Toyota FT-4X concept could spawn a production model

It will slot betwen the C-HR and the RAV4.

Toyota and Mazda are joining forces to build a factory in Huntsville, Alabama, and they're beginning to talk about what they plan to build there. While full details remain under wraps, we know the partnership won't lead to a pair of badge-engineered models.

Toyota originally announced plans to build the Corolla in Huntsville, but it back-pedaled and said it will use the facility to make an SUV not currently part of its line-up. Mazda hasn't changed course: it still plans to manufacture an SUV. The two models will be "developed independently," according to Mazda, meaning they won't be identical, but they'll share a number of components under the sheet metal to streamline the manufacturing process, and help both brands benefit from economies of scale.

Car & Driver believes Toyota's SUV will draw inspiration from the FT-4X concept (pictured) introduced in 2017. It will fill the void between the C-HR and the RAV4. The concept's rugged, off-road-esque design will carry over to the production model, but it won't be a true off-roader. Don't expect Toyota to come out with a Jeep Wrangler-like model positioned as a follow-up to the FJ Cruiser.

Mazda's model will slot between the CX-5 and the CX-9. Possibly called CX-7, Car & Driver believes it will be aimed at the Honda Passport and the Chevrolet Blazer. This positioning suggests it will be a little bit bigger than its Toyota-badged cousin.

The Huntsville, Alabama, factory is scheduled to make its first car in 2021, meaning the cars built there will likely break cover in 2020.

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