Speculation

Toyota seeks Trailhunter trademark, but for what?

Is a production version of the Toyota FT-4X Concept on the horizon?

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Earlier this year, Toyota made news with the revelation that they'd put in a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the phrase "Grand Highlander". Now, the company is making news for another trademark filing. This one is for the word "Trailhunter".

The trademark of "Trailhunter" was applied for under the "Automobiles and structural parts thereof" section of the application for a word mark as a standard character mark. This is identical to how the RAV4 Prime application was filed in November 2019.

It is different than other automaker trademark requests. For example, Ford Motor Company applied for the "Bronco Sport" work mark with a much broader specified area of commitment for the words:

"Land motor vehicles, namely, passenger automobiles, pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles; land motor vehicle parts for passenger automobiles, pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles, namely, shock absorbers, shock absorbing springs, vehicle anti-roll bars, braces for suspension struts, exterior metal decorative and protective trim, exterior plastic extruded decorative and protective trim, differentials, gear shifts, hoods, fascia, steering wheels, seat trim, parking brakes, wheels, brake discs, brake calipers, brake pads, engines, engine or motor mufflers, exhaust pipes, exhaust headers, air intakes, oil fill caps, coolant fill caps, engine valve covers, ignition coil covers, radiators, and exterior insignia badges"

The "Trailhunter" mark is currently in the 1B stage of the trademark process.Following the initial filing the USPTO reviews the application. From there, it is decided whether or not the application will be approved. Upon approval, the mark is published for opposition reaction. If it passes without opposition, a Notice of Allowance is issued. From there, a statement of use needs to be filed, then reviewed before the trademark is officially filed.

If the mark is not initially approved, there is a rebuttal process and subsequent amendments to the initial filing are allowed. After that process is complete, the Notice of Allowance can be issued, or the trademark request can be rejected outright.

For the "RAV4 Prime" mark, the entire process took about a year with the mark published for opposition in February 2020 and the registration was completed in December 2020. The "Bronco Sport" mark was published for opposition in April 2020 and has yet to reach the final approval stage.

So, what does it mean? Nothing is official yet. Some think that the Trailhunter may be a new small SUV that is trail-ready in the vein of the Ford Bronco Sport. I may line up against the RAV4 line the Escape and the Bronco Sport align in the Ford lineup. A few years ago Toyota debuted the FT-4X Concept, a four-door four-wheel drive crossover.

Toyota FT-4X Concept

Toyota FT-4X Concept

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

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On the other hand, Toyota has been playing with the word "trail" for the 2021 model year, giving the Tacoma, Tundra, and Sequoia Trail Edition variants.

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The Ascent got updated styling and fresh tech.

Subaru

Subaru's lineup is full of useful, adventure-ready vehicles, but most are not accommodating for full-size families. The Ascent solved that issue for the automaker a few years ago, and has been a popular family option since. It got a mild update for 2023 with a facelift and new tech. The Ascent comes in five trims: Base, Premium, Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring. It's expected to go on sale in fall 2022.

The Subaru comes with a new front fascia design that adds a new grille and aggressive styling up front. Lower air ducts help improve aerodynamics, and in higher trims the components come with chrome trim. The SUV's C-shaped taillights got a refresh as well, and now feature a sharper shape to better match the vehicle's overall styling.

2023 Subaru AscentThe new front fascia design is more aggressive than before. Subaru

The Ascent's powertrain remains in place, which is a turbocharged 2.54-liter four-cylinder making 260 horsepower. It sends power to all four wheels through a continuously variable transmission that offers a simulated eight-speed manual shifting mode. Subaru's X-Mode driving mode comes standard, which alters throttle response and other vehicle behavior to maintain traction in slippery conditions. Torque vectoring, which allows the vehicle to shift torque between wheels that need it most, also comes standard.

A new Onyx Edition trim joins the Ascent line for 2022. It brings a standard 11.6-inch touchscreen with navigation, a Harman Kardon sound system, power seats, and a panoramic sunroof. The base Ascent comes with features such as 18-inch wheels, USB inputs, tri-zone automatic climate controls, three rows of seating, and a whopping 19 cupholders. Subaru also offers an optional Cabin Connect system, which allows the driver or front passenger to communicate to people behind them through the stereo using a front-cabin-mounted microphone.

2023 Subaru AscentThe Ascent's interior is available with great tech, such as an 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Subaru

Subaru EyeSight safety equipment comes standard with every Ascent. The system is improved for 2023 with a wider field of vision and new software. A new wide-angle camera joins EyeSight's existing two-camera setup to provide better pedestrian and cyclist detection when approaching intersections. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, and lane change assist are available.

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The 2023 Crosstrek starts at $23,645.

Subaru

Subaru is one of the best at listening to its customers' needs, and the Crosstrek is a great example of that mindset. It's a useful vehicle with plenty of interior space and enough ground clearance to take its passengers well of the beaten path. Today, Subaru announced pricing for the 2023 Crosstrek and Crosstrek Hybrid. The duo will go on sale this summer.

Subaru CrosstrekThe Crosstrek's cabin is adventure-ready and packed with great tech. Subaru

The standard Crosstrek starts at $23,645 before destination and the Crosstrek Hybrid starts at $36,845. Five trims are available for the standard model, including Base, Premium, a new Special Edition, Sport, and Limited. The Hybrid comes in a single trim level. All Crosstrek variants get all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring and 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

The Base, Premium, and Special Edition trims come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 152 horsepower. The Sport and Limited trims get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 182 horsepower. Most models come with a continuously variable transmission, but the Base and Premium trims come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. The Crosstrek Hybrid comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with two electric motors. The plug-in system can deliver 17 miles of electric range.

Subaru CrosstrekThe Crosstrek delivers 8.7 inches of ground clearance.Subaru

True to Subaru form, the Crosstrek comes with a full suite of advanced driver aids, including automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure alerts, adaptive cruise, and more. These features are only available for CVT-equipped models. The Limited trim and the Crosstrek Hybrid add automatic high beams, reverse automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

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