Cool stuff from the other side of the world
Honda Sports 360
Ken Okuyama Tractor
Toyota Hybrid House
Toyota Japan Taxi
Toyota FCV Concept
DENSO Communications Robot
Nissan NV350 Caravan
Bridgestone Airless Tire
Nissan IDx Freeflow NISMO
Volvo Concept Coupe
Citroën C4 Picasso
Daihatsu FC Deck
Daihatsu Deca Deca
Mitsubishi EK Space Custom
Mitsubishi Concept AR
- Daihatsu Kopen
- Subaru Levorg
- Honda Sports 360
- Honda S660
- Honda Vezel
- Honda Tiller
- Ken Okuyama Tractor
- Toyota Hybrid House
- Toyota i-Road
- Toyota Japan Taxi
- Toyota FCV Concept
- Toyota FV2
- Nissan NV350 Caravan
- Isuzu MX-U
- Volvo Globetrotter
- Suzuki Hustler
- Suzuki iV-4
- Renault DeZir
- Renault Captur
- Nissan IDx...
- Nissan BladeGlider
- Volvo Concept Coupe
- Citroën C4 Picasso
- Lexus LF-NX
- Lexus NXB
- Daihatsu FC Deck
- Daihatsu Deca Deca
- Volkswagen XL1
- Takayama Cars
- Mitsubishi EK...
- Durax D-Face
Daihatsu recently ended production of its Copen mini sports car, and the Kopen concept—complete with new spelling—looks to be its replacement. It uses a three-cylinder engine, and its plastic panels can be popped off and replaced, similar to Smart’s system, if you want a quick colour change.
It’s always fascinating to see what’s on the other side of the world, and for that, we visited the Tokyo Motor Show, which opened to the press on November 20. Come with us and see what we found!
The Levorg is a midsize model that looks like someone mated a WRX with a Legacy wagon. It goes into production next year, with a choice of 1.6- or 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. While it would be viable for us, Subaru Canada says it doesn’t have current plans to offer it here.
Back in 1962, Honda debuted this snazzy little roadster at auto shows, but it never went into production. The company recreated it, and presented it at the show as a teaser for another model …
Paying homage to the Sports 360, the S660 two-seater mini sports car will go into production, and probably won’t be far off the concept that was shown. The name refers to its 660cc engine, which puts it in the small-footprint, small-engine, and tax-advantageous “kei-car” segment. Alas, with such a small engine, we won’t see it over here.
But we will see the Vezel, according to Honda Canada, although possibly with another name. It’s the production version of the Urban SUV Concept the company showed in Detroit earlier this year. Based on the Fit platform, it’s smaller than the CR-V.
In addition to vehicles and motorcycles, Honda also makes equipment, and we couldn’t resist a shot of this 1966 tiller, the first diesel-powered version the company made. Who wouldn’t want to tend a garden if you owned something like this?
Japanese designer Ken Okuyama, who has worked with Porsche, GM and Pininfarina, showed a tractor alongside three of his race car designs. We like the tractor best!
Toyota’s large booth included a small house, garden, and even a full-size tree, complete with a plug-in hybrid charging up. The homeowners and postman are simultaneously cool and a little bit creepy.
The three-wheeled i-Road electric trike has a steering wheel inside. Turning it turns the rear wheel, and then the vehicle leans to provide the proper angle to get around a curve. The company plans to build it for the Japanese market.
Taxis are very common in Tokyo, but most of them are brand-new versions of much older designs (think whole fleets of 1980s-style cars!). Toyota’s JPN Taxi concept runs on compressed natural gas and could conceivably change the face of the country’s livery services.
A few manufacturers are working with hydrogen fuel cells, and Toyota says it’s planning on launching a version of this one around 2015. The FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) concept has a range of about 500 kilometres on a tank of hydrogen, which fills in about three minutes.
Toyota continued its line of concept vehicles with this three-wheeled number, which concentrates on futuristic driving. It doesn’t have a steering wheel; instead, you shift your body to steer it, or to go forward or in reverse. It also communicates with other vehicles and with infrastructure, warning drivers of other vehicles even before they’re in the line of sight.
We just couldn’t resist taking a shot of this tiny fellow. According to the sign, this concept device “provides information in accordance with the driving situation,” and “will also talk to the driver to prevent careless driving while the car is running stably.”
We currently only get two of Nissan’s NV work vehicles in Canada, but there’s a wider range of them in overseas markets. This one’s called the Caravan Transporter and contains a row of seats.
The seven-passenger MX-U is the first SUV the company has sold in global markets, and it’s now on sale in Australia and Thailand.
Unlike most North American shows, the Tokyo event doesn’t just showcase passenger vehicles. Considerable floor space is devoted to large trucks and buses, tire companies, and components manufacturers.
A concept that looks production-ready, the Hustler is a mini-SUV that uses a three-cylinder gasoline engine equipped with the idle-stop feature so common on vehicles here in Japan. Another display showed the Hustler outfitted with a tent on the back for camping.
First shown at the Frankfurt show earlier this year, the iV-4 somehow translates into Grab Your Field, which, the sign explains, combines “the ideas of achieving a unique lifestyle while enjoying ground-covering driving that strongly grabs the surface of the field.”
Arguably the hottest-looking concept at the show, the DeZir is also all-electric. The company says you can go 160 kilometres on a charge.
Sold in several countries, the Captur is available with a gasoline or diesel engine, and with a stick shift or dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Bridgestone has been working on airless tires for a while, and this concept tire is the latest version. A tire with this construction couldn’t go flat, and would never be under-inflated.
What would you get if you asked younger drivers for their input on the vehicle they’d like to drive? Nissan found it would be the IDx Freeflow. Designed to appeal to the generation born after 1990, dubbed “digital natives,” the IDx was basically designed for a small engine with CVT. But the company also handed it over to its NISMO division, which turned out this version, which would undoubtedly accept a turbo version with manual transmission.
One of the more unusual concepts at the show was the BladeGlider, a bottle-shaped car with electric propulsion. The company says it could well pave the way to a production version, too, and sign us up for the test-drive, please. By the way, that’s the regular IDx Freeflow in the background
The grille was stolen from a 1955 Nash, but we still think Volvo’s new coupe is stunning. Based on the company’s new scalable product architecture, which will form the basis of new models, this is the first of three concepts that will “reveal the design possibilities” created by the new platform, the company says. Expect to see shades of this concept in the new XC90 that will debut next year.
Compact and midsize “people movers” are very popular in overseas markets. The Picasso holds seven people, but moves them all with just a three-cylinder turbo engine. It’s also packed with stuff, including adaptive cruise control, and a lane departure warning that vibrates the seatbelt if you cross the white line.
Expect to see a production version of the LF-NX here, the company says. First shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show, this compact SUV carries a new 2.0-litre turbocharged engine.
For those days when you just don’t feel like firing up the car, Lexus has presented a concept mountain bike, the NXB. The bicycle’s carbon fibre body is made with some of the machinery originally used to create the LFA sports car.
Okay, so maybe the BladeGlider wasn’t the oddest thing at the show. According to the awkwardly-translated press kit handed out, the FC Deck uses a “liquid fuel cell that is suitable for mini passenger vehicles is loaded.” As with some other automakers, Daihatsu is looking at the FC Deck’s fuel cell as a source of electricity not just for the vehicle, but for stationary use to power homes—an important consideration in Japan, where earthquakes frequently disrupt the electricity supply.
The press kit says, “This vehicle is a moving playroom for grown-ups who seek freedom.” We just think it’s kinda cute.
VW says it’s going to make 250 production copies of the XL1, a plug-in hybrid that uses a diesel engine and can apparently travel 100 kilometres on a litre of fuel. It’s no powerhouse—zero to 100 km/h takes just under 12 seconds, and its top speed is 160 km—but it sure looks cool.
The representatives spoke no English, and we don’t speak Japanese, so we don’t know much about these very odd cars—but we couldn’t resist a picture of these electric vehicles.
The new EK Space is a mini-minivan, with sliding doors for easy access to the rear seats. Those in back can even get meal trays, complete with cupholders, for lunch on the go. The Custom model beefs up the bling with fog lights and a chrome grille.
Making its world debut at the show, the Concept AR uses a 1.1-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine with mild hybrid system. The interior contains six seats, but two can be removed if more cargo space is desired, and the front seats can be rotated to face the rear if you want to converse with your passengers when you’re parked.
Still mourning that Isetta you should have bought, but didn’t? The D-Face concept is electric, and its two passengers enter through the front hatch, which is hinged at the top like a liftgate. It’s all part of the fun at the Tokyo show.