By on October 8, 2015


Toyota on Thursday released a preview of what to expect on its stand at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month and it’s all sorts of steampunk and futuristic weirdness, but more on that in a moment.

While the Scion FR-S isn’t flying off dealer lots here in North America, the Japanese seem to like their compact sports coupes. The S-FR, according to Toyota is ” a lightweight, sporty concept offering a fun, responsive driving experience” and slots below the Toyobaru twins and go head-to-head with the Honda S660 kei sports that America won’t get because of course we won’t.

According to Toyota, the S-FR Concept will have a front-engine, rear-drive layout, six-speed manual transmission and four-wheel independent suspension with an aim of helping “a whole new generation fall in love with driving.” The automaker also stated the S-FR will seat four — possibly very kei-sized — people.


Joining the S-FR will be Toyota’s latest fuel cell concept, the FCV Plus, which Toyota says “will take on a new role as power sources within their communities.”

(OK. How about we get past making fuel cell vehicles viable as transportation first, then tackle all that pie in the sky stuff after? Thanks.)

However, the FCV Plus does have one major thing going for it. The transparent, wraparound greenhouse is something many of us would love to see as an antidote to ever-growing vehicle beltlines.


Last but not least, the Toyota Kikai will be on display with an aim to “emphasize the fundamental appeal of machines” by exposing many of the mechanical moving parts that make a car work, said the automaker.

It looks like something straight out of “Borderlands” — and I absolutely love it. Toyota, please be weird more often if this is the product of that weirdness.

A central driving position with room for two additional people — one on each side — and analog-style gauges mean you can keep your eyes on the road and the car’s vitals while your two passengers can man the inevitably optional mounted steampunk blunderbusses.

The Tokyo Motor Show begins Oct. 28.

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16 Comments on “Toyota Previews Sporty S-FR, Steampunk Dune Buggy Before Tokyo Motor Show...”

  • avatar

    The first thing I thought of when I saw the picture of the FCV Plus is the 1985 ASC Vision concept car; even though the resemble is only slight. I really liked the Vision when I first saw it in the August 1985 issue of Car and Driver; and I still think it’s pretty neat looking today.

  • avatar

    Steampunk, eh?

    Had a ride in the cab of a 1912 2-8-0 CPR locomotive on the Kettle Valley Steam Railway in BC a week ago Sunday, courtesy of my brother who is one of the original members of the non-profit.

    By comparison, this thing is a piker. The connecting rods alone on the real loco probably each weigh as much. Chuffing back up seven miles of 2.2% grade gives a real idea of what basic raw horsepower was like a hundred years ago. That took 2,000 gallons of water turned to steam and a fire not much different from an inferno. Quite the experience.

    So this Toyota concept is a Lego box kit by comparison, a quad widened for road use. Where the term steampunk came from is as unfathomable as Toyota’s recent styling exercises.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been on that train. Very cool, but not “steampunk” since it’s retro but not not retro-future. If you want to learn what steampunk is, that’s what Google is for.

  • avatar

    The Kikai reminds me more of the “brat” motorcycle style that’s moving from Japan to the US lately. Boil it down to the essentials, make those essentials look kinda cool, and run with it.

    The whitewall stripe deliberately put on the inside of the tire is what really captures this for me. Whitewall tire? Not cool. Mount it so it faces the inside of the wheel and go!

  • avatar

    Toyota S-FR design engineer: “We’re not done designing the front of the car. This is going to take more time.”

    Toyota bean counter: “We don’t have more time. The auto show is tomorrow and we’re showing it.”

    Toyota S-FR design engineer: “What do you want me to do? Just lop off the front and stick a huge piece of plastic in there???”

    Toyota bean counter: “DUH!”

  • avatar

    That silly S-FR looks like a catfish, gaping mouth all the time. Dislike it. Also, is chartreuse the next big color? The Outlander concept from the other article just a minute ago is the same color. Not sure I care for that as something to live with day to day. It would wear thin.

    I like the steampunk Toyota Kinky. I’ll have mine in burnt red-orange, please.

  • avatar

    Speaking of visibility, am I the only one that was disappointed when the BMW i3 came out and it didn’t have those awesome polycarbonate doors that the concept had?

  • avatar

    the face on that yellow car reminds me of the aston martin zagato which was released a few years back. and i thought that car was downright ugly.

  • avatar

    The S-FR is a great idea, I just wish it wasnt ugly.

    If I were Toyota, Id have designed it to resemble the first generation Toyota Celica. It was a great looking car, and would be again. Look how well retro-fused-with-modern design has worked for Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger/Charger. I realize it wouldnt compete with those cars, but the point is, people will gladly accept a modern version of a car they loved when they were young, especially if its a sports/sporty car.

    Toyota would have an oppertunity to do what Nissan wont (IDx).

  • avatar

    I was trying to think what the Kikai reminded me of, and it really feels similar to an Ariel Atom: strip away all but the essentials. I wonder how it’ll do around a track?

    In anycase, would much rather buy a Kikai or a S600 than any of those SmartCars.

  • avatar

    That S-FR reminds me of the old Toyota Sports 800 in a good way, though the grille can be a little smaller.

    Didn’t really believe it when it was first reported about a year ago in a Japanese car magazine, and am quite glad to see it to be real. Now I wonder if the same rumor of 1.2l turbo powering it will be true as well.

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