at least it gets good milage (46mpg with bald tires and 42mpg with new tires).
      Toyota all the way!😉

    6. As a current 2016 Toyota Tundra Platinum owner (also owned 2010, 2011, and 2014), I have mixed feelings about this aged platform. None of these trucks ever gave me any issues, and the only complaints I had with the 2010 and 2011 was the interiors were very lacking.
      The 2014+ interiors are much better than the 2007-2013, and the materials on the Platinum/1794 Tundra’s feel as good, if not better than the upscale big 3 trucks.

      I do like how Toyota tuned the 5.7, the torque management isn’t as noticeable as the big 3 trucks, the Achilles heel is it drinks gas.
      But on the flip side, Tacoma owners wanted more MPGs, and Toyota gave them the torque-less 3.5 leaving many Tacoma owners wanting the 4.0 back.

      My friends 5.3 Silverado gets a solid 3 MPG more than the Tundra, but the truck feels gutless off the line and it’s a dog towing anything more than 5k pounds.

      I agree that Mike Sweers has not done the Tundra any favors, back in 2007 Toyota pushed limits. Fast forward into Mike Sweers tenure and the truck has stagnated.

      I think Mikes approach is to fix the complaints with the Tundra with the cheapest way possible. Instead of investing in fuel saving technology, Mike gave the Tundra owners a 38 gallon tank to extend the range between fill ups.
      The Tundra could benefit from some weight reduction (heaviest in the segment), 8 speed transmission from the Land Cruiser, and Toyota’s D4S into the 5.7.

      Only thing I can say is at least Toyota has kept the fully loaded Platinum and 1794 in the low $50,000 range, unlike the rest of the competition that is pushing $60,000+. I got my brand new 2016 Platinum Tundra 4×4 every option for $45,000 OTD, my friend got a 2016 LT Z71 All Star Silverado for $38,000 OTD after rebates. The MSRP on his truck was $47,000…

    7. My Jap truck a 08 Titan with 178K with headers, exhaust, tuned still runs great and is paid off. Waiting on the new Tundra with a 8 Sp. Tranny.. just keeps running like the Yota.

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