This week the international motor show scene has shifted to Japan and while much of the new metal at the Tokyo Motor Show is destined for the domestic Japanese market, there are also cars that preview or at least hint at, future European models.
Posted here are some of the highlights from what is one of the most wide-ranging shows around.
This is the Mitsubishi E-Evolution – yes, it’s the brand’s first Evo model for years. But while the old Evos were rally replicas with big wings, this is a four-wheel-drive coupe-like SUV with an electric powertrain. Apparently it forecasts a new direction for the brand while not previewing a specific model.
Mazda Vision Coupe and Kai
Mazda pulls out the stops for its home show and two new models are attracting a lot of attention. The Vision Coupe (above) is one of the most striking cars at the show. Officially Mazda says that it previews the next version of the brand’s ‘Kodo – Soul in Motion’ design language, with a more minimalist theme. Beyond that, little is being said – certainly no mechanical information on the car, and no clue as to whether it might hint at a future sports car Mazda is known to be thinking about…
The future for the Mazda Kai (below) is much more predictable. Officially it’s a ‘compact hatchback that heralds a new generation of inspired vehicles’ – but most observers believe it will evolve into the next Mazda3, expected in 2019.
Honda Sports EV and Urban EV
Is Honda about to make a successor to the iconic S2000? Apparently not, though comments by the brand’s high-ups at the show suggested such a car is not out of the question. These two are the Sports EV and Urban EV concepts. The latter is significant as its previews a production electric car that Honda intends to put on sale first in Europe, in 2020. The Sports EV suggests a future electric-powered performance car, though there is no current confirmation it will reach production.
Toyota TJ Cruiser
Can an SUV also be a van? Toyota thinks it could, and this concept, the TJ Cruiser, is it. The ‘crossover genre concept vehicle’ apparently ‘represents the harmonious balance between the roominess of a cargo van and the powerful design of an SUV.’ The T stands for ‘Toolbox’ – showing how the vehicle can be used for work, and the J for the ‘Joy’ of going visiting in the car. And it’s a Cruiser because all of Toyota’s SUV models are.
Toyota GR HV
This is Toyota’s other major concept unveiled at Tokyo, the GR-HV. It’s designed to prove that a sports car can also be eco-friendly, though no performance figures have been revealed. The GR-HV boasts both design cues and powertrain elements evolved from the TS050 hybrid car that Toyota races in the Le Mans 24 Hours, while one other race-bred element is the H-pattern gearbox selection. Will it reach production? No clues, though Toyota is known to want a successor to sports models such as the Supra.
Subaru is certainly suggesting exciting future cars with this concept, the Viziv. It showcases the brand’s legacy, being both all-wheel-drive and powered by a ‘Boxer’ flat engine, but apart from that we are not being told much. Seasoned observers suggest this could hint at the shape of the next WRX.
The next big thing in SUVs? Suzuki is showing the E-Survivor, a convertible SUV that is stripped down so much it could almost be a dune buggy. The electric all-wheel-drive model could also suggest elements of future versions of the brand’s well-known Jimny and Vitara models.
Tokyo Show suggests more Nissan Leaf models – click here
Tokyo show debut for flagship Lexus LS+ concept – click here
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