Toyota’s latest concept car is not an autonomous city runabout and it doesn’t come from Tokyo. It is a panel van, designed and introduced in California. It’s called the Toyota U2 (squared) which stands for Urban Utility, and it is apparently inspired by the do-it-yourself movement.
True to its name, Toyota Urban Utility features a new open architecture and purposeful materials which make it very flexible. The designers have studied the needs of urban dwellers and came up with an all-encompassing solution to make their lives easier.
Depending on your needs, you can roll back the roof, fold down the tailgate into a ramp and customize the interior on a versatile rail system. It also has retractable utility bar that can serve unique uses, such as holding a desk or grocery bag hooks, and side windows that flip up for easy access from roadside. And it does all that while remaining fairly compact and efficient, because Toyota’s studies have shown that small footprint is an important factor in an urban utility vehicle.
Toyota Urban Utility Concept will make its public debut at World Maker Faire in New York City on Sept. 20 and then return to the Calty studio in California for more research.
“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. “Calty keeps a number of projects concealed while exploring ideas and products. Revealing a project like the U2 gives people a window into the constant innovation that happens inside Toyota and our Calty studios and one possible future for urban mobility.”