2005 Tokyo Motor Show, Part IV

October 19, 2005

TCC's Auto Show Index by TCC Team (10/3/2005)
Our coverage of the world's major auto shows, year to year.

2005 Tokyo Motor Show Index by TCC Team (10/18/2005)

 

 

Lexus LF-Sh

 

2005 Lexus LF-Sh concept

2005 Lexus LF-Sh concept

By all official accounts, the Lexus sedan shown on the stands at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show is a concept. But with its softer, prettier shape sharing so much in common with the new IS and GS sedans, it’s hard to imagine the LF-Sh concept being anything but a production-ready version of the next LS sedan. Beneath its comely skin, the LF-Sh bears a V-8 engine mated to a hybrid motor system to produce “an acceleration feeling of a different dimension,” as executives describe it. The hybrid powertrain is capable of providing all-wheel drive. The concept LF-Sh is 199.2 inches long, with a 116.9-inch wheelbase — roughly two inches and one inch longer than the current LS430. Toyota may be working on a new transmission with seven speeds for the production version of the LF-Sh, along with a lane-departure warning system and an updated version of its night-vision system.

 

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Toyota i-swing

 

2005 Toyota i-swing concept

2005 Toyota i-swing concept

Is it a Segway with a seat? Or the next step in the whole man-machine integration? Toyota’s i-swing concept takes the meaning of personal transportation a step smaller and even stranger. The concept is a two- or three-wheel vehicle paraded out for Tokyo audiences and offered up as an alternative to a four-wheel car for urban transportation. Steering the i-swing is accomplished by either a joystick or by a pair of pedals that respond to driver motion, almost like a pair of skis. The i-swing’s body is made of plastics and fabric, the latter of which can be changed out by owners as fashion dictates. An LED panel on the vehicle can also be programmed with the owners’ favorite video clips or still images to entertain other i-swingers, it’s supposed. Spooky bit: the i-swing is designed to use artificial intelligence to determine the driver’s habits and preferences.

 

 

 

Toyota bB

 

2005 Toyota bB concept

2005 Toyota bB concept

If you’re looking for the follow-up vehicle to the Scion xB and a spiritual sister to Honda’s Element, you’ve found it in the bB concept, one of a slew of boxy, foxy vehicles set out by Japan’s automakers at the Toyotashow. The bB is a Scion-sized compact with an exterior — especially in the junction of the windshield and hood — that resembles Honda’s larger crossover vehicle. More rounded and less blocky than the current Scion xB, the bB’s electric-green paint is complemented by nightclub lighting inside and a nine-speaker sound system. Turn on your favorite tunes, and the lights bounce along to the beat — even if it’s the Carpenters. This “place to chill out” was hardly mentioned in the course of Toyota’s press conference, but it’s empirically evident that the Scion xB, due for a replacement in a year or so, could end up looking very much like the bB.

 

 

Toyota Fine-X

 

2005 Toyota Fine-X concept

2005 Toyota Fine-X concept

Fuel-cell vehicles and minivans are staples of the auto show circuit — put them together and you’ll likely have something like Toyota’s Fine-X, a concept fuel-cell people-mover with a unique four-wheel independent drive system that allows each wheel to nearly completely rotate. That, Toyota says, makes “U-turns easy and fun.” As if they aren’t already! The Fine-X also has an interior crafted from carbon-neutral materials that can be recycled with a minimum of CO2-induced guilt. And the most attractive aspect of the Fine-X is its hospitable interior, which is crafted around a four-passenger cockpit with front seats that power themselves out of the vehicle to “greet” passengers and grant them easier access, aided also by the gullwing doors. Toyotapromises a Camry-sized interior in compact-car dimensions — the same words they used to describe the Prius when it launched two years ago. Hmmm.

 

 

Toyota FSC

 

2005 Toyota FSC concept

2005 Toyota FSC concept

It’s not a sedan, and not a minivan — and it’s not the Mazda5, despite the similarities with that vehicle. The Toyota FSC, or Flexible Saloon Concept, is a five-door vehicle smaller than conventionally-sized U.S.minivans but not quite as small as the likes of the Scion xB. The “Vibrant Clarity” design theme gives the FSC an elegant stance and a D-pillar reminiscent of the Lexus RX crossover. The concept’s tailgate has a two-way action; the lower portion slides up for access to the cargo area, or the whole tailgate can be lifted for more space. Barely acknowledged during the Toyota press conference, the FSC looks as if it really wants to be with its design siblings at Lexus — and suggests to us there’s room for a smaller-than-RX crossover in the upscale brand’s lineup.

 

 

 

 

Mitsubishi Outlander

 

2005 Mitsubishi Outlander

2005 Mitsubishi Outlander

Wearing a new sheetmetal suit that’s infinitely more attractive than the last version, the new Mitsubishi Outlander bowed to Tokyo audiences two days after going on sale in its home market. The new Outlander arrives in the U.S. next year with the new look intact, and with confirmed four-cylinder power and a rumored V-6 option. The re-engineered vehicle grows a bit and adopts a new shape that’s reminiscent of the Pontiac Vibe, but the Outlander is now long enough to host a third-row seat, available optionally in Japanese-market vehicles. The standard powertrain is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT); the all-wheel-drive system has been integrated with stability control for additional safety. A Rockford Fosgate 650-watt audio system is on the options list. Though it wasn’t confirmed during the Mitsubishi press conference, a 250-hp V-6 should be available with the Outlander when it arrives in the U.S. by the middle of next year.

 

 

 

 

Mitsubishi Concept-X

 

2005 Mitsubishi Concept-X

2005 Mitsubishi Concept-X

Mitsubishi Motors president Osamu Masuko calls the new Concept-X a “new-age Evolution design.” We’re hoping that doesn’t mean a hippie transformation for the Mitsu Evo, but somehow we’re reassured by the handsomely styled concept, with its tall grille, sleek roofline and tail spoiler. The Concept-X takes the “ruthlessly mechanical road machine image” that the Evolution has earned, and puts it into a body shell crafted partly in aluminum and outfitted with a mod new interior with aluminum trim. The concept powertrain is based around a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, hooked up to a paddle-shifted automatic transmission and Super All-Wheel Control, the latest version of Mitsubishi’s all-wheel-drive system. With a new Evo due in 18 months or less, the Concept-X appears to point the way to the styling of the next edition.

 

 

 

 

 

Mitsubishi D:5 Concept

2005 Mitsubishi D:5 concept

2005 Mitsubishi D:5 concept

This square-jawed concept is a precursor of a new Delica minivan for the Japanese market — but we can’t help but think the D5 would fit right in over in the more outwardly Robocop parts of downtown Detroit . The D:5’s blockish lines cloak a roomy interior with a lower floor height than the previous Delica, and a series of structural hoops are emphasized in the interior styling, highlighting the van’s body-building efforts. A full-length glass sunroof lets the sun shine inside, and a CVT mated with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine provides the D5’s power. The engine and the four-wheel-drive system are both shared with the new Outlander.
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