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Tokyo Motor Show – The Highlights

It must be a hard job, organising a motor show.  There’s so many of them these days and it must be tricky to stop the shows becoming a bit same old-same old.  At any given motor show, you can guarantee that there will be three things: (1) several new cars that are actually going to hit the roads will be unveiled; (2) someone will put out a great idea for a concept car that may or may not make its way into regular production but is a blinking good idea; (3) there will be some concept cars that look tacky, trashy, weird, ugly or the lot combined. In the bad old days of the 1960s and 1970s, when free love was in with neither the feminists nor AIDS to stop such things, they had nude female models attracting attention to the new cars. Thankfully, that sort of cheap shot has stopped and the show organisers have realised that – gosh golly gee whiz – women buy and drive cars, too. The Tokyo Motor Show tends to be well known for having more than its fair share of bizarre and out-there concepts, and I suspect that it is this feature that keeps the enthusiasts coming.  And why not?

With the three standard features in mind, I checked out the goodies at the recent Tokyo Motor Show to find representatives from all three categories:

The New Production Cars:

  • Honda Vezel: An SUV equivalent of the Jazz. Looks like a practical and attractive model; pity about the name, which sounds like a Germanic weasel (mercifully, there are currently no plans for a diesel Vezel – would be a good fuel but you’d feel like a twit saying it aloud).



  • Lexus RC Coupé: two-door version of the popular IS range. Super sleek!



  • Mini Cooper: The classic gets yet another reincarnation that keeps the usual retro looks but is a shade bigger than the little dinky-wee we’re used to.



  • Jaguar F-Type Coupé: This European sportster stole the show from under the nose of the local manufacturers. Powerful and with looks that are reminiscent of the old E-type, this one got plenty of people salivating.


  • Subaru Levorg: Midway between the Impreza and the Liberty, this is a “sports tourer” that has a traditional stationwagon shell hiding a fierce engine. (Better hide this one from my Subaru nutcase brother).



The Great New Concept Ideas:

  • The Toyota FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle): A sleek zero-emissions vehicle using hydrogen cell technology that Toyota hopes to add to its regular production line-up in the next three or so years. Here’s hoping!



  • Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV: GC stands for Grand Cruiser; PHEV stands for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. It’s supposed to be a Pajero upgrade.
  • mitsi gc-phev
  • Subaru Cross Sport: The makers say that this Toyota 86 competitor is a concept only but the dealers are practically begging for this sporty four-seater to go into production.



  • Lexus LF-NX: Lexus gets turbocharged in a head-turning package.



    • Daihatsu Deca Deca: The name is wacky and it the styling looks like it’s an inflated Barbie accessory (but not in pink and purple) but quite practical and not too bad.



    • Honda S660 Concept: A super-small convertible roadster that looks like a lot of fun.
  • hondas660
  • Ken Okuyama Yanmar Y Concept: Who says tractors can’t look snappy?
  • tractor
  • Mazda3 CNG: Designed to run on compressed natural gas or regular fuel, it’s a concept version of the popular Mazda 3.
  • mazda3cng
  • Mitsubishi Concept AR: a crossover between a minivan and an SUV. An intriguing idea but the colour nearly got it put in the “bizarre” category.

mitsubishi AR


  • Nissan IDX FreeFlow: Designed with the help of teenagers and a few folk in their early 20s, this is surprisingly tasteful and a tad retro.



The Hideous, Trashy and Bizarre:

  • Toyota FV2 (FV standing for Fun Vehicle): A car that’s supposed to sense your emotions and where the driver stands up and leans from side to side to steer the vehicle.  It’s not ugly but it is certainly bizarre. It also is supposed to change colour according to your feelings – a mood ring on wheels.



  • Nissan BladeGlider: Seats three, has lots of aerodynamics and an electric motor, and looks plain old weird. It’s triangular.



  • Daihatsu FC Deco Deck: It seats one person. It’s hideous. It’s impractical. Enough said.



  • Kawasaki J: A motorbike with ambitions of being a Transformer and looks very uncomfortable to ride indeed. I’m still not sure exactly where the rider goes, let alone a pillion passenger.



  • Suzuki Hustler: The name alone earns it a place in this category. So do the looks.

suzuki hustler