Japanese design is as weird and cool as ever.
The annual Tokyo Motor Show is where, obviously, Japanese automakers present the country's very best and latest. Both concept and production cars are present, but it’s the former that we really ought to pay attention to the most. Not only do they preview future new models, but they have some of the most outlandish designs. Often times the styling is hit or miss, but we picked out five, in no particular order, from this year’s show that are not only cool but will more than likely end up in dealer showrooms.
Mazda became an expert at contradictory statements over the past couple of years regarding the possibility of a new rotary sports car. A successor to the famed RX-7 and RX-8 was what fans wanted, but Mazda refused to give a simple and straight answer. One manager said "no," while some designer said the opposite. Perhaps it was all one big gag. The RX-Vision Concept can be summed up in one word: gorgeous. Mazda, this car needs to happen. Just saying so (again). Pictures courtesy of Chester Ng.
We heard rumors not so long ago that Toyota was considering a sub-GT86/FR-S sports coupe. Apparently those weren't just rumors. While everyone was talking about the Supra successor, Toyota quietly penned the S-FR Concept. If Toyota can make this happen with a reasonable sticker price, sufficient power, and a fun-to-drive factor, then the Mazda MX-5 Miata might have some real competition.
Subaru has always been known as an honest automaker that builds honest cars. The Impreza 5-Door Concept may just have the most honest car name in history because that’s precisely what it is: a five-door concept. More importantly, it provides a clue about the next generation Impreza (and WRX STI?) that’ll debut as a 2017 model late next year.
Apparently that massive spindle grille isn’t going anywhere. Either you like it or you don’t, but the Lexus LF-FC Concept is certainly a bold four-door coupe. It’s packed with high-tech features and is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. More importantly, what you’re looking at it is a clear preview of the next LS flagship that’ll take on the likes of the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Nissan is clearly taking a much bolder approach to its styling lately. Just look at the new Maxima. We dig it, and the new IDS Concept previews the next generation Leaf. Now, we never liked the current Leaf’s styling. It looks more like a golf cart than anything else. And that’s a shame because its EV tech is actually quite impressive. Based on what we’re seeing with the IDS Concept, the next Leaf may not be so embarrassing to be seen in.
Honorable Mention: Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo. Although it first debuted at Goodwood last summer, the Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo made an appearance at Tokyo. And it was red. We love it. Nissan, this needs to be the next GT-R.