Rugged Urban Utility vehicle is aimed at US town and city dwellers who need to carry lots of gear
Matt Burt
16 September 2014

Toyota has produced a new compact SUV concept vehicle in reaction to the growing popularity of do-it-yourself in American cities.

The Urban Utility vehicle – or U2 for short – is made from robust materials and, says Toyota, combines "the functionality of a traditional pick-up and the spaciousness of a cargo van".

The vehicle has been created by Toyota's Calty design studio in California. The concept has an open architecture and is made from robust materials. 

Among the practical features are a roll-back roof and a rear hatch that can be folded down to create a ramp. Inside, a rail system makes it easy for owners to customise the interior.

The chunky U2 has a durable underbody and bodywork and comes with customisable side panels. Exterior highlights include retracting roof panels, rear glass that can be opened and slides away, a drop-down hatch that forms a load ramp and replaceable protective ridges on the rear hatch.

A retractable utility bar can do anything from hold a desk to provide hooks for shopping bags. The side windows flip up, so it’s easy to reach into the vehicle from the roadside.

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Other highlights include a front passenger seat that can be folded or removed completely and rear seats that fold up for extra load space.

Kevin Hunter, Calty President, said U2 was a "possible future vision for urban mobility" and added: "Toyota saw an opportunity for a new approach to an urban vehicle, based on the increasing re-urbanisation of our cities, and on urban drivers’ desire for flexibility, fun and manoeuvrability."

The Toyota U2 will make its public debut at the World Maker Faire event in New York on 20 September.

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Our Verdict

Toyota Land Cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser is capable, but its rugged nature is better suited to Africa than the UK

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Driven this week