Designers at Toyota’s Calty studio in California have created a new small SUV that they say has been inspired by America’s new and growing urban DIY movement.
Having researched the movement by speaking to people attending the popular Maker Faires across the country, the designers then came up with a concept for an urban utility vehicle that they have subsequently dubbed the “U2”.
The car’s body has an open architecture and is made from “robust” materials in an attempt to reflect a “no-nonsense” urban style, says Toyota. From a practical perspective, it incorporates a roll-back roof and a tailgate that can be folded down to create a ramp. A rail system means owners can further customise the interior.
Kevin Hunter, Calty President, said: “Toyota saw an opportunity for a new approach to an urban vehicle, based on the increasing re-urbanisation of our cities, and on urban drivers’ desire for flexibility, fun and manoeuvrability.
“Calty keeps a number of projects concealed while it explores ideas and projects. Revealing something like the U2 gives people a window onto the constant innovation that is happening inside Toyota and our studios, and a possible future vision for urban mobility.”
According to Toyota research, the fast-growing market for small SUVs seeks greater usefulness, but within a smaller vehicle footprint. Packaging-wise, the U2 is therefore the size of a compact car, but at the same time it aims to offer the functionality of a traditional pick-up and the interior space of a cargo van.