How do you build a non-minivan minivan? That was the project given to Calty Design Research, Toyota's California design studio and the company's California-based Advanced Product Strategy group. While minivan customers are a loyal lot, strategists found, new buyers are few and the average owner is 51 (the new 31, if you believe the New York Times). Tasked with developing a vehicle with three rows of seats that appeals to a younger audience, the teams came up with the F3R, which debuted in Detroit this week. Touted as a genre-busting hauler with a distinctive shape, a lounge-like interior with track-mounted flat-panel video screens, and a hybrid-drive powertrain, the F3R could hearken a new, upmarket family cruiser from Toyota to rival the Mercedes R-Class. Nonetheless, Toyota officials say the first one to call it a minivan gets a punch in the mouth.
The Toyota F3R Concept, Dugan! [internal]