Toyota FT-CH Concept: Up Close

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Toyota is dedicated to the idea of a real hybrid car that’s smaller, more efficient and more affordable than the Prius, but the FT-CH Compact Hybrid itself seems like it’s mostly a concept. For one thing, the company described the car here as “fragile” and won’t open the doors. There’s also little detail on the hybrid system.

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Beyond that, it’s pretty wild looking. Wild styling doesn’t always stay on the drawing board, but the dramatic bends in the FT-CH’s sheet metal and its bubble rear window aren’t cheap to manufacture. The car is 22 inches shorter than the Prius from bumper to bumper, its wheelbase is 6 inches shorter and it’s significantly lower-slung, but somehow it seems quite large from some angles. Perhaps that comes from the fact that the front bumper, hood and windshield are practically on the same plane. It’s also roughly as wide as the Prius, which is a midsize car.

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A peek in the window shows four seats with decent room, courtesy of wheels that are just inches from the bumpers. The thin, lightweight seats are a good idea, but they’re the kind of thing that never seems to get past the concept stage.

Photo of Joe Wiesenfelder
Former Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder, a launch veteran, led the car evaluation effort. He owns a 1984 Mercedes 300D and a 2002 Mazda Miata SE. Email Joe Wiesenfelder

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