With removable headlamps as torches and built-in action cams, is the Toyota FT-AC concept practical or silly?
Let is be stated first and foremost: Toyota has made it very clear that this is a concept that will not go into production and it would seem that they are just testing the waters with it. Certainly, the Toyota FT-AC concept released at the LA motor show last week is interesting to say the least and whether it ultimately makes it into production (or at least aspects of it) will depend very much on whether its gimmicks can actually be used in the real world, or whether the real world actually needs them.
Firstly, it is an adventure lover's dream with built-in and electric roof rack, including a bumper deliberately designed for carrying bicycles. But, these are tame compared to some of the other offerings, which include action cams on the side mirrors to live-stream off-road excursions on social media, and head lamps that can be removed and used as torches on those camping trips away.
Now, there a few things worth mentioning here that are glaringly obvious. Firstly, which off-road African excursion will have signal enough to stream action videos live to social media? The last time Gusheshe was deep in the Kruger National Park it could barely find signal for an SMS, never mind for live-streaming. Then, answer this: Who would want to watch it live anyway, for long enough to make it worth your while having built-in action cams, whose inclusion, no doubt, will probably cost 10 times more than buying a GoPro anyway?
As for the removable torches, built-in as headlamps. Well, as convenient as they are, they are the purest form of a gimmick are they not? Why? Well, they are very unnecessary but just cool to have.
Finally, about the car itself for the moment. On looks: Its rugged enough to make us look twice and its shape is relatively imposing, if we consider the Fortuner as an alternative. But, be assured, if it ever ever arrives, it will come dressed in the most gimmick feature of them all - a gimmick paint job, inside and out, which in this instance will be lumo green with lumo yellow touches that are painted so to make us, the consumer, feel unique when we're not.
Whether its green with yellow touches, red with pink, or blue with white, it will age exceptionally badly because of misused colour - and that there is one of the most prominent features of gimmick SUVs these days, including, but not limited to, the new Hyundai Kona, Kia Stonic and the VW T-Roc, which we have all previously criticised for being too lumo and matchy-matchy.
So, if Toyota wants to do itself any favours, it should promote the practical features with a touch of innovation, but keep the gimmicks for concept use only.
Is that too much to ask?
No doubt, it will depend on the answer to this, the most real of questions: Are Toyota just responding to what the consumer want or are they deciding what that is?
We suppose we will never know.