By on October 27, 2017

2018 Nissan 370Z Heritage Edition previewed at New York Internat - Image: Nissan

Z is the last letter in the alphabet, and the current Nissan Z might be the last one in the company lineup.

At this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, Philippe Klein, Chief Planning Officer for Nissan, was decidedly non-committal when asked by media in attendance about the Z car’s future. This is stance is not new but, this time, the exec’s answer came with a few more details.

(Read More…)

By on October 26, 2017

suzuki-e-survivor

While in the midst of developing the next Jimny, a model you might remember better as the Samurai, Suzuki also made an effort to set up a secondary compact off-roader at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show. Less grounded than the fourth-generation Jimny, the e-Survivor concept looks like a mashup between Jeep’s Wrangler and the lunar rover NASA took to the moon.

The name suggests something serious but the design speaks directly to weekend rock crawlers and fun-loving dune buggy enthusiasts. It certainly looks capable of both activities. The open-topped two-seater uses a lightweight ladder frame, all-wheel drive, and has enough ground clearance to be a scrappy little off-roader. However, as an electric, its value as a legitimate “survival vehicle” is dubious — unless you’re willing to swap gas canisters for solar panels in your post-apocalyptic scenario.  (Read More…)

By on October 26, 2017

concept-i

Automotive trade shows serve as a wonderful opportunity for manufacturers and suppliers to showcase upcoming products to the people most interested in them. However, carmakers understand that you have to take time to feed the global hype machine, which usually means tossing a few concept vehicles into the mix. While some of these designs serve as tantalizing preludes to real-deal automobiles, others are fantastical fabrications — representing little more than an interesting idea that will never reach production.

This year’s Tokyo Motor Show saw plenty of vehicles straddling the line between faintly tangible and utterly incorporeal in terms of future production. Sure, we know not every prototype will accurately represent subsequent real-world models. Subaru’s Viziv may not be a dead ringer for the next WRX, but it at least gives us a sense of where the design team is heading. The same is true for Honda’s Sports EV or Mazda’s incredible-looking Vision Coupe and Kai concepts.

However, for every concept car earnestly trying to convey a new design language or highlight upcoming features there is also something so implausible that it leaves you wondering why the manufacturer wheeled it out in the first place. Which brings us to today’s question: are these over-the-top automotive prototypes meaningful or a complete waste of resources? (Read More…)

By on October 25, 2017

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

After some light teasing, Subaru unveiled the Viziv Performance Concept in its entirety at the Tokyo Motor Show — showing what is very likely to the next incarnation of the WRX. While that’s not a guarantee, the Viziv’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive, boxer engine, squared taillights, hood scoop, and overall shape appears to be an obvious evolution of the brand’s beloved performance model.

Enthusiasts are likely to be pleased, too. While it was never gorgeous, the WRX has enjoyed ho-hum styling since 2008. Things took a turn for the better after a mid-cycle facelift in late 2009, but even the current generation lacks some of the character of those earlier examples. On the upside, Subaru continued to refine what was essentially a budget automobile with highly desirable driving dynamics.

But if the next WRX can maintain the Viziv’s more extravagant styling cues while also holding onto improved interior quality and performance, well, then this is all very exciting.  (Read More…)

By on October 25, 2017

Mazda Kai Concept

Mazda is no stranger to creating knockout concepts – witness the Kabura in 2006 and the Shinari a few years later. At this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, though, the Hiroshima designers have outdone themselves with the stunningly beautiful Vision Coupe and Kai concept cars. (Read More…)

By on October 16, 2017

toyota i-series concepts

While we enjoy a concept car that isn’t set so far into the hypothetical future that it’s almost impossible to imagine the world in which it could exist, it’s also fun to see less-than-realistic designs emerge in a vehicle that is pure science fiction. Pursuing the latter mindset, Toyota has decided to expand upon the original Concept-i car with an entire series of “mobility vehicles” — each intended to help deliver a tomorrow where you are no longer required to walk.

Now part of a full lineup of experimental vehicles, Toyota views the Concept i-Ride and Concept i-Walk as supplementary modes of transportation for last January’s original four-seat concept. That vehicle debuted as more of a robotic friend than an traditional automobile. Toyota even went so far as to propose an artificial intelligence system that allowed the i-car to build a relationship with the driver that “feels meaningful and human.” (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2017

Mazda 3 Next Generation PRoduct Concept - Image: MazdaThe 2019 Mazda 3 will be previewed by a concept at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show on October 24th. Realistic enough to represent an accurate vision of what the fourth-generation Mazda 3 will look like, but not so faithful to a production model that’s entirely realistic, the concept will potentially be more noteworthy due to the Skyactiv-X engine under the hood.

Skyactiv-X, long rumored, was announced more formally in August. A supercharged four-cylinder with sparkless compression ignition should result in substantially more torque and reductions in fuel consumption of more than 20 percent. That could make the next Mazda 3 a 43-mpg car on the EPA combined scale.

As far as the design, Mazda isn’t promising a revolution with the aptly titled Next-Generation Product Concept. In fact, what little Mazda is saying on the subject is tied largely to the high-tech powertrain. (Read More…)

By on October 6, 2017

2018-toyota-century

Earlier this year, Rare Rides memorialized the end of the long-lived V-12 Toyota Century. At that time there was no word on a new Century replacement, so Toyota was left with a Lexus vehicle as flagship — the quite flashy LS600hL.

However, the flagship title changed hands yesterday after a new Century dawned.

(Read More…)

By on October 5, 2017

MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT

Mitsubishi gets a lot of mileage out of its defunct nameplates, but it remains steadfast in its unwillingness to provide enthusiasts with the car they’ve been asking for.

You remember the Lancer Evolution. It’s the car you saw Tommi Mäkinen use to win four consecutive WRC driver’s titles in the late 1990s. It’s the car you clocked the most hours in with your favorite automotive-themed video game. Maybe it was even a car you owned and used to embarrass vehicles well outside of its price range.

That rally-ready sedan is dead now. However, Mitsubishi is taking the Evolution name and adhering it to a fantastical new prototype. Called the e-Evolution, the automaker is serving up a recipe similar to the Eclipse Cross: Borrow a name from a retired model and slap it on an ultra-modern crossover. The difference here is that the new Eclipse is a real automobile while the e-Evolution is a self-indulgent exhibition of semi-real technologies.  (Read More…)

By on September 25, 2017

subaru-viziv-1

Hoping to make a big splash at next month’s 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Subaru will showcase two limited editions of its most-sporting models and one that will probably end up being the next-generation WRX or Legacy. Called the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept, the vehicle appears to be an abstract vision of what is arguably the company’s most famous automobile — or its more-dignified brother.

As a modern day concept car, Subaru has dubbed the machine a “semiautonomous performance concept sedan” — which could indicate a bevy of new driving aids. But, since the automaker isn’t too specific as to what those might be, we’re focusing on its shape for now.

First impressions? It’s incredibly wide-looking. So wide that you can actually see the outline of the tires, which appear to have some pretty aggressive negative camber. However, this could be an optical illusion, as a secondary photo highlights some extremely unique wheel arches. Rearward slats seem to be an aesthetic choice while little fins on the top could be indicative of something more functional. Perhaps a sensor to monitor blind spots or something in aid of aerodynamics? Your guess is as good as ours. (Read More…)

By on February 4, 2017

2016 Nissan 370Z NISMO, Image: Nissan

Nissan is finally ready to give us a look at the next-generation Z sports car — and just in time, too.

According to a report from Japan’s Best Car magazine, the Japanese automaker will unveil a Z concept at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show in October. Earlier rumors suggested a next-generation Z car could take the form of a crossover, based on Nissan UK’s Gripz Concept, but it seems it’ll be a traditional rear-wheel-drive coupe with similar proportions to the current car.

By on November 2, 2015

modal20

Speaking to Automotive News, Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko said that the automaker would add a small crossover to its North American lineup, between Outlander Sport and Outlander, to compete in the growing small crossover segment.

Masuko said the car would take styling cues from the company’s Tokyo Motor Show eX Concept, but it’s unclear how much of the concept’s electric powertrain will live into production.

Next year, Mitsubishi will sell a plug-in hybrid variant of the Outlander in the U.S.

(Read More…)

By on October 28, 2015

MH01503280

At least we know that Subaru is planning on keeping the five-door through 2017.

Subaru showed off it’s cleverly named Impreza Concept in Tokyo on Tuesday. (Or was it Wednesday? With the international time travel line, I always get mixed up.) It will preview the next-generation Impreza when it arrives — probably around 2017.

The car sports a more angular face and rear end, alongside shoulder and hip flares that are connected through the car’s high belt line. If you place your hands over the front and rear wheels in the side profile picture, you’ll probably get a good look at Subaru’s next Impreza, I’m betting.

(Read More…)

By on October 28, 2015

07_RX-VISION_H

Well, what we mean is less information is more frustrating. Or less exterior styling is more attractive. Or the less we know, the more we want to know. You get the gist.

Unveiled in Tokyo alongside its legendary 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport, the RX-Vision “represents a vision of the future that Mazda hopes to one day make into reality,” according to the automaker.

Mazda was pretty mum on the details, including how it plans to update its next-generation rotary engine, dubbed Skyactiv-R, to comply with modern fuel economy standards. Will it be a range extender for hydrogen power? Will it be boosted? Will it blend? These are all important questions, people. (Read More…)

By on October 27, 2015

Mazda Concept Tokyo

“We’ve all but given up on rotary powered engines being fuel-efficient and commercially viable so calling this an RX concept would be a long throw.”

Speaking to Autocar on Tuesday, Mazda’s chief research and development officer Kiyoshi Fujiwara said that the company’s sportscar concept coming to the Tokyo Motor Show this week would in fact be a rotary-powered RX concept. (I can’t help but feel like he just called me out.)

The new engine, which has been dubbed Skyactiv-R (because of course it is), would come “some time in the future,” which would mean he’s coming for me soon.

Pack a lunch, Fujiwara. You and I will be dancing all day.  (Read More…)

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