2005 Tokyo Motor Show Preview

October 6, 2005

Chrysler Has Something Akino for Tokyo

Chrysler has a new idea ready for the audiences that will mass for the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. The Akino concept, the company says, is a one-box vehicle that seats five people despite its compact dimensions. Named for its designer, 37-year-old Akino Tsuchiya, the concept uses natural and recyclable materials like bamboo flooring, sconce lighting, and throw rugs and pillows to create a homey interior. Tsuchiya penned the vehicle at the DaimlerChrysler Pacifica Advanced Design Center in Carlsbad , Calif. The Tokyo show opens to the press on Oct. 19.

Honda Has "FINE!"Tokyo Concepts

Honda's displays at the Tokyo Motor Show will include a new four-door concept, a fuel-cell car, and a vehicle that's designed for families with dogs. The "FINE!" theme was chosen for the display, Honda says, as it's dedication to "free thinking, intelligent, advanced technology, and exciting new designs." The Honda concept vehicles on display include:

2005 Honda Sports 4 Concept

2005 Honda Sports 4 Concept

The four-door Sports 4 Concept, which Honda says is penned to "make sure everyone in the vehicle shares the exhilaration of the drive;"

2005 Honda W.O.W. Concept

2005 Honda W.O.W. Concept

The W.O.W. Concept, geared to a "more enjoyable, dog-friendly mobile lifestyle;"

2005 Honda FCX Concept

2005 Honda FCX Concept

And the latest FCX concept, a fuel-cell sedan with a low floor, a low center of gravity, and a full-size cabin.
Mazda Offers Senku Concept for Tokyo

2005 Mazda Senku

2005 Mazda Senku

Meanwhile, over at the Mazda stand, Ford's Japanese affiliate will be showing off a new four-seat, rotary-powered sportscar concept called the Senku. The Senku (it means "pioneer") could be the foundation for Mazda's future styling themes, with a smooth aero shape with power sliding side doors. The leather-trimmed cabin sits behind a direct-injection rotary engine coupled to a hybrid power unit. Mazda says the powertrain gives the Senku a 50:50 weight distribution as well as more power than a rotary-engined sportscar could have without the electric boost.

Subaru Has Hybrid Concept for Tokyo

2005 Subaru B5 concept

2005 Subaru B5 concept

All-wheel-drive specialist Subaru is to display a "high-powered hybrid" concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show. Called the B5-TPH, for Turbo Parallel Hybrid, the three-door coupe combines a 260-hp 2.0-liter boxer engine with an electric generator/motor fitted between the engine and transmission.

The four-cylinder horizontally-opposed gas engine is not taken from an existing Subaru model. It features a Miller-cycle system, technology that Mazda flirted with in the mid-1990s in the Millenia sedan. The system improves engine efficiency by reducing pumping losses thanks to a combustion expansion or power stroke that is longer than the compression stroke.

Normally this system makes an engine sluggish at low speeds but thanks to the electric motor, Subaru says, standing-start torque is boosted even beyond that of an Impreza Turbo.

The electric motor itself produces 10 kW (13.4 hp) and 150 N-m (110 lb-ft) torque while the petrol engine has a 191 kW (256 hp) output with 343 N-m (253 lb-ft) torque.

A new type of manganese lithium-ion battery charges to 95-percent capacity in five minutes and operates not just in city driving but also when cruising. This, Subaru claims, provides a low-cost solution to giving driving enthusiasts lively acceleration and a high top speed with excellent fuel consumption and low exhaust emissions.

The design of the Subaru B5-TPH can best be described as a smooth-contoured crossover with a large tailgate, hinged just behind the B-post. Its crossover theme, which Subaru pioneered with the Forester, combines the practicality of a hatchback, the fun of a coupe, and the all-terrain ability of an SUV, complete with almost eight inches of ground clearance.

Subaru says that while the B5-TPH continues the theme of previous concept cars such as the B11S and B9 Scrambler, the concept is not meant to hint at any future model. But if it doesn't, and hybrid is the must-have technology of the moment, then why would they do it? -Ian Norris

2006 Subaru Impreza WRX by TCC Team (9/26/2005)
The five-year wait was worth it.


Nissan Pivo Concept Could Solve Parking Dilemma

2005 Nissan Pivo concept

2005 Nissan Pivo concept

Hate trying to park on a crowded city street? Not comfortable making a K-turn? Nissan's new Pivo concept could solve such problems, explained designer Masato Inoue, during a sneak preview of the bubble-shaped, three-seat electric car. Short for "pivot," the battery-powered platform can swivel 360 degrees, actually eliminating the need for a reverse gear, according to Nissan. The automaker will formally unveil the unusual prototype at this month's Tokyo Motor Show, a biennial gathering known for its quirky concept vehicles. The pivoting motion would make it impossible to connect cabin and chassis with conventional, mechanical linkages, so the Pivo relies on so-called "by-wire" technology, electronic connections controlling acceleration, braking and steering, among other vehicle functions. At a preview in Japan , a Nissan test driver easily slid Pivo into a tight spot, spun the cabin around so it faced the opposite direction, pulling out of the parking space in a simple motion. Nissan officials acknowledged that Pivo itself isn't likely to reach showrooms - at least not anytime soon, but various technologies incorporated into its design could have near-term applications. "We want to demonstrate the myriad possibilities that drive-by-wire could achieve," said Inoue. The concept vehicle also uses new lithium ion battery technology that could dramatically extend the range of an electric vehicle, making it more competitive than earlier models that used lower-range batteries. -TCC Team

2005 Nissan Note Concept

2005 Nissan Note Concept

If it's not one of the wildest concept vehicles to debut at the often off-center Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan's Note inspired by adidas certainly has one of the most unusual names. Aimed at Japan's so-called "Remix Generation," the Note is meant to connect with those who see sportswear as the height of fashion. "Wearable" fabrics are used both inside and outside and could easily be interchanged by an owner, even the surface treatment of the bumpers, according to Nissan designers. Other unusual touches include an enameled glovebox opened and closed with a zipper, and a removable center console storage container.

2005 Nissan Foria concept

2005 Nissan Foria concept

The Foria compact coupe tests the waters for a premium sports coupe blending high quality and performance. The Foria show car is a 2+2 coupe, with a front-engine, rear-drive layout. It features an extremely short front overhang, with a mid-size engine under the long hood. The Foria's automatic transmission is operated by a Formula One-style paddle shifter. Visually, the most notable touch is the B-pillarless doors, the rear doors opening "suicide" style. This approach is meant to provide especially access to both front and rear seats, Nissan officials explain. The Foria's rear curves gracefully into crystalline taillamps. The interior combines a gray sports jersey fabric, brown leather and ivory-colored front seats. The built-in video display can provide a variety of different forms of data, from navigation maps to point-of-information accessed while driving.

2005 Nissan GT-R concept

2005 Nissan GT-R concept

The long-awaited GT-R is back, and the model debuting at this year's show should give a clear sense of what will actually hit showrooms in 2007. Various past versions of the GT-R - which were marketed from 1969 to 1999 - served as the automaker's highest-performance model. And that's the goal this time around, but the '07 version will no longer have to share its basic design with any mainstream Nissan models. The single, center air intake is designed to maximize airflow, and also to tap into the well-received GT-R Concept that emerged at the 35th annual Tokyo show, four years ago. The overall design focuses on projecting a balance between aerodynamics and power.

2005 Nissan Amenio concept

2005 Nissan Amenio concept

The Amenio concept not only takes you for a drive, but lets you go "earth browsing, as well." With its airy glass ceiling, this multi-purpose people carrier expands on Nissan's Modern Living concept previously shown in prototypes like the Teana and Fuga. The seats, for example, are designed to look and feel like lounge chairs, rather than the inside of just another minicar. The front and second-row seats also tilt and slide, with power stowaway legrests, similar to those on a business class jet. Like many Tokyo show cars, there's a heavy emphasis on technology, telematics in particular. A huge, 18-inch widescreen monitor dominates the center console. Its high-resolution display will provide real-time information about what's going on around the car, including point-of-interest information provided by businesses, restaurants, and other locations nearby. In Earth Browsing mode, says Nissan, "users look down from outer space at cars traveling on the Earth's surface." If that's not enough to keep everyone distracted, Space Browsing mode "displays star constellations in the direction in which Amenio is traveling."


Suzuki's Tokyo Concepts Are Family Fare

Tokyo is a show that overflows with concepts that are either fun or weird, depending on your take on them. Suzuki will be contributing to the concept crop with four entries, all aimed at families or specific family members.

2005 Suzuki PX concept

2005 Suzuki PX concept

The PX, the company says, is for "people who want to indulge their sense of enjoyment without compromising family mobility." A "modern but familiar" interior provides "a roomy, high-class environment equipped with everything you need for enjoyment." Three rows of Recaro seats feature a second-row function, undisclosed in the pre-show material, "that creates even more space." The company describes the PX as "the ideal compact minivan in which to chill out and enjoy the ride."

2005 Suzuki Ionis

2005 Suzuki Ionis

The Ionis - not to be confused with Ford's iosis from Frankfurt - is a futuristic fuel-cell minicar offering state-of-the-art performance in terms of form and function. Its "generously proportioned curves" are supposed to convey an image of water. The car's platform allows for the fuel-cell unit to be located beneath the cabin floor, which isn't exactly unique. Other "advanced technologies" are fairly standard contemporary concept-car fare, including a next-generation entertainment system that allows passengers to download music via wireless Internet access and to watch satellite TV.

2005 Suzuki LC concept

2005 Suzuki LC concept

The Japanese love cute, whether it's Hello Kitty or round-eyed cartoon kids. Suzuki's contribution to the national specialty is the LC , and it's best to use the company's own press-release words to capture the spirit of the car exactly. "Just fit for you. With unpretentiously cute styling and charming details, the Suzuki LC is a friendly minicar that's ready to put a smile on your face. The more you experience the Suzuki LC, the more it will endear itself to you. Its charmingly styled body, mirrors, switches, and seats are all signs of a fun-loving personality." Say no more...

2005 Suzuki Mom's Personal Wagon concept

2005 Suzuki Mom's Personal Wagon concept

The name of the fourth concept says it all. Mom's Personal Wagon is a box-shaped car that falls into Japan's mini-vehicle classification that showcases Suzuki's ideas for children-friendly transport. A smiling front face and welcoming brown and beige color scheme emphasize the kiddie appeal while the cabin is "simple, refined and relaxing." A tray and box in the front passenger seat and a pull-out tray in the instrument panel mean somebody in Suzuki's design department has been looking at Renaults, which have had stuff like that for years. The front passenger seat can be folded forward to give the driver easy access to children in the back (not while driving, one hopes) but there is no mention of wipe-clean interior surfaces. -Ian Norris
Mitsubishi Concept-X Presages New Evo

2005 Mitsubishi Concept-X

2005 Mitsubishi Concept-X

Mitsubishi's stand at the Tokyo Motor Show will be a busy one - but it's the new Concept-X that promises to make enthusiasts drool in anticipation. The Concept-X, Mitsu says, carries over the Evo's "ruthlessly mechanical road machine image" while pointing directly at the future of the next Lancer/Evo. The concept sports a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manumatic transmission and Super All-Wheel Control, Mitsu's version of all-wheel drive. Aluminum roof and hood panels lighten its load on the road.

New Outlander At Mitsu, Too

2006 Mitsubishi Outlander

2006 Mitsubishi Outlander

The next Outlander shares the Mitsubishi stage at Tokyo , and with the restyled, re-engineered crossover, Mitsu hopes to take on the likes of the CR-V and Escape with more success than the previous edition. The new Outlander, Mitsu says, gets its power from a 2.4-liter 16-valve four coupled to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The five-seat Outlander - with seats for two more in a pinch, according to a release - has a refined new body style and a refined all-wheel-drive system with integrated stability control. A 250-hp V-6 is expected to be among the options for the new vehicle, which goes on sale in Japan next month and in the U.S. , in 2006.

MINI Staging Picnic inTokyo

In Frankfurt, MINI unveiled the stretch Traveller concept, based on the next-generation MINI Cooper. Now the Brits will go to Tokyo with a new interpretation of the station wagon concept.
Dubbed the MINI Concept Tokyo, it features a new roof that houses a table and two chairs. The cargo box in the rear can be taken out and, when attached to the side window, it can serve as a table. The designers used the layout of the Union Jack for indicator lights and, of course, a picnic plaid trims the interior.-Henny Hemmes

Audi Lightly Disguises New TT forTokyo

2005 Audi Shooting Brake Concept

2005 Audi Shooting Brake Concept

A concept is a concept is a concept - or is it? Audi says its new Shooting Brake Concept is just that, but the ream of press information issued for the Tokyo debutante seems overly extensive for a mere concept. The Shooting Brake Concept takes the TT's front-end styling in a new direction, with flared fenders following into a nose with the newly-sculpted Audi grille prominently featured up front. Under the hood of the hatchback, a 3.2-liter Audi FSI V-6 with 250 hp, a six-speed gearbox and quattro all-wheel drive push the concept, Audi says, to about 60 mph in 6.0 seconds, and on to a top speed of about 150 mph. An adaptive suspension and LED lighting are integrated into the Shooting Brake, and the 19-inch wheels conceal ceramic brakes. Inside, the concept wears aluminum trim on the restyled dash, and a new navigation system integrates 3D functionality into the Audi MMI audio/navi/climate control interface. The Tokyo show opens to the media on Oct. 19.

Toyota, Mercedes Plan TokyoConcepts

From what we have seen so far, the Tokyo Motor show will stage a slew of concepts for clean cars and new production vehicles as well. Toyota plans to bring seven concept cars on the stage.

2005 Toyota Fine-X concept

2005 Toyota Fine-X concept

Among them is the Fine-X, a new concept for a fuel-cell hybrid minivan. The most notable aspect of the concept car is not the fuel-cell technology, though, but the Vibrant Clarity design philosophy. Although the Fine-X is only 152 inches long, it offers good room for four passengers, who have easy access to the interior through the large gullwing doors that are attached in the middle of the roof. For even more comfort the "free-floating" front seats can swivel around. The intensity of the interior lighting is variable for added hospitality.

The Fine-X also can be rotated on the spot for easy parking and driving through tight U-turns. This is possible because it has four independently steered wheels, made possible by an electromotor at each (huge) wheel. The car also has an eco-friendly body and interior made of biodegradable components.

2005 Toyota i-swing concept

2005 Toyota i-swing concept

Another Toyota concept is the i-swing, a one-seater with a body padded to protect pedestrians in case of a collision. The i-swing can be used as a two-wheel vehicle in slow mode, for instance in crowded streets. But it can also be run on three wheels for faster transportation. In addition to the stick control, a pedal control also can be used for cornering - as if the driver were on skis. The i-swing is an evolution of the PM that was unveiled in Tokyo in 2003.

The ToyotaEstima is a hybrid concept of the Previa minivan. The design has been updated and the interior is equipped with three rows of seats. The third row can be folded by pushing a button. The Estima has the Toyota hybrid system with electric all-wheel drive. It foreshadows the hybrid Sienna minivan coming to the States in 18 months.

FSC is Toyota's abbreviation for Flexible Saloon Concept, a new crossover version of a sedan and a minivan. Like the Fine-X it is designed under the philosophy of Vibrant Clarity. The interior offers room for four adults and is characterized by a power adjustable rear space that adapts to the user's needs. The instrument panel has a flowing design and the illumination is soft for a comfortable ambiance. The innovative rear hatch has a new soft-touch operation.

The bB concept is a boom box in the shape of a car, which can also function as a meeting place for youngsters. The bB reminds us of the popular Scion xB in updated form. The concept offers a cozy feel inside, complemented by a nine-speaker surround-sound system and illumination that flashes to the beat of the music. -Henny Hemmes

2005 Mercedes-Benz F600 HYGenius concept

2005 Mercedes-Benz F600 HYGenius concept

Mercedes-Benz will unveil the F600 HYgenius, a study with fuel-cell technology, which is based on the B-Class. It is the latest in a series of research vehicles for the future. Although it looks like most manufacturers are speeding up their development of hybrid powertrains, the fuel cell is receiving relatively less attention. Still, Mercedes has developed a fuel-cell drivetrain with 115 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque for the compact F600. It consumes the equivalent of 2.9 liters of fuel per 62 miles (81 mpg) and has a driving range of nearly 250 miles.

DaimlerChrysler is aiming to achieve production before 2015, but other companies are more reserved in their fuel-cell predictions. This summer, Toyota changed its forecast from 2025 to 2030.

The F600 Hygenius does not use nickel-metal hybrid batteries, but is the first with a lithium-ion battery, that has twice the capacity and which Mercedes wants to use in future hybrid models. The system works like a hybrid version: any surplus energy is stored in the battery, while the system selects the best power source for the actual driving situation. For instance, when parking the electric motor draws power from the battery, while both the fuel cell and battery feed it with energy when the vehicle is accelerating. The electric motor acts as generator that charges the battery during braking, too. The fuel cell can also serve as a mobile power source. Its 82 hp of electrical power could be sufficient to supply power for several houses.

The interior of the F600 HYgenius is equipped with virtual displays, seats of a new design, and fuel-cell power keeps drinks hot or cool. The tailgate is a two-piece design and the bumper drops down, pulling out the floor plate of the luggage compartment at the same time for easy loading. Also the front doors have technology that will make it into production: the doors swing upwards at a slant, meaning that they take up little space to the side when opening. -Henny Hemmes

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