Toyota Motor Corp. in an effort to attract more outdoorsy drivers has introduced new features in their concept sports utility vehicle. The feature called the FT-AC — as in Future Toyota Adventure Concept in the SUV is a suggestion as to the direction that the company is moving with its latest bestseller RAV4. The feature was revealed at the unveiling of the RAV4 this week.
While there are some designs in the Adventure-grade RAV4 that makes it look unnatural while driving in dirt, the FT-AC feature has made it be very useful off-road. The FT-AC has front tow hooks and fog lights attached to its grilled. Other features also include beefier tires while their plates are made from chrome skid. This will make it very easy for the vehicle to transverse through rocks.
Toyota has been showing signs that they will make their RAV4 more rugged after they revamped older models like their sedan and Camry. For decades, the Japanese automaker has been known for favoring simplicity and reliability in their vehicles. They are beginning to change though as their customers ask for vehicles with more performance and innovation that will still be reliable. This statement was made by Alexander Edwards, the president of Strategic Vision Inc., a San Diego-based market research firm.
In his statement, Edwards stated that “Toyota wants to take its styling up a notch on the main models. If they offer higher trim levels that have even more extreme or advanced styling, it can really help take the brand to the next level. This is clearly the right move.”
From January to October, Toyota has sold over 350,000 RAV4s, with this figures behind only Detroit’s leading pickups as they are ranked as the top two selling vehicles in the U.S. Ensuring that they continue to lead in the SUV market will be a very hard task for Toyota with other automakers unveiling their own SUV in the ongoing Los Angeles auto show. Some of the SUVs displayed include the Fiat Chrysler Automobile NV’s Jeep Wrangler and Hyundai Motor Co.’s compact Kona amongst others.
Alan Baum, an independent auto analyst while commenting on Toyota’s latest RAV4 stated that “You can’t be too aggressive with your overall redesign because you have to avoid alienating the mainstream buyer. On the other hand, with two or three trim levels that are a little more sporty, you kick up the desirability of the vehicle.”