Toyota Unveils the Urban Utility Concept

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Yesterday, Toyota unveiled its  Urban Utility concept vehicle – or U2 – at a panel discussion hosted by Make: magazine in San Francisco. The Urban Utility concept car will make its first public appearance at World Maker Faire in New York City on Sept. 20 and 21.

Developed by Toyota’s Calty Design Research, which recently showed the FT-1 at Pebble Beach (check out Phil Ruth’s interviews with the staff), the Toyota U2 concept features an open architecture, meant to “redefine urban utility.”

The roof rolls back and the tailgate folds down into a ramp, and the interior is fully customizable thanks to a versatile rail system that can hold bike stands and storage baskets. The front passenger seat is designed for folding, or easy removable. A retractable utility bar can hold a desk or grocery bag hooks, and the side windows flip up fro easy access from outside.

The U2’s most prominent design feature is the boxy rear third, which should emphasize the car’s storage capability. Rear glass slides into the tailgate, and the ramp feature has protective, replaceable ridges.

“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.”

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Craig Fitzgerald

Craig Fitzgerald

Writer, editor, lousy guitar player, dad. Content Marketing and Publication Manager at

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