The essential Toyota values of roominess, style and environmentally advanced performance come together in a dynamic new way in the F3R, the latest concept vehicle from Toyota. The surprising F3R, which made its debut at the North American International Automobile Show in Detroit, is an exercise in providing maximum space, efficiency and athletic style from the combined concepts of "box" and "wedge". It is a creative, sporty extension of a concept all but forgotten in today’s automotive world - that of the minivan. The project was a joint undertaking of Calty Design Research Inc., Toyota’s California design studio, and the company’s California-based Advanced Product Strategy group. It was commissioned because of changes in the minivan market.
Cartabiano and Schneider began the project by listing positive attributes of the minivan. These included its space efficiency, versatility, roominess, handling, fuel effienciecy and ride quality. "We wanted to keep those, but we wanted to add styling and image. We needed performance and aggressive, upscale styling to attract male buyers, young professional women and families", said Cartabiano. "So the challenge was to revitalize what a three-row vehicle could be. We needed to appeal to more people, with more functions for the lifestyles of buyers who are outside the definition of the usual minivan buyer. This vehicle needed to show the advantages of what three rows can do as a way of serving a market that’s mostly being ignored", said Schneider.
To create that extension, the design team came up with three very modern looking sets of seats for the Toyota F3R. Each is unique, composed of modern, metal-edged bottoms and asymmetrical backs whose symmetry is completed by semi-integrated headrests. They can provide roomy, comfortable seating for eight adult passengers. Up front, the driver’s seat reclines and swivels, and the passenger seat reclines to form a comfortable chaise. In the middle, the right and center sections of the 40/20/40-percent second-row seats fold into the floor and the left-hand seat reclines fully to form, with the rearmost or third row, an avant-garde sofa built around the sort of conversation area you might find in an upscale home. This is surrounded by a casual, wrap-around backrest formed by the continuous, flowing curve of the instrument panel, doors and rear seatback panels. These are accented by fiber-optic lighting panels in the seat sides, and in the Toyota F3R’s right-center grand entry, that can be lit to provide illumination during lounge chat sessions.