Makers, meet your DIY dream car. Toyota’s Calty Design Research Studio just unveiled its brand new Urban Utility concept car – an ultra flexible vehicle with a transforming interior designed to meet the needs of today’s on-the-go makers. Toyota packed an amazing amount of space into a footprint the size of a compact car. The U-squared can seat up to four passengers, or you can fold down three seats and roll out an array of racks, movable rails, and storage trays that can accommodate everything from surfboards and bikes to bulky equipment (like your homemade tesla coil). Inhabitat is reporting live from San Francisco today to bring you a first look at this uber-customizable car – read on for more details!
According to Toyota, the Urban Utility concept is “the size of a compact car with the functionality of a compact truck and the spaciousness of a cargo van.” It’s designed specifically for cities – hence its small size and agile turning radius – yet it has a tall profile that maximizes available cargo space. Toyota has not revealed a potential drivetrain for the vehicle, although the automaker does suggest that it would have “good fuel economy.”
Makers crave creative freedom and customization – and the Urban Utility’s transforming interior meets these needs perfectly. The front passenger seat can be removed entirely, and the rear seats deftly fold away to provide more trunk space. Need to fit a flat of 2x4s? Simply stow away a seat or two. Hitting the beach for a surf session? Strap your boards to the top rack. Hauling delicate equipment to a gig or exhibition? Break out the vehicle’s bevy of racks and strap systems to safely secure everything away. A retractable utility bar on the dash can be outfitted to hold a tablet, a desk or a set of grocery bag hooks, and a rear utility rail slides out to secure baskets or bike stands.
The vehicle’s futuristic exterior incorporates a smart set of features as well – the tailgate folds down to create a ramp for offloading heavy equipment, and panels on the roof retract to provide additional clearance for tall objects.
“Toyota saw an opportunity for a new approach to an urban vehicle based on increasing re-urbanization of our cities and urban drivers’ desire for flexibility, fun and maneuverability,” said Kevin Hunter president of Calty, Toyota’s North American design studio.
Photos by Mike Chino for Inhabitat