Toyota Urban Utility U2 Concept
With the popularity of food trucks everywhere, the growth of street markets and vending is inevitable. No longer the domain of county fairs, people flock to street gatherings to enjoy the wares of local wares and craftsmen, along with innovators, inventors and DIYers. Nearly every city has huge events, sometimes attracting hundreds of vendors, and hundreds of thousands of attendees.
Toyota is appealing to these Maker Faire types with it’s new Urban Utility (U2) concept vehicle; a vehicle the automaker says is a reaction to the growing entrepreneurship that is transforming cities everywhere. Toyota said that the U2 is designed to “reflect the lifestyle and needs of the entrepreneurial, urban driver.” It fits snugly into the small SUV segment, where vehicles offer greater utility with a smaller footprint. It is small but spacious, with good fuel economy, easy maneuverability and convenient loading and unloading.
The Urban Utility indeed has some quirky features that would make it perfect for crafty types. It seems to have been influenced by a myriad of utility vehicles, from food trucks to commercial vans, with a hint of the Nissan Pathfinder and the Honda Element. It’s filled with interesting multi-tasking tricks that seem functional.
It is the size of a compact car, but offers the functionality of a small truck. It’s got a rollback roof- the retractable panels slide to allow access to the open air or to increase storage height. Rear panel windows pivot up and out of the way, just like a food truck’s. Side windows also flip up to offer easy access from the roadside. The tailgate folds down into a ramp, similar to that of a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
Design-wise, it’s a little odd-looking, some might say “bloated” but Toyota calls it “playful.” Inside, the digital dashboard is minimalist style. A unique shifter design comes with an innovative switch for gear selection.
On the passenger side, there is a flexible, retractable utility bar that can support a makeshift desk with laptop or grocery bag hooks. That passenger seat can be removed altogether to create more space. In the rear is a configurable rail system to hold baskets or bikes, and the rear seat can be folded up and out of the way.
The U2 is not limited to work. Toyota thinks that it would be perfectly suitable for play too. That customizable rail system would work perfectly well for tying down or holding up sports equipment and bikes.
The Toyota Urban Utility concept will be unveiled to the public at the World Maker Faire in New York in September.
By Linda Aylesworth – car-news.ca