By on October 24, 2019

The unappetizingly named Subaru Levorg (a portmanteau of Legacy Revolution Touring) has always been a model we wanted to grace our shores. With used WRX wagons getting harder to find than the Lost City of Atlantis, we could certainly use it in North America. Yet we’ll have to continue going without, as Japan still doesn’t seem interested in exporting the model here.

While unfortunate, Levorg can still serve a purpose. Subaru debuted the prototype at the Tokyo Motor Show this week, proving the automaker wasn’t joking about the styling it previewed via its latest concepts — especially the Viziv Tourer Wagon. Levorg is also giving us a taste of the next-generation WRX, as the two are closely related.  (Read More…)

By on October 23, 2019

Lexus just previewed its first electric vehicle in Tokyo, indicating that Toyota Motor Corp. is ready to launch an onslaught of EVs. While the LF-30 Electric is a concept vehicle through and through, it establishes the direction Lexus plans on taking as a brand while blowing the war horn for subsequent Toyota EVs.

Unfortunately, the marketing materials chosen by Lexus hinge on tired mobility tropes — undercutting the concept’s best attributes. The official video is particularly bad. (Read More…)

By on October 23, 2019

nissan

Mazda wasn’t the only Japanese automaker to lift the sheet on an electric crossover at the Tokyo Motor Show today. Nissan got in on the game, revealing a crossover “concept” that looks ripe for the production line.

As opposed to past concepts like the IMk and IMx, this Nissan has a name — Ariya, which one assumes is pronounced “area.” The compact EV crossover also dispenses with the usual gee-whiz concept car trappings, looking very much like a vehicle bound for showrooms. Nissan leaves no doubt that the Ariya, or something almost identical to it, could soon become a reality. (Read More…)

By on October 21, 2019

While Honda is prepping a brand new Jazz for the Tokyo Motor Show, the status of its American-market twin remains unknown. Many wonder if the Honda Fit will persist in the United States, or simply soldier on in other regions under the Jazz nameplate.

Honda has refused to commit to anything publicly, but hope remains. The automaker released teaser images of the model last week, referencing it as the Jazz, but if you zoom in on the back end you can clearly see it labeled as a Fit.  (Read More…)

By on October 11, 2019

Lexus issued a teaser this week and it took a few passes before we could identify it as a vehicle. Initially, your dim-witted author presumed it was some kind of at-home charging solution or wildly modern vacuum cleaner design. Lexus’ tagline wasn’t much help, either. “The Future is Electrified” is boilerplate content for the automotive industry right now — or perhaps some highly contagious corporate tic.

This time it’s being used to preview a new battery electric vehicle Toyota’s luxury arm intends on debuting at the Tokyo Motor Show this month… at least that’s what we’ve been told.

Honestly, it’s still a little difficult to tell. While it seems as though we’re getting a close-up glimpse of the portion surrounding the model’s headlight, there are factors at play that make it hard to feel certain of anything. Is that giant opening supposed to be an air inlet? Where does it lead on this purely electric vehicle? Is this even the car’s front?  (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2019

Nissan plans to unveil a new concept at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. Suitable for the locale, the model is to be a fashionable EV aimed at urban commuters.

According to the manufacturer, the IMk Concept will be the best tool imaginable for that particular job. While it looks like a glitzy version of your typical Tokyo eco-box, the all-electric IMk is meant to serve as the template for the best city car ever built — likely trying its hand in markets around the world with a production version.

That said, the dimensions of the IMk will probably torpedo any ships heading to North America. At 135.2 inches long, 59.5 inches wide, and 64.7 inches tall, the model is slimmer than a Smart ForTwo and shorter/narrower than a Fiat 500. While the additional headroom will be a blessing, it’s still too small for our Rubenesque frames.  (Read More…)

By on September 25, 2019

Subaru has teased the prototype for its second-generation Levorg, confirming the model will debut at the Tokyo Motor Show on October 23rd — alongside the WRX STI EJ20 Final Edition. However, it’s not the commemorative EJ20 we’re interested in. As the Levorg shares its heritage with the Legacy, Impreza, and WRX, the model will likely to preview the group’s evolved styling.

While the Viziv Performance Concept was also supposed to do that, its radical design seems a bit ambitious for the sixth-generation WRX that’s supposed to debut next year. Meanwhile, Subaru’s latest Levorg teasers appear to showcase a production adjacent automobile. Any physical changes the wagon undergoes prior to production are likely to be minor. (Read More…)

By on September 18, 2019

Image: Mitsubishi

Either those fan-type objects are meant to exhaust vape clouds from the cabin (pods?), or the upcoming concept vehicle from Mitsubishi will need clearance from the FAA to visit grandma’s house. Are they speakers? Will drivers of this wildly unlikely production candidate create impromptu block parties wherever they go?

Mitsubishi isn’t saying. All we know is that the concept, bound for next month’s Tokyo Motor Show, is a plug-in hybrid, not unlike the Outlander PHEV. Interestingly, Mitsubishi opted to spell out the PHEV acronym, making the vehicle seem more futuristic than it actually is. (Read More…)

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…)

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