Making its first public appearance at World Maker Faire in New York City on Sept. 20 – 21, 2014, the Toyota Urban Utility – or U2 – Concept features an open architecture and robust materials that reflects the no-nonsense style and needs of America’s new urban DIY movement.
The main inspiration came from the do-it-yourself movement, which is enjoying a big revival in American cities, where a new breed of entrepreneur is taking a can-do approach to urban regeneration.
Toyota’s Calty design studio in California has spoken to people attending the hugely popular Maker Faires across the country and has used their views to help create a new small SUV, the Urban Utility concept car – U2.
The vehicle has compact dimensions and many practical features, combining the functionality of a traditional pick-up and the spaciousness of a cargo van.
The exterior was designed for city life and is characterzied by a highly durable underbody and a tough with customisable side panels.
The look is described as “modern and characterful, too, evident in details such as the slightly chunky proportions and circular doorhandles.”
Other highlights include a roll-back, retracting roof, an opening rear glass that features replaceable protective ridges on the tailgate and can slide into the drop-down tailgate that can be lowered to form a load ramp.
The interior is essential and modern. The instrument panels features a multipurpose, retractable utility bar that can be used for various tasks, from holding a desk to providing hooks for shopping bags.
The instrumentation is minimal, with the main controls integrated inthe fabric-covered steering wheel and cockpit element, and other functions available on the dash-mounted iPad/tablet.
The side windows flip up, in order to mae it easy to reach in from the roadside.
The automatic transmission is operated through a shift with a new design with an intuitive switch for park, drive and reverse.
Both the front and rear passenger seats can be easily folded up and/or removed and the cargo area has a rail system that allows further customization to allow “plenty of gear and equipment.”
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.”