Next month, the little Toyota wagon concept you see here will make its global debut at Toronto’s Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS), signaling Toyota’s intent to move into the small van/utility vehicle segment currently dominated by Ford’s Transit Connect, Nissan NV200 (and its mechanical twin, the Chevrolet City Express), and Ram’s Promaster City.
Toyota is coy about details, but to our eyes the Urban Utility (dubbed U-squared) looks to be based on a front-wheel platform with the ground clearance of a small crossover, so our guess is if you lifted the body off you’d find a lot in common with the RAV4, or even one of the brand’s Japanese-market vans, like the Noah. When we asked Toyota for specifics, a company spokesperson told us “the… U2 Urban Utility concept is completely conceptual and not based on any existing Toyota model.” Whatever its underpinnings, a four-cylinder engine is an easy guess, the 2.5L from the RAV4 being a good fit for the segment.
Of the few design elements we can see in the single image Toyota provided, our favourite is the T-O-Y-O-T-A name spelled out across the front; that and the false waterfall grille (sort of) bring to mind an old-school Land Cruiser, and the days before the brand’s stylized “T” logo. Nifty features name-checked in Toyota’s press release include retracting roof panels and a “uniquely” configurable utility rail system, which the automaker says makes the U2 “a concept vehicle… limited only by the imagination.”
We expect we’ll learn more at the CIAS reveal, so stay tuned for our coverage of the auto show, which opens to the media on February 11 and throws its doors open to the public the following day.