Toyota appears to be wanting to muscle in on the small European van market, revealing a compact delivery van concept this week called the Urban Utility (or U2).
Destined for the NYC World Maker Faire this month, the U2 Concept is billed as merging "the size of a compact car with the functionality of a compact truck and the spaciousness of a cargo van" - and a dash of SUV styling thrown in.
With everything ahead of the B-pillar looking like a compact soft-roader and everything rearward being, well, a box, the U2 places an emphasis on small size, but big practicality.
To maximise its load-carrying capability, the U2's tailgate hinges downward to form a ramp, the roof retracts to accommodate tall cargo, the passenger seat is removable for longer items and there's plenty of clearance between the rear arches.
The floor is also low and flat to ease loading, and a multi-purpose rail system mounted at hip-height allows job-specific racks and storage bins to be mounted.
The dashboard also features a tablet device in lieu of a fixed infotainment display, as well as an integrated desk and a bicycle-like floating centre console.
Penned by Toyota's Calty design centre in California, the U2 Concept was designed with the "desire for greater utility but a smaller vehicle footprint" in mind, with city-based small business being the target customer.
It's purely a design study for now and Toyota isn't talking about powertrain options at all (though that low floor virtually guarantees it'll be front-wheel drive), but public reaction may determine whether the USA - and Toyota is ready to follow Europe into the world of compact delivery vans.
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