Japanese manufacturers go all out to impress with a fascinating selection of concepts
Taking in the best that Japan’s indigenous car makers can produce along with a fascinating slice of the country’s unique car culture, the Tokyo motor show is viewed by industry figures and journalists as one of the most interesting on the show circuit.
It only happens once every two years, and 2017 is the year for the 45th edition. What have been the highlight cars there?
Toyota TJ Cruiser
The TJ Cruiser concept flagged up a possible new look for rugged lifestyle SUVs bearing the Toyota badge. Its boxy look was modelled on a tool chest. Its chances of making production rest on public reaction.
Bringing back the iconic Evo name, sort of. It’s actually a pure-electric, four-wheel-drive SUV-coupé concept designed to usher in a new range of SUVs being developed in the new Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.
Honda unveiled its Urban and Sports EVs. The Urban EV has already been givven the green light for production in 2019, with the hot Sports EV possibly becoming real a year after that. Shorter than the Jazz supermini, the Urban EV retro city car will be Honda’s first EV for the European market.
Subaru’s concepts have a habit of reaching the showrooms without too much dilution, which will be good news in the case of the chunky Viziv Performance concept. It’s a strong pointer towards the next-generation WRX, and will have Subaru’s iconic ‘boxer’ flat-four petrol engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive.
Suzuki’s wacky looking e-Survivor is intended to presage the future of small SUVs like the Jimny and Vitara. It has an electric motor on each wheel.
The autonomous IMx concept from Nissan signals the company’s intent to release an EV crossover in the form of a 2019 Leaf SUV.
Mazda wowed the crowds with two striking concepts. The Kai is a preview of the next-gen 3 hatch due in 2019. It’s longer, lower and wider than the current model and incorporates many neat touches from earlier concepts, like the Ferrari-ish rear lights. The Vision Coupe is an Aston Martin-rivalling GT embodying Mazda’s ‘less is more’ Kodo design language.
Daihatsu DN Compagno
Daihatsu’s big presence included this old-school DN Compagno coupé inspired by the company’s original 1963 Compagno. With a choice of two small engines it’s aimed at ‘active seniors’ who want more colour in their post-retirement lives.