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?

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.