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Archive for the ‘Tokyo Motor Show’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Subaru Promises New Viziv Performance STI For 2018 Tokyo Auto Saloon!

While we’re just a few short days away from the official sheet pull at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon, Subaru is teasing us with a few shots of its upcoming Viziv Performance STI, giving us a sneak peek at what the six-star brand might have planned for the upcoming WRX STI. Boy racers and vape enthusiasts, take note – this is your new icon.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story


Subaru Promises New Viziv Performance STI For 2018 Tokyo Auto Saloon! - image 757165
“It should be said right off the bat that Subaru has a history of releasing some seriously desirable concepts that never actually make to the production stage, so temper your lust accordingly.”

For those of you who may be unaware, the Tokyo Auto Salon is an annual car show centered on the latest and greatest performance parts, aesthetic enhancement pieces, and tech bits from the Land of the Rising Sun, bringing together tuners and aftermarket suppliers to show off their various wares to eager crowds of enthusiasts. The big makes also take advantage of the show to bring their customization and sport-oriented products directly to their target audience, hence the be-winged concept you see here.

Subaru frames this new Viziv concept as the embodiment of its “vision for the future of making cars that deliver enjoyment and peace of mind to its customers.”

For now, we’re limited to a pair of shadowy teaser image and no specs, but so far, we like what we see.

Of course, it should be said right off the bat that Subaru has a history of releasing some seriously desirable concepts that never actually make to the production stage, so temper your lust accordingly.

Now that you’ve been properly warned, this concept looks to be a sneak peek of the next-generation Subaru WRX STI. It’s a continuation of the Viziv Performance Concept that showed at the Tokyo Auto Show in October of last year, which appropriately previewed the base model WRX, and thus this latest
appears to be upgraded for additional go-faster duties courtesy of the Subaru Tecnica International, Suby’s official in-house motorsport-focused skunk works division.


Subaru Promises New Viziv Performance STI For 2018 Tokyo Auto Saloon! - image 757166
“The first image shows a chunky, geometric front end with plenty of pink undertones (STI's go-to color).”

The first image shows a chunky, geometric front end with plenty of pink undertones (STI’s go-to color). There are mean-looking C-shaped headlights, a centrally divided six-sided front intake, an extended front splitter, pronounced side skirts, and hugely flared fenders front and back, as well as small ancillary wings just above the front rims. The fascia also throws in a pink grid for the lower intakes, and we’re pretty sure there’s a sizable hood scoop lurking under that shadow.

Large wheels fill the fenders, while the side-view mirrors are pretty much non-existent, looking more like canards than actual usable mirrors. That means they are most likely used for rear-facing cameras to enhance the car’s aero. Of course, the WRX has never really been known as the most aero-friendly model, offering the same efficiency as a thrown brick, but every little bit helps.

The model should also keep its traditional four-door body style, and even though there are no actual door handles, there’s a very subtle line drawn down the rear fender, suggesting this concept is indeed still a sedan. Pop the door, and part of the fender will open with it.


Subaru Promises New Viziv Performance STI For 2018 Tokyo Auto Saloon! - image 757165
“Moving back to the topic of aero, the second image shows the STI's requisite boy racer rear wing, more pink trim, and the STI logo in big stylized letters. Because of course it does.”

Moving back to the topic of aero, the second image shows the STI’s requisite boy racer rear wing, more pink trim, and the STI logo splayed out in big stylized letters on the end cap. There’s also interconnected taillights that will undoubtedly offer additional visual width to the vehicle, set with a black mesh overlay that’s reminiscent of the insert you get in the nose. We’re also likely to see a quad-tipped exhaust system in back.

Compared to the old Viziv concept, the newer STI version is definitely bigger, bolder, and more aggressive, most likely arriving with a wider stance and extra details throughout. Look for more in-your-face aero, deeper intakes, more logos, and the like.

left
right

Note: previous Viziv Performance Concept pictured on the left, latest Viziv Performance STI concept pictured on the right.

So far, the interior of the concept is a mystery, but if we do get something, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a large touchscreen and heavily bolstered sport seats. However, it’s quite likely Subaru will keep the design study relegated to just the exterior styling.

There’s no details on the oily bits either, but hopefully that will change when the model debuts in Tokyo. Of course, we can assume symmetrical AWD for grip and a turbocharged flat-four engine for motivation.

All told, fans are chomping at the bit for more info on the next-gen WRX and WRX STI. Rumors continue to swirl, with some of the latest contending Subaru could add a hybrid powertrain to the mix. We’d also expect the new WRX and WRX STI to use the latest Global Platform underpinnings from the updated fifth-generation Impreza that dropped cover at the 2016 New York Auto Show.

In the power department, we expect the new STI to offer well over 300 ponies, with 350 feeling about right for a next-generation model. Rumors point to the 2020 model year as the most likely release date for the updated performance machine.

As a reference, the Subaru WRX STI will take on competitors like the Civic Type R, Ford Focus RS, and Volkswagen Golf R.

Look for complete details on the fresh Viziv Performance STI concept when it drops at the Tokyo Auto Saloon later this week.

References

Subaru WRX


2018 Subaru WRX STI - image 702508

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru WRX STI.


2018 Subaru WRX STI – Driven - image 722056

Read our full driven review on the 2018 Subaru WRX STI.


2018 Subaru WRX - image 700158

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru WRX.


Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 741038

Read our full review on the 2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept.

PostHeaderIcon Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition up for grabs!!

The Subaru WRX has been on the market for about 25 years now, and Subaru has made constant updates to the model over the years.
This time, Subaru has launched the Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition at the Tokyo Motor Show. Will it be enough to take on its chief rivals – the Honda Civic Type-R, VW Golf GTI, and Ford Focus RS? Let’s find out:


Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition up for grabs!! - image 734536
“The roof and rear spoiler get carbon-fiber treatment”

Now, what makes this limited-edition beauty special? Well, to start off, the roof and rear spoiler get carbon-fiber treatment which takes the handling up by a notch. On the braking front,18 inch ventilated disks by Brembo have been deployed. Along with it, 24 additional horses have been added to the existing 305 under the hood.

The interior gets a set of Recaro seats with black leather and silver stitching, among other changes. There is also a performance muffler, front under-spoiler, and air vents on the rear bumper to aid aerodynamics. But, there is a catch – there are going to be just 450 of these beasts for the taking!

The Subaru WRX made its debut in 1992 when the WRX series was first launched. It had one of the best rivalries in the performance sedans segment with another legend – the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. Two decades later, the WRX has somewhat lost its charm to the likes of VW Golf R, Ford Focus RS, and Honda Civic Type-R; to name a few. Despite this, the car is still desired by many around the globe.

Our Take


Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition up for grabs!! - image 734538
“This car doesn't stand-out from the competition, save for the legacy and long history associated with it”

Showcased at the Tokyo Motor Show a couple of days back, the S208 does seem drool-worthy. But, the limited numbers up for production are a clear indication of the hefty price tag this car will carry. This car doesn’t stand-out from the competition, save for the legacy and long history associated with it. The performance sedan market is flooded today, and there are numerous rivals the S208 will have to take on. And, to make matters worse, this Subaru will serve only to the Japanese market. It is just a matter of time before we know if the S208 was worth the hype or a dud as most people expect it to be.

References

Subaru WRX


Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition up for grabs!! - image 734537

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru WRX STI S208.


2016 Subaru WRX STI S207 Limited Edition - image 653293

Read our full review on the Subaru STI S207.

Subaru WRX STI


2018 Subaru WRX STI - image 700139

Read our full review on the Subaru WRX STI.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 Tokyo Motor Show – Worst In Show

There was plenty to like at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show. In fact, we put together a list of the best debuts right here, which is proof positive of at least that much. But for all the lust-worthy designs and impressive technology we did see, there was also plenty of … let’s say, less-than-desirable debuts as well. From the freakish, to the lazy, to the disappointing, this list takes a look at the worst of the worst from the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.

Perhaps you’ll disagree with this list, either because we included something that doesn’t deserve to be called Worst In Show, or because we didn’t include something that does deserve the title. Either way, we’d love to hear your opinion on the matter in the comments section. Did the Tokyo Motor Show fulfill your expectations, or did it end up falling flat? Either way, read on for our picks for Worst in Show.

Continue reading for the full story.

Toyota TJ Cruiser Concept


2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 737055

While we try to be as objective as possible and not judge a book by its cover, this van/crossover thing from Toyota is just too much for us. The “TJ” name is supposed to stand for “Toolbox Joy,” and while we get the toolbox part of it, we aren’t exactly smiling. Indeed, this design study looks about as desirable as any toolbox could be, with a square shape created by broad, flat surfaces front to back. The front end is particularly fugly, with a snout-like intake that juts forward in an obtrusively swine-like fashion.

Granted, this weird exterior is the form required to meet the demands of the large interior, where practicality was obviously the primary concern. Still, that exterior… yikes!

Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota TJ Cruiser Concept.

Yamaha Cross Hub


2017 Yamaha Cross Hub Concept - image 740966

You know, we take our pickups pretty darn seriously here in ‘Merica, so anytime there’s a new one, we put it under the microscope. Long story short, this compact from Yamaha ain’t up to snuff. It looks more like a glorified ATV than a truck, with a short rear bed barely big enough to fit a baby dirt bike. The styling is just a mess, as is the interior, where three passengers sit abreast with the driver situated in the middle. Also, what’s up with the orange coloring for the controls? To be honest, this truck seems more intent on making a fashion statement than it is actually being useful, and for us, that’s a non-starter.

Read our full review
on the 2017 Yamaha Cross Hub.

Subaru Brings Three Lazy Concepts


Subaru Dresses up its Three Favorite Models for an Outing in Tokyo - image 734286

Here’s the thing – we know Subaru can make a cool concept. That much is evidenced by the Viziv Performance sedan we saw dropped in Tokyo this year, a model we liked so much, we gave it a spot on our Best In Show list for 2017. That said, these three concepts are proof the brand doesn’t always bring the goods. Essentially slightly modified iterations of Suby’s three popular model lines (the Impreza, XV, and the Outback), these “concepts” feel more like vague attempts at previewing upcoming vehicle accessories more than anything else. Maybe they’ll be upcoming special editions. Either way, they just feel lazy to us, like some four-wheeled filler.

Read the full story here.

No New Supra, No New Z, No New RX!


2017 Tokyo Motor Show – Worst In Show - image 742073

Like pretty much every other enthusiast out there, we had all our fingers and toes crossed in the hope that 2017 would be the year one of these vehicles made its production debut. Rumor has it the next-generation Toyota Supra, the next-generation Nissan Z car, and the next-generation Mazda RX are all on the way, and what better place to pull the sheets than at the Tokyo Motor Show?

Alas, all three were a no-show. Even the new Toyota Supra, which has been spied multiple times on public roads over the past few months, failed to make an appearance. Bummer!

References


2017 Tokyo Motor Show – Visitor's Guide - image 737628

Read more Tokyo Motor Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Gives Mazda the Shaft on Battery Technology

Despite the partnership between Toyota, Mazda, and Denso to develop structural technologies for electric cars, Toyota showed up at the Tokyo Auto Show with news that its new solid-state battery technology is a “game changer,” but that it would not share the new technology with its partner Mazda. Apparently, the two brands will still share a platform that can support either current Lithium-Ion batteries on the new solid-state units that Toyota has developed in-house and will keep in-house.

This news comes just a few months after the initial deal between Toyota and Mazda was announced that included an investment from both automakers to build a $1.6 billion plant in the U.S. to develop “electric vehicle technology.” A month later, Denso was added into the mix, and a new contract was signed. The new plant will reportedly be built in the south and employ 4,000 people that will have a hand in producing 300,000 vehicles annually. Essentially, the companies will be sharing factory space and pulling certain parts – now, apparently, EV platforms – that they can all use in their vehicles, something that should help both companies shed a little bit of production costs.

Of course, we haven’t heard a word from Mazda as to whether or not it was expecting to get Toyota’s battery tech as well, but there certainly could be some drama flying around if it was an expectation of the deal. On the other hand, the move should help keep the companies competitive and hopefully Mazda has something up its sleeve as well. At this point, both companies really need to step up their EV game as stricter emissions laws are forcing automakers to shift into delivering more and more EVs in the coming years and some countries are outright banning the ICE altogether. There’s no word as to when Mazda will put its first EV on the road, but Toyota plans to launch its first EVs (probably SUVs or Crossovers) in the first few years of the next decade. Exciting stuff to say the least.

References



Read more Mazda news.



Read more Toyota news.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 Tokyo Motor Show – Best In Show

The bi-annual Tokyo Motor Show has once again come and gone, bringing with it a flurry of new rides to ogle and admire. While the production side of the debuts was a bit light in the overall offerings, especially for U.S. consumers, the batch of fresh concepts on display was practically overflowing. And that’s fitting, considering this year’s theme was “Beyond The Motor,” giving us a futuristic, forward-thinking look at the automotive world yet to come. Out of this mix, we’ve assembled the best debuts to hit the Tokyo limelight in 2017, giving you, dear reader, a glimpse at the good stuff on offer from the Land of the Rising Sun.

Whether they offer drop-dead gorgeous exterior styling, innovative technology, or we just wish it was sold over here on these shores, the following vehicles have been carefully picked for your enjoyment. If you want a more in-depth look at what the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show has to offer, check out our complete and updated Visitor’s Guide. Otherwise, click on and join us as we drool over the best of the best from Japan.

Continue reading for the full story.

Mazda Kai Concept


2017 Mazda Kai - image 740407

Heading our list for Best In Show is this stunning four-door hatchback from Mazda. This isn’t the first time we’ve been floored by the Zoom-Zoom brand’s design chops – indeed, models like the RX-Vision from the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show have kept us on the edge of our seats waiting for the next lovely looking concept, and now we’ve got it. This thing has flawless proportions, with a long hood line and low roofline, pulling the eye towards a rounded, wide tail thanks to sleek, smoothed-out body panels and a curvaceously molded profile. Plus-sized wheels fill the fenders, while drawn-out lights in front and back add a nice dose of aggression. The central intake in the nose is large, but not overbearing, while the interior is a sumptuous blend of luxury and function. To sweeten the deal, this Mazda comes equipped with an upcoming SkyActiv engine under the hood.

Word has it the Kai Concept previews the next-generation Mazda3, and if that’s true we couldn’t be happier.

Read our full review on the 2017 Mazda Kai Concept

Honda Sports EV Concept


2017 Honda Sports EV Concept - image 741039

Performance electric concept from Honda? Yes please. As the follow-up to the Urban EV Concept that dropped earlier this year at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the Sports EV gets similar black-and-white styling cues, with large, solid shapes that combine with a minimum of seams to form a cohesive, singular shape. The profile gets a cab back profile, adding girth to the rear end while emphasizing the length of the extended hood line. The rear end is a squared-shape black insert with a pair of square stop lamps, while a single piece of black glass curves up and out towards the nose. In the corners are large plus-sized wheels, while digital displays outside the car relay pertinent information and messages.

No word on exactly what’s going on in terms of power production, but we propose a few ideas in the full review linked below.

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Sports EV Concept.

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept


Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 741038

We’ve seen a variety of Subaru’s Viziv concepts in the past, but this one is undoubtedly one of our favorites. It’s got all the stuff we like to see from the Six Star brand, including flared fender arches, big and bold bodywork, a low and wide stance, and the requisite hood scoop as well. Long story short, this is a preview of what the next-generation Subaru WRX might look like, and while it’s totally fair to point out Subaru’s penchant for revealing incredibly good looking concepts that never actually make it to production, we can’t help but add it to our list of favorites. We just love that chunky front end, down to the carbon fiber splitter and C-shaped headlights, while the little winglets over the wheels and rear-facing fender vents certainly do the trick as well. Even the rear end, with its trailing trunk spoiler, carbon diffuser, and quad exhaust, have us clamoring for more. Just slap some license plate brackets on it and call it a day, Subaru.

Read our full review on the 2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept.

Mazda Vision Coupe Concept


2017 Mazda Vision Coupe Concept - image 740882

While the Kai concept was definitely our favorite design study from Mazda at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, we just had to mention this larger four-door coupe concept as well. It’s got similar styling as the Kai, with long and wide proportions and sleek body panels, but rocks a more traditional body style compared to the white-hot hatch Kai. Thing is, the Coupe Concept is just a bit too much like the RX-Vision we saw in 2015, not to mention the Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 we saw at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2016. But that’s no biggie – if you think about, it’s not exactly a bad thing to be compared to those two lovely vehicles.

Read our full review on the 2017 Mazda Vision Coupe Concept.

Honorable Mention – Toyota Century


2018 Toyota Century - image 737329

We had to toss this one in as well, because as we see it, you can’t have too many Japanese luxury sedans in the lineup. Now entering its third generation, the Century is both longer and wider than the model it replaces, and we’re digging the Century’s aesthetic. It’s like a big Japanese extravagance box, filled with the right stuff to stay comfortable while out and about on the town. You’d be forgiven for calling it old school, but under the hood, there’s something fresh lying in wait – a hybrid V-8, which trades spots with the outgoing model’s 5.0-liter V-12 to produce nearly 400 horsepower.

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Century..

References


2017 Tokyo Motor Show – Visitor's Guide - image 737628

Read more Tokyo Motor Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Lexus RC F Limited Edition

2017 Lexus RC F Limited Edition

Founded less than 30 years ago as of 2017, Lexus has come a long way in the luxury market, now offering quite a few models that can give production from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi a run for their money. The Japanese company has been growing so fast it’s already celebrating a full decade since it launched its first performance-oriented vehicle wearing the now familiar “F” badge. To mark the anniversary, Lexus launched two limited-edition models at the2017 Tokyo Motor Show, one of which is the RC F Limited Edition.

While the name might not be very inspiring, this RC F has plenty of new features to brag about. From a wide array of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic body elements to an exclusive upholstery layout and upgraded suspension, the limited-edition coupe proves that the RC F has yet to reach its full potential. Unfortunately, this beefed-up two-door won’t make it to the United States, but you’ll have to keep on reading to learn more about that.

Read more about the Lexus RC F limited edition.

What makes the Lexus RC F limited edition special

  • CFRP body parts
  • Upgraded splitter and diffuser
  • Matte grey paint
  • Heat Blue upholstery
  • White contrast stitching
  • CFRP trim inside the cabin
  • Performance shock absorbers
  • Titanium mufflers
  • Limited to only 50 units

2017 Lexus RC F Limited Edition - image 740862
“The special-edition RC F stands out thanks to a range of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) elements”

While exterior modifications are far from radical, the special-edition RC F stands out thanks to a range of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) elements. Up front, we can see the lightweight material at each corner of the bumper, in the form of race-inspired winglets. Adding to the fact that they are made from CFRP, these elements aren’t fitted on the standard RC F either, so it’s more than just a material upgrade. The engine hood is also made from CFRP, which should translate into significant weight loss. The fact that it has a transparent finish that shows the carbon layer makes it that much better.

More CFRP goodness is visible on the sides, where Lexus replaced both the side skirts and the front fender intake covers with this material. Just like the hood, it has a glossy transparent finish. The standard model has these elements painted in the same color as the body, so they don’t stand out as much. Around back, both the diffuser and the lower bumper now feature CFRP elements. What’s more, the diffuser has a redesigned center section with three small fins. The spoiler was seen on the standard model.

To top things off, Lexus painted the car in matte grey for a nice contrast with the glossy CFRP elements.


2017 Lexus RC F Limited Edition - image 740861
“Called Heat Blue, the new interior color adorns the steering wheel, the seats, the gear shift knob, and the center console”

Inside, the limited-edition is pretty much standard business, but Lexus did introduce a new, exclusive color. Called Heat Blue, this light blue color adorns the steering wheel, the seats, the gear shift knob, and the side panels of the center console. There’s blue leather atop the instrument cluster hood too, as well as blue stitching in the door panels, The steering wheel, the dashboard, the seats, and the shifter have contrasting white stitching. Finally, there’s carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic trim on the door panels and atop the glove compartment door.

Lexus mentioned no upgrades under the hood, so it’s safe to assume that it features the same 5.0-liter V-8 as the regular model. The naturally aspirated unit cranks out 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque and pushes the coupe from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Top speed is limited to 170 mph. However, the limited-edition RC F gained lightweight titanium mufflers and performance shock absorbers. So, while it might not be quicker in a straight line, it will provide improved steering stability, which means it should be a bit quicker on the race track.


2017 Lexus RC F Limited Edition - image 740856
“The limited-edition RC F gained lightweight titanium mufflers and performance shock absorbers”

Production is limited to only 50 units, all of which will be sold in Japan. Pricing information is not available as of this writing.

References

Lexus RC


2015 Lexus RC F - image 567567

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RC F.


2015 - 2016 Lexus RC - image 649169

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RC.


2017 Tokyo Motor Show – Visitor's Guide - image 737628

Read more Tokyo Motor Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Lexus RC F Limited Edition

2017 Lexus RC F Limited Edition

Founded less than 30 years ago as of 2017, Lexus has come a long way in the luxury market, now offering quite a few models that can give production from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi a run for their money. The Japanese company has been growing so fast it’s already celebrating a full decade since it launched its first performance-oriented vehicle wearing the now familiar “F” badge. To mark the anniversary, Lexus launched two limited-edition models at the2017 Tokyo Motor Show, one of which is the RC F Limited Edition.

While the name might not be very inspiring, this RC F has plenty of new features to brag about. From a wide array of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic body elements to an exclusive upholstery layout and upgraded suspension, the limited-edition coupe proves that the RC F has yet to reach its full potential. Unfortunately, this beefed-up two-door won’t make it to the United States, but you’ll have to keep on reading to learn more about that.

Read more about the Lexus RC F limited edition.

What makes the Lexus RC F limited edition special

  • CFRP body parts
  • Upgraded splitter and diffuser
  • Matte grey paint
  • Heat Blue upholstery
  • White contrast stitching
  • CFRP trim inside the cabin
  • Performance shock absorbers
  • Titanium mufflers
  • Limited to only 50 units

2017 Lexus RC F Limited Edition - image 740862
“The special-edition RC F stands out thanks to a range of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) elements”

While exterior modifications are far from radical, the special-edition RC F stands out thanks to a range of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) elements. Up front, we can see the lightweight material at each corner of the bumper, in the form of race-inspired winglets. Adding to the fact that they are made from CFRP, these elements aren’t fitted on the standard RC F either, so it’s more than just a material upgrade. The engine hood is also made from CFRP, which should translate into significant weight loss. The fact that it has a transparent finish that shows the carbon layer makes it that much better.

More CFRP goodness is visible on the sides, where Lexus replaced both the side skirts and the front fender intake covers with this material. Just like the hood, it has a glossy transparent finish. The standard model has these elements painted in the same color as the body, so they don’t stand out as much. Around back, both the diffuser and the lower bumper now feature CFRP elements. What’s more, the diffuser has a redesigned center section with three small fins. The spoiler was seen on the standard model.

To top things off, Lexus painted the car in matte grey for a nice contrast with the glossy CFRP elements.


2017 Lexus RC F Limited Edition - image 740861
“Called Heat Blue, the new interior color adorns the steering wheel, the seats, the gear shift knob, and the center console”

Inside, the limited-edition is pretty much standard business, but Lexus did introduce a new, exclusive color. Called Heat Blue, this light blue color adorns the steering wheel, the seats, the gear shift knob, and the side panels of the center console. There’s blue leather atop the instrument cluster hood too, as well as blue stitching in the door panels, The steering wheel, the dashboard, the seats, and the shifter have contrasting white stitching. Finally, there’s carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic trim on the door panels and atop the glove compartment door.

Lexus mentioned no upgrades under the hood, so it’s safe to assume that it features the same 5.0-liter V-8 as the regular model. The naturally aspirated unit cranks out 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque and pushes the coupe from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Top speed is limited to 170 mph. However, the limited-edition RC F gained lightweight titanium mufflers and performance shock absorbers. So, while it might not be quicker in a straight line, it will provide improved steering stability, which means it should be a bit quicker on the race track.


2017 Lexus RC F Limited Edition - image 740856
“The limited-edition RC F gained lightweight titanium mufflers and performance shock absorbers”

Production is limited to only 50 units, all of which will be sold in Japan. Pricing information is not available as of this writing.

References

Lexus RC


2015 Lexus RC F - image 567567

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RC F.


2015 - 2016 Lexus RC - image 649169

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RC.


2017 Tokyo Motor Show – Visitor's Guide - image 737628

Read more Tokyo Motor Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

Subaru just revealed its latest ultra-sleek concept model at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. Dubbed the Viziv Performance (Viziv is shorthand for “Vision for Innovation”), this Scooby is the latest in a series of concept cars to bear the Viziv name, rocking an aggressive exterior and tons of speedy visual cues. This is also the very first four-door sedan to come from the concept line, which can only mean one thing – this is what Subaru’s designers imagine for the next WRX. The emphasis is on driving fun and attention-grabbing details, both of which the Viziv Performance manages to accomplish, at least on paper. So then, what does it say about the brand’s favorite rally star? Read on for details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept.

Exterior

  • Design is all angles and chiseled geometry
  • Flared fenders and carbon bits
  • Longer, lower, and wider than a WRX

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740445
“It’s all angles and chiseled geometry, an amalgamation of black and silver that manages to mate sportiness and futuristic vibes in a single, exciting package. ”

As is the case with most concept cars, the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept’s greatest strength lies in its exterior design. It’s all angles and chiseled geometry, an amalgamation of black and silver that manages to mate sportiness and futuristic vibes in a single, exciting package.

Subaru says the aesthetic uses the “Dynamic x Solid” design philosophy, with inspiration drawn from the brand’s most “iconic” models. These include the Legacy, Impreza, and WRX, symbolizing “superior Subaru driving performance.”

The look is mean and low and wide, with flared fenders adding a good deal of aggression to the whole package. As is expected of just about every performance model on the market these days, carbon fiber makes a cameo appearance, finding its way to the bumpers, fenders, and roof, which adds a tasty composite weave to offset the brighter silver body panels.

In back, the rear diffuser seems to divide the tail in half, occupying the lower section of the car with even more angles and further motorsport-inspired goodness. A large center stop lamp also enhances the performance cues, while the upper taillights stretch from fender to fender, adding to the car’s natural visual width. The rear diffuser also houses a quartet of rounded exhaust pipes, set at an angle that brings the car even closer to the ground visually.


Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740442
“The rear diffuser seems to divide the tail in half, occupying the lower section of the car with even more angles and further motorsport-inspired goodness.”

In the nose, the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept gets a six-sided, three-dimensional grille that looks similar in shape to the current WRX grille, albeit a bit larger and with a cool-looking lighting element along the surround. Below the central intake are aero elements finished in black, while “hawkeye” headlight housings take up positions on the periphery.

Subaru says many of these visual cues are meant to mimic that ballsy powertrain and drivetrain under the hood, with the headlights giving a nod to the boxer engine design and the flared fenders added as a nod to the symmetrical AWD system.

“Subaru says many of these visual cues are meant to mimic that ballsy powertrain and drivetrain under the hood.”

The requisite hood scoop finishes it, mounted towards the windshield and finished in black.

Interestingly, Subaru gave us a complete breakdown of the Viziv Performance Concept’s exterior dimensions, and naturally, we should compare them to the current WRX to see if we can glean any sizing changes planned for the upcoming WRX. You can check out the specifics below, but long story short, the Viziv is a bit longer, much wider, and a little lower – all to be expected from a showy concept car, but perhaps it’s telling of what’s to come for Suby’s most beloved performance model.

2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept 2017 Subaru WRX
Length (Inches) 182.3 180.9
Width (Inches) 76.8 70.7
Height (Inches) 56.3 inches 58.1
Wheelbase (Inches) 107.5 104.3

Interior

  • Large touchscreen in the dash
  • Seats up to 5 passengers
  • Next-generation driver assist tech

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 700140
Interior from 2018 Subaru WRX shown here.
“If we were to venture a guess about the details, we’d argue the redesigned interior of the 2017 Subaru Impreza would probably provide a few hints as to the upcoming WRX’s cabin.”

While Subaru declined to provide tons of details on the Viziv Performance Concept’s interior layout design, the automaker did mention that seating capacity was capped at 5 passengers, much like the current-generation Impreza and WRX. What’s more, we can pick out what appears to be a large digital infotainment screen in the center console.

Sounds about right, but if we were to venture a guess about the details, we’d argue the redesigned interior of the 2017 Subaru Impreza would probably provide a few hints. Six-sided shapes for the cluster gauge and upper instrumentation readout echo the shape of the grille, while a three-spoke, multi-function steering wheel gets grippy hand bolsters and some nice contrast stitching. Further contrast stitching is added to the dash, while a large touchscreen takes up residence in the center console.

“we can assume it’ll get stuff like advanced adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, smart automatic transmission shifting, and similar features”

Not terribly exciting stuff, we know. That said, the Viziv does offer up some tasty tidbits on possible technology features Subaru has in the works. Basically, the automaker foresees ever-greater autonomous driving assist integration in the near future, and in response, the Viziv comes with the next-generation EyeSight system, the brand’s branded tech suite meant to enhance both driving enjoyment and peace of mind.

Incorporating both radar and GPS systems, we can assume it’ll get stuff like advanced adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, smart automatic transmission shifting, and similar features, all of which should make the next WRX both more efficient and safer. Look for Subaru to introduce this next-gen system into its production lineup sometime around 2020.

Drivetrain

  • Boxer engine configuration
  • Likely the same turbo 2.0-liter as the current WRX
  • Large 20-inch wheels

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 722070
2.5-liter from 2017 Subaru WRX shown here.

Once again, Subaru seems a bit cagey when it comes to revealing details on the Viziv Performance Concept’s engine configuration, but in all honesty, we can pretty much tell exactly what it’s got going under that hood scoop without any official confirmation.

For starters, Subaru admits to using the traditional boxer engine configuration, a platform the Six Star brand has “honed over more than five decades of development.” In the current WRX, this amounts to a turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter flat-four powerplant, hewn from aluminum and able to produce upwards of 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Routing the power to the ground is a six-speed manual transmission, as well as the same standard symmetrical AWD system Subaru is famous for.

“Subaru says the Viziv Performance uses its traditional boxer engine configuration, which, in the current WRX, produces upwards of 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.”

All told, expect nearly identical performance numbers as before, with around 5 seconds required in the 0-to-60 mph sprint and a top speed of 144 mph.

Interestingly, Subaru says the concept’s tire size is measured at 245/40R20, a huge upgrade over the standard WRX’s 17-inch rollers. If carried into production, it would be the biggest wheels the WRX has ever got from the factory by a long shot.

Conclusion


Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740442

All told, the Viziv is an exciting look at one of our all-time favorite performance vehicles, the Subaru WRX. While we would have liked it if Subaru dropped us a few more hints on what to expect from the drivetrain and powertrain (odds are it’ll look more or less identical to the current model), we think the exterior styling is a solid step forward for the brand.

“Any and all hope that the concept’s aesthetic might make it to production should be tempered with the fact that Subaru has a nasty habit of offering up gorgeous designs that never actually get put to use. ”

That said, any and all hope that the concept’s aesthetic might make it to production should be tempered with the fact that Subaru has a nasty habit of offering up gorgeous designs that never actually get put to use. Take for example the Impreza 5-Door Concept that dropped in 2015 at the last Tokyo Motor Show. We loved it, as did most other enthusiasts, but in the end, the production version just didn’t have the same flair or snap to it. Or you could take the Impreza Sedan Concept from the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, or the XV Concept from the Geneva Motor Show in 2016… the list goes on and on.

Either way, we like the look. Just maybe put it to good use this time, eh Suby?

  • Leave it
    • Production version will likely look way different
    • No interior design details
    • No specs on the engine and drivetrain likely means carryovers for both

References

Subaru WRX


2018 Subaru WRX - image 700160

Read our full review of the 2018 Subaru WRX

Subaru



Read the latest Subaru news

PostHeaderIcon Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

Subaru just revealed its latest ultra-sleek concept model at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. Dubbed the Viziv Performance (Viziv is shorthand for “Vision for Innovation”), this Scooby is the latest in a series of concept cars to bear the Viziv name, rocking an aggressive exterior and tons of speedy visual cues. This is also the very first four-door sedan to come from the concept line, which can only mean one thing – this is what Subaru’s designers imagine for the next WRX. The emphasis is on driving fun and attention-grabbing details, both of which the Viziv Performance manages to accomplish, at least on paper. So then, what does it say about the brand’s favorite rally star? Read on for details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept.

Exterior

  • Design is all angles and chiseled geometry
  • Flared fenders and carbon bits
  • Longer, lower, and wider than a WRX

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740445
“It’s all angles and chiseled geometry, an amalgamation of black and silver that manages to mate sportiness and futuristic vibes in a single, exciting package. ”

As is the case with most concept cars, the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept’s greatest strength lies in its exterior design. It’s all angles and chiseled geometry, an amalgamation of black and silver that manages to mate sportiness and futuristic vibes in a single, exciting package.

Subaru says the aesthetic uses the “Dynamic x Solid” design philosophy, with inspiration drawn from the brand’s most “iconic” models. These include the Legacy, Impreza, and WRX, symbolizing “superior Subaru driving performance.”

The look is mean and low and wide, with flared fenders adding a good deal of aggression to the whole package. As is expected of just about every performance model on the market these days, carbon fiber makes a cameo appearance, finding its way to the bumpers, fenders, and roof, which adds a tasty composite weave to offset the brighter silver body panels.

In back, the rear diffuser seems to divide the tail in half, occupying the lower section of the car with even more angles and further motorsport-inspired goodness. A large center stop lamp also enhances the performance cues, while the upper taillights stretch from fender to fender, adding to the car’s natural visual width. The rear diffuser also houses a quartet of rounded exhaust pipes, set at an angle that brings the car even closer to the ground visually.


Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740442
“The rear diffuser seems to divide the tail in half, occupying the lower section of the car with even more angles and further motorsport-inspired goodness.”

In the nose, the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept gets a six-sided, three-dimensional grille that looks similar in shape to the current WRX grille, albeit a bit larger and with a cool-looking lighting element along the surround. Below the central intake are aero elements finished in black, while “hawkeye” headlight housings take up positions on the periphery.

Subaru says many of these visual cues are meant to mimic that ballsy powertrain and drivetrain under the hood, with the headlights giving a nod to the boxer engine design and the flared fenders added as a nod to the symmetrical AWD system.

“Subaru says many of these visual cues are meant to mimic that ballsy powertrain and drivetrain under the hood.”

The requisite hood scoop finishes it, mounted towards the windshield and finished in black.

Interestingly, Subaru gave us a complete breakdown of the Viziv Performance Concept’s exterior dimensions, and naturally, we should compare them to the current WRX to see if we can glean any sizing changes planned for the upcoming WRX. You can check out the specifics below, but long story short, the Viziv is a bit longer, much wider, and a little lower – all to be expected from a showy concept car, but perhaps it’s telling of what’s to come for Suby’s most beloved performance model.

2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept 2017 Subaru WRX
Length (Inches) 182.3 180.9
Width (Inches) 76.8 70.7
Height (Inches) 56.3 inches 58.1
Wheelbase (Inches) 107.5 104.3

Interior

  • Large touchscreen in the dash
  • Seats up to 5 passengers
  • Next-generation driver assist tech

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 700140
Interior from 2018 Subaru WRX shown here.
“If we were to venture a guess about the details, we’d argue the redesigned interior of the 2017 Subaru Impreza would probably provide a few hints as to the upcoming WRX’s cabin.”

While Subaru declined to provide tons of details on the Viziv Performance Concept’s interior layout design, the automaker did mention that seating capacity was capped at 5 passengers, much like the current-generation Impreza and WRX. What’s more, we can pick out what appears to be a large digital infotainment screen in the center console.

Sounds about right, but if we were to venture a guess about the details, we’d argue the redesigned interior of the 2017 Subaru Impreza would probably provide a few hints. Six-sided shapes for the cluster gauge and upper instrumentation readout echo the shape of the grille, while a three-spoke, multi-function steering wheel gets grippy hand bolsters and some nice contrast stitching. Further contrast stitching is added to the dash, while a large touchscreen takes up residence in the center console.

“we can assume it’ll get stuff like advanced adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, smart automatic transmission shifting, and similar features”

Not terribly exciting stuff, we know. That said, the Viziv does offer up some tasty tidbits on possible technology features Subaru has in the works. Basically, the automaker foresees ever-greater autonomous driving assist integration in the near future, and in response, the Viziv comes with the next-generation EyeSight system, the brand’s branded tech suite meant to enhance both driving enjoyment and peace of mind.

Incorporating both radar and GPS systems, we can assume it’ll get stuff like advanced adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, smart automatic transmission shifting, and similar features, all of which should make the next WRX both more efficient and safer. Look for Subaru to introduce this next-gen system into its production lineup sometime around 2020.

Drivetrain

  • Boxer engine configuration
  • Likely the same turbo 2.0-liter as the current WRX
  • Large 20-inch wheels

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 722070
2.5-liter from 2017 Subaru WRX shown here.

Once again, Subaru seems a bit cagey when it comes to revealing details on the Viziv Performance Concept’s engine configuration, but in all honesty, we can pretty much tell exactly what it’s got going under that hood scoop without any official confirmation.

For starters, Subaru admits to using the traditional boxer engine configuration, a platform the Six Star brand has “honed over more than five decades of development.” In the current WRX, this amounts to a turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter flat-four powerplant, hewn from aluminum and able to produce upwards of 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Routing the power to the ground is a six-speed manual transmission, as well as the same standard symmetrical AWD system Subaru is famous for.

“Subaru says the Viziv Performance uses its traditional boxer engine configuration, which, in the current WRX, produces upwards of 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.”

All told, expect nearly identical performance numbers as before, with around 5 seconds required in the 0-to-60 mph sprint and a top speed of 144 mph.

Interestingly, Subaru says the concept’s tire size is measured at 245/40R20, a huge upgrade over the standard WRX’s 17-inch rollers. If carried into production, it would be the biggest wheels the WRX has ever got from the factory by a long shot.

Conclusion


Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740442

All told, the Viziv is an exciting look at one of our all-time favorite performance vehicles, the Subaru WRX. While we would have liked it if Subaru dropped us a few more hints on what to expect from the drivetrain and powertrain (odds are it’ll look more or less identical to the current model), we think the exterior styling is a solid step forward for the brand.

“Any and all hope that the concept’s aesthetic might make it to production should be tempered with the fact that Subaru has a nasty habit of offering up gorgeous designs that never actually get put to use. ”

That said, any and all hope that the concept’s aesthetic might make it to production should be tempered with the fact that Subaru has a nasty habit of offering up gorgeous designs that never actually get put to use. Take for example the Impreza 5-Door Concept that dropped in 2015 at the last Tokyo Motor Show. We loved it, as did most other enthusiasts, but in the end, the production version just didn’t have the same flair or snap to it. Or you could take the Impreza Sedan Concept from the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, or the XV Concept from the Geneva Motor Show in 2016… the list goes on and on.

Either way, we like the look. Just maybe put it to good use this time, eh Suby?

  • Leave it
    • Production version will likely look way different
    • No interior design details
    • No specs on the engine and drivetrain likely means carryovers for both

References

Subaru WRX


2018 Subaru WRX - image 700160

Read our full review of the 2018 Subaru WRX

Subaru



Read the latest Subaru news

PostHeaderIcon Honda Sports EV Concept

When Honda debuted the Urban EV Concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show, I was quick to scrutinize the brand for building something so weird, but as I looked at it more, it began to grow on me. And, it’s a good thing it did because that thing is slated for production for the European market sometime in 2019. And, to really top it off, Honda showed up to the 2017 Tokyo Auto Show with a sports car that looks quite familiar – the Honda Sports EV Concept. Following suit with the previous concept, it carries the same general styling cues in a futuristic but feasible package. Of course, it’s a sports car, so it doesn’t have that love seat up front, but it is quite sporty for what it is, and it could just as easily shift into production thanks to being built upon the same platform used for the last concept.

Unlike the last concept, however, we have next to no information. And, Honda didn’t even take the time to release interior shots of the concept either. We can tell that it has that massive display screen and that it’s missing the couch, but outside of that, we can’t see much. But, that doesn’t mean that this little battery-powered sports car should be overlooked. Out of all the EV sports car concepts we’ve seen, this is the one we really want to see become a reality, so let’s take a good look and see what’s crackalackin.

Exterior

  • Smooth body
  • lightweight
  • Compact and nimble

2017 Honda Sports EV Concept - image 740626
“The contrast between the white and the black is just what the doctor ordered.”

If you’re thinking that this thing looks kind of like a funky Hot Wheels car, well, I couldn’t really blame you because it kind of does. But, at the same time, it also has a bit of a sporty nature to it. When I first looked at it, I had the same reaction I did with that funky little Urban EV Concept – “what the hell is Honda thinking” – but the more I looked at it, explored its lines, made love to its curves with my eyes, I realized that I wouldn’t be upset at all if Honda sent this thing rolling into dealers. In fact, I’d be pretty damn happy and would be one of the first in line with a big dumb smile on my face waiting to sign over an arm, a leg, and a testicle to own one. Range-anxiety and ICE sole be damned, this thing is freaking cool. It’s got the modern but circular headlights that point back to the original Civic, and it’s got those muscular front wheel arches that just scream sports car. That big illuminated G in the center of the nose is quite attractive too – kind of like it’s saying “yeah, that’s right; I’m a Honda.” In a world where everyone, including Honda, has gone overboard with the sharp body lines, massive fake vents, and over-styling, the Sports EV (and the Urban EV, for that matter) are a breath of fresh air.


2017 Honda Sports EV Concept - image 740625

The side profile is dominated… well, wait. It isn’t dominated by anything, and that’s the beauty of it. Sure, there are big wheels, but they aren’t too big, and they wear thick enough rubber that they don’t look stupid. I doubt those cameras will make into production until regulations change, but some sporty little chrome mirrors would look pretty good hanging on the doors, don’t you think? It’s hard to see, but there are door handles that sit flush with the doors and the way that roof slants down at the B-Pillar, then widens as it hits the rear quarters is something that should rewrite the book of future car design. Honda did tint the windows here to keep folks from getting too good a look inside, but you have to admit, blacking out the windows adds quite the stylish touch too, doesn’t it?


2017 Honda Sports EV Concept - image 740630
“That smooth rear bumper is as fresh as it is simple”

Around back, the bubbly look of the body, and the extent of that all-glass roof is painfully obvious and sexy at the same time. The body wraps around the class like a blanket around a newborn baby, and the contrast between the white and the black is just what the doctor ordered. That smooth rear bumper is as fresh as it is simple and those square taillights that carried over from the original concept really seem to fit in well. Just like its bigger brother, the front and rear displays can be programmed to display messages. All told, it’s sporty and attractive and is certainly what I expect future cars from Honda to actually look like. The question now is whether or not Honda can put something like this into production. I certainly hope so.

Interior

  • Probably a two-seater
  • Two seats mean decent cargo room

Does Honda's Urban EV Concept Prove that Honda has no Idea what it is Doing? - image 731196
Interior from Honda Urban EV Concept shown here
“there could be a few gauges to measure G-force, acceleration, pitch, and battery life.”

Honda didn’t take the liberty to release shots of the Sports EV Concept’s interior, but considering the fact that it is based on the Urban EV Concept, we have a pretty good idea. When you look at the outside, you can see that massive screen stretching across the dash. There’s no telling what size it is, but it seems to be at least 30-inches wide and about 10-12 inches tall. Since this is a sports car concept and not an urban lounge-mobile, there’s not going to be a couch behind the wheel, but instead, a pair of supportive racing seats. If Honda doesn’t go aftermarket, it will most definitely tap into Acura for seats similar to those found in the new NSX.

“I suspect the car would be a two-seater as it’s a rather small sports car”

Of course, this thing is all-electric, so what you see is really what you get. There isn’t a need for huge gauge clusters or anything of that nature. However, there could be a few gauges to measure G-force, acceleration, pitch, and battery life. These could be positioned in the face of the dash below the screen where there’s simple wood trim in the EV concept. In production form, I would expect to see some carbon fiber here for the sports car because, well, it’s a sports car. Instead of plush carpeting, I would expect to seat carbon floorboards or even Alcantara layered floors. The side view screens on the door trim panels will carry over, but I would expect there to be a better sound system as sports cars gotta have that good sound too.

I suspect the car would be a two-seater as it’s a rather small sports car and trying to fit someone in the back would certainly be difficult. On the plus side, however, that means there should be plenty of room in the rear hatch. And, to top it off, the car does feature that massive glass roof, just like the Urban EV, so those riding up front get a pretty gnarly view of the sky at night.

Drivetrain

  • Potential for 300+ horsepower
  • Could get AWD
  • Could see 60mph in three seconds

2017 Honda Sports EV Concept - image 740628
“Honda will likely position the battery across the length of the floor between the two axles.”

What’s “Under the Hood” is actually a complete mystery. Honda didn’t even divulge details about the Urban EV’s drivetrain, and it sure didn’t spill the beans about this concept either. Of course, that wouldn’t matter considering one is meant for lounging and chillin while another is meant to bend corners and tear up those straightaways. So what could be lurking under that sweet, sexy, rounded body that makes this an “according-to-Hoyle” sports car?

Well, first of all, Honda will likely position the battery across the length of the floor between the two axles. This will be a high-density lightweight battery that also takes advantage of Honda’s new Power Manager Concept to keep things as efficient as possible. As far as motors go, Honda has a couple of options:

Front Motor Setup


2017 Honda Sports EV Concept - image 740629
“The setup could include a single, 300-horsepower motor or dual 170-horsepower motors for a total output around 340 ponies.”

If Honda wanted this thing to be front-wheel drive only, and that is kind of Honda’s calling card, then Honda could position a rather powerful motor up front while the battery can be positioned just to the rear a bit to provide the perfect offset for as close to a 50:50 weight distribution as possible. Honda could also move the battery further to the rear, and place two motors that are a little less powerful but deliver equal amounts of power. This would allow the onboard computers to adjust torque delivery as needed to combat over-and understeer with ease. Again, the more weight put up front, the further to the rear the battery needs to be. A setup like this could include a single, 300-horsepower motor or dual 170-horsepower motors for a total output around 340 ponies. I would prefer the latter – not only because it’s more powerful but because torque distribution on demand is where it’s at in the sports car world.

Rear Motor Setup

Much like the front-motor setup described above. A rear motor setup could work the same way. A single 300-horsepower motor could turn both wheels with the battery positioned just a bit toward the front axle. Or Honda could go the preferred way and use a dual motor setup with more power and torque vectoring. Now, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that, as a sports car, this thing almost needs to be rear-wheel drive, so we all really hope this thing ends up as rear wheel drive if it ends up in production. But, there’s another approach that could prove fatal to other models in the compact sports car segment.

All-Wheel Drive

If Honda really wanted to set the market on fire, it would bring this thing into production with AWD as standard equipment. Not only would that make it one mean little sports car, but it would offer something that cars like the Mazda Miata, Subaru BRZ, Toyota 86, and even the Audi TT can’t – power to all four wheels. Honda could do it with a two motor setup, or it could go with a motor for each wheel. The latter would be preferred as it would offer some serious torque vectoring possibilities and some amazing spirited driving. Both setups would allow the battery to be positioned right in the middle for a near-50:50 weight distribution, but they would have to be powerful enough to handle the extra weight.

Range Woes

The biggest problem with an all-electric sports car such as this is its size. Yeah, they are fun to drive, but when you’re relying on battery power alone, your supply of go-juice is limited. I speculated that something like the Urban EV would have around 150 miles of range, which wouldn’t be bad for a vehicle of its caliber. But, a sports car needs a little more. Honda needs to be able to deliver at least 250 miles with this car for it to really pose a threat to anything else on the market – gas or electric. With this thing potentially available by the turn of the decade, Honda could be one of the first to put a true EV sports car this small on the market – one with decent range and power.

“Hopefully, those lightweight, high-density batteries will be good enough to get the job done.”

But, and that’s a big but, Honda has to do it right. The biggest limitation here is the car’s size. You can only fit so big of a battery in the floor. Of course, Honda could use the space in the front and rear for auxiliary batteries that would help increase range, but it would have to maintain a pretty even weight distribution and still can’t be too heavy, or this sports car is going to be a slug. When we’re talking about battery power, the heavier it is, the harder it is to go, the more power you need.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. Hopefully, those lightweight, high-density batteries will be good enough to get the job done. Even at 200 miles, that would be ok, but 250 would be better. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Conclusion


2017 Honda Sports EV Concept - image 740631

In the past, I have voiced very strong opinions against automakers going EV with all of their models. I’ve spoken out against it every way I can, even arguing that the ICE essentially has a soul and the lack of that wonderful combustion would, in turn, leave a hole in our hearts that cannot be replaced. Now, I’m looking at this car, and all I can think of is that this is the electric sports car that we really need. Hell, it’s the electric sports car that we really want. It’s small enough to be very maneuverable and has the opportunity to be potent enough to really pose a real threat to some great names that are already on the market. For now, this car is just a concept, but like the Urban EV, it could become a reality in the next few years. And that, my friends, is a very cool thing.

  • Leave it
    • May not get very good range
    • Could end up being expensive
    • No guarantee of production yet

PostHeaderIcon Yamaha Cross Hub Concept

2017 Yamaha Cross Hub Concept

Yamaha is well known for building fun stuff like motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, outboard engines for boats, and even the occasional musical instrument or two. Now, the Japanese mega-corporation is toying with entering the compact pickup market with this, the Cross Hub Concept. It’s unique in just about every way, from its seating configuration to its cargo bed. Sadly, the project seems a bit too “concept” to make production anytime soon.

The Cross Hub Concept made its debut at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show and is billed as a lifestyle car for those splitting time between city life and the great outdoors. Yamaha says it’s “just the right size” and is designed for on-road and off-road maneuverability while still having room for “other Yamaha recreational products.” So far, this is the furthest Yamaha has gotten to building a road-going, four-wheeled vehicle. Of course, there was the time it developed and built high-strung V-6 and V-8 engines for the first three generations of Ford Taurus SHOs, and technically some of its side-by-side UTVs are road-legal, but you won’t find any rolling down the interstate. The Cross Hub, on the other hand, promises to be road-ready and built for fun.

Continue reading for more information.

Exterior

  • Outlandish design
  • Innovative cargo bed
  • Looks like nothing else

2017 Yamaha Cross Hub Concept - image 740663
“The most interesting part is where the bubble-like cab meets the cargo bed”

Calling it different would be the understatement of 2017. The Cross Hub Concept looks like nothing else because it’s a clean-sheet design. It’s like Yamaha raised a group of whiz-kid engineers in a closed environment, never showing them photos of a pickup truck and then asked them to design one with minimal instruction.

The most interesting part is where the bubble-like cab meets the cargo bed. The cab rounds off, enclosing itself completely separate from the bed and its satin-silver roll bar support. The cab and bed look like two separate units that have come together – like how the Starship Enterprise (NCC1701-D for you nerds out there) is designed to separate its saucer from the stardrive section.


2017 Yamaha Cross Hub Concept - image 740674
“The Cross Hub’s front looks like a mix between one of Yamaha’s UTVs and a Ford Edsel”

The Cross Hub’s front looks like a mix between one of Yamaha’s UTVs and a Ford Edsel. Three different lighting elements mixed with horizontal and vertical lines give the Cross Hub a busy look. Then again, it sort of works for this thing.

Like a mullet in 1985, the Cross Hub’s party is kept out back. Its cargo bed is designed to carry a Yamaha dirtbike diagonally. The tailgate extends the bed but does not keep loose items from falling out when latched since it’s not solid. The tailgate actually fits around the curved bed floor when lowered. Even more interesting, the top of the tailgate has secondary taillights for when its lowered. As for the wood planks in the bed floor, Yamaha says it choose wood as a tie-in to its line of jet boats.

Interior

  • Diamond-shaped seating layout
  • Driver controls are orange
  • Wood flooring

2017 Yamaha Cross Hub Concept - image 740664
“The interior has a diamond-shaped layout with the driver in the middle, almost like the McLaren F1”

As unconventional as the exterior is, things remain just as strange inside the Cross Hub Concept. The interior has a diamond-shaped layout with the driver in the middle, almost like the McLaren F1 but with an extra seat behind the driver. A U-shaped steering wheel wrapped in orange suede matches the orange driver’s seat and gauge cluster binnacle. The small screens on the dash display vehicle info and entertainment features, while the digital dash gives the driver an unobstructed view of vital stats. The orange, gray, and black interior also has aluminum fixtures like the door pulls, foot pedals, and dash supports. And like the cargo bed, the floor is wood.

Though it’s not the most practical interior ever conceived, it is certainly interesting and a big departure from anything we’ve recently seen. You’ve got to give Yamaha credit for that.

Drivetrain

  • Likely powered by four-cylinder engine
  • Most likely 4WD
  • Turbocharged

2017 Yamaha Cross Hub Concept - image 740670
“There is no mention of what powers this Yamaha”

Sadly, Yamaha did not make mention of the Cross Hub Concept’s drivetrain – likely because this is merely a design concept. Should something this size actually make production, Yamaha should be fully capable of designing and building its own drivetrain components. A turbocharged four-cylinder would do the trick nicely, so Yamaha could easily massage and tweak one of its many engines to fit the bill. The Cross Hub looks like it would be 4WD. Developing that system shouldn’t be harder than beefing up the 4WD systems it uses on its side-by-side UTVs. We’d bet on front-mounted, transverse four-cylinder with at least a six-speed automatic transmission and 4WD or AWD. Perhaps a hybrid powertrain could be added, too, though that would be new ground for Yamaha engineers.

Conclusion


2017 Yamaha Cross Hub Concept - image 740665

We’ve seen some strange concept vehicles over the years, but none seem as outlandish as this – especially considering it comes from a company that doesn’t build road-going cars or pickups. Yamaha is well known for being an ultra-diverse company, having its fingers in just about everything imaginable, so it’s not surprising to see the company think about a utilitarian, compact pickup made to transport its other products.

If Yamaha can make professional-level musical instruments, jet boats, and UTVs, it can surely make a truck. Of course, getting into the pickup wars isn’t an easy thing to do, especially in North America. As such, Yamaha might stick to Asian or European markets with the Cross Hub – should it even produce it in the first place.

What do you think? Should Yamaha build the Cross Hub? What do you think of the design? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Leave it
    • Very outlandish
    • No powertrain details
    • Not likely to happen

References


Yamaha Sports Ride Coupe Concept - image 653307

Read our full review on the 2015 Yamaha Sports Ride Coupe Concept.


2017 Tokyo Motor Show – Visitor's Guide - image 737628

Read more Tokyo Motor Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Lexus LS+ Concept

2017 Lexus LS+ Concept

The fifth-generation Lexus LS just hit the market this year, but the Japanese automaker is already looking ahead into the future with a new concept for its flagship sedan that’s heavy on state-of-the-art technology. The concept is called the LS+, and if you were thinking it to be outlandish in the typical Lexus concept fashion, then you’d be right. The LS+ Concept is a feast for the senses in more ways than one.

We already have an idea of how Lexus does concept vehicles. The NX Concept from a few years ago blasted our expectations through the roof, and it’s nice to see that Toyota’s premium brand isn’t letting up. This car, Lexus says, is going to be a showcase of what the LS could look like down the road. It’s not a certainty that this blueprint will be put to use in the future, but as far as giving us a taste of what could come, then it hits all the right spots. It looks the part of a futuristic concept though more important than that are the litany of tech features that it comes with, including the curiously named “Highway Teammate” automated driving technology that brings autonomous driving tech to life. That’s just one of the technology goodies we can expect from the LS+ Concept, so expect a whole lot more now that the full-sized beauty is sitting pretty at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Lexus LS+ Concept

Exterior

  • Laser light technology
  • Spindle front grille with mechanized shutters
  • Side-view cameras
  • 22-inch wheels

2017 Lexus LS+ Concept - image 740689
“The thing that you’ll immediately notice is how Lexus designers were able to combine current design elements with new visual features that are culled from improved technology”

If this is what the Lexus LS is going to look like in the future, then sign me up. Of course, Lexus has shown a penchant for designing some of the most incredible concepts that I’ve seen in recent years, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary that its vision for the future of the LS flagship sedan follows in that tradition. At first glance, . Take the massive spindle grille for example. Lexus already employs that feature in its current lineup but it still plays a prominent part in the overall look of the concept. Here’s the new-age rub, though. The grille itself incorporates what looks to be a mechanized shutter that does double-duty by helping with cooling the car’s internal parts and boosting the sedan’s overall aerodynamic flow.

The boomerang-like headlights are also similar in design from the current LS but, like the spindle grille, there’s more to it than meets the eye, specifically the illumination. Turns out, laser technology will be a big part of Lexus’ future, as is probably the case too with a lot of automakers down the road. Not only does it guarantee much better illumination than what we’re used to these days, but it’s a clear step in the right direction towards improving road safety for everyone involved. Then there’s the use of cameras instead of conventional side mirrors. It’s not a new “concept” but everyone’s doing it too. What’s a bit surprising is that the concept sits on massive 22-inch alloy wheels, much bigger than the 20-inch wheels the current LS uses.


2017 Lexus LS+ Concept - image 740684

Overall though, the exterior of LS+ Concept is solid work from Lexus designers. The whole shape of the body is consistent with what we know the LS to be, so it’s good that the designers didn’t go too out of the box with its presentation. It’s imposing in its own right, but not at all intimidating. That’s what you want a flagship sedan to look like.

Interior

  • Inspiration from Japanese design
  • Should have leather interior
  • Should have wood trim
  • Ambient lighting

2018 Lexus LS 500 - image 700564
Interior from 2018 Lexus LS500 shown here
“The heavy inspiration on Japanese design has been a hallmark of Lexus for years so there’s no reason to think that the future LS will adopt a similar design philosophy”

The interior of the Lexus LS+ Concept is trickier to get a hold off because judging by how blacked-out those windows are, it appears that there’s very little there to talk about. Some concepts adopt this approach so it’s nothing that we’re not used to. That said, we can still speculate on what the concept’s cabin could look like.

Personally, I don’t think the interior will be a far departure from what the current LS already has. That’s a good thing because the cabin of the current LS is one of the cleanest ones in its segment. The heavy inspiration on Japanese design has been a hallmark of Lexus for years so there’s no reason to think that the future LS will adopt a similar design philosophy. Fine leather should be a gimme. Same thing with ambient lighting and some kind massage feature on the seats. These are hallmarks of Lexus’ Japan-style cabin treatment and I’m all for getting all those things – maybe even more – on the future LS sedan.

As far as tech features go, the expectation is that Lexus is going to take a massive leap from what it has on the table now. A navigation display should still be in the mix, but it could cater to a number of new tech items in the future, including the aforementioned “Highway Teammate” technology that effectively puts a fully functioning autonomous system in place for the LS sedan.

Drivetrain

  • Highway Teammate autonomous driving technology
  • Data tech system
  • Could be all-electric
  • Could have 354-horsepower drivetrain from LS500h

2017 Lexus LS+ Concept - image 740685
“Lexus LS+ Concept is going to adopt autonomous driving technology using its Highway Teammate system”

The only thing we know about the Lexus LS+ Concept is that it’s going to adopt autonomous driving technology using its Highway Teammate system. This technology essentially gives the luxury sedan full autonomous driving capabilities to navigate around specific road conditions, including merging, lane changes, and diverging. It’s also tipped to be smart enough to keep the sedan in its lane, a safe distance from the car in front.

Coinciding with the use of Highway Teammate is the concept’s ability to communicate with a data center, allowing the system’s software to be updated on the fly. It’s something that Tesla is already doing with its fleet of models so if Lexus is going to get that level, it’s going to need to have it’s own architecture in place if it’s going to fully adapt autonomous driving technology in the future.


2017 Lexus LS+ Concept - image 740688
“The likeliest candidate is a fully-electric set-up, though a hybrid shouldn’t be dismissed either”

Beyond that, it’s anybody’s guess what kind of drivetrain the future LS could have. The likeliest candidate is a fully-electric set-up, though a hybrid shouldn’t be dismissed either. If it does end up being the latter, Lexus can point to the setup of the current LS 500h, which makes use of a 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine and a couple of electric motors. Total output is rated at 354 horsepower, giving the LS enough boost to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds.

Is it possible that the future LS will have a gas-engine? I’d say yes, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lexus goes fully hybrid and electric in the future.

Conclusion


2017 Lexus LS+ Concept - image 740687

I’m always intrigued every time Lexus comes out with a concept vehicle. It’s arguably one of the best at it and if you’re not a believer, look up some of the past Lexus concepts from the last few years. The LS+ Concept fits into that mold because it not only looks the part of a futuristic concept, but it also looks like something that Lexus will eventually turn into a production car in the future. Those are always the best kind of concepts to begin with so I’m expecting big things out of the LS+ down the road. Don’t expect it to happen anytime soon though because the LS just got its fifth-gen model rolling.

But for the future? You bet I’m looking forward to it.

  • Leave it
    • Not happening anytime soon
    • How much of it will be adapted to future LS models is a good question
    • Not enough details on the interior and drivetrain

References

Lexus LS


2018 Lexus LS 500 - image 702643

Read our review of the 2018 Lexus LS500

Lexus


2011 Lexus LF-A - image 328640

Read the latest Lexus news

PostHeaderIcon Mazda Vision Coupe Concept

2017 Mazda Vision Concept

Mazda has had quite a few good years since 2012, introducing not only a very appealing design language but also a solid lineup of crossovers and SUVs. In addition, it came up with two wild Vision concepts, one that pays tribute to the Le Mans-winning 787B and one that previews a successor to the iconic RX-7 and a new-generation rotary engine. But it appears that the Japanese firm isn’t stopping here. At the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda unveiled the Vision Coupe, a sleek four-door that may become the company’s larger sedan yet.

Based on the RX-Vision design-wise, the Vision Coupe is unlike any other Mazda we’ve seen on the road. Not only larger than the Mazda 6, it also has a decidedly sporty attitude and a coupe-like roof that reminds of the Mercedes-Benz CLS, the car that started this whole trend. And while there’s no official word on what Mazda will do with this concept, a full-size sedan is very likely in the future. With Mazda having offered such a model for only a few years in the 1980s and 1990s (remember the 929?), a full-size sedan would be a big deal for the Japanese automaker. But until we find out more about that, let’s take a closer look at Mazda’s most exciting sedan yet.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda Vision Coupe.

Exterior

  • Four-door coupe body style
  • Based on RX-Vision concept
  • Aggressive front fascia
  • Sleek roofline
  • Quad exhaust layout
  • Previews Mazda’s very own Mercedes CLS?

    2017 Mazda Vision Coupe Concept - image 740429
    “The Vision Coupe appears to be based on the sleek RX-Vision”
  • The fact that this four-door concept is called the Vision Coupe may seem a bit confusing, but it all goes away when you look at the car’s profile and notice the sleek roofline. And it’s actually not that weird since some automakers have already used similar descriptions. For instance, Mercedes-Benz lists both the CLS and CLA as coupes, despite having four-door layouts. Four-door coupes are becoming increasingly popular nowadays, not to mention that traditional sedans are becoming increasingly sportier by looks. So Mazda is basically trying to adapt to this trend, at least in the concept car world.

    Now talking about the “Vision” badge, it’s provides a strong connection to another Mazda concept, the RX-Vision from 2016. And it’s not just the name. A quick comparison reveals that the four-door is actually based on the RX-Vision, even though a lot of element have been toned down for a more production-friendly look. Some elements may vary, but these concepts have a lot in common.


    2017 Mazda Vision Coupe Concept - image 740425
    “When seen from the side, this concept looks like a four-door version of the RX-Vision”

    Up front, we can see the same long engine hood and pointy nose. The hood itself has similar creases toward the fenders, but the center section is more elegant and lacks the previous concept’s vents. The grille is actually almost identical in terms of shape and size, but that’s not surprising given that it is an important part of Mazda’s current design language. Even the bumper is similar, but with less aggressive vents and splitter. It’s the headlamps are significantly different. Although placed in similar carvings in the body, the have a simple round LED unit and miss the fancy strips seen on the RX-Vision.

    When seen from the side, this concept looks like a four-door version of the RX-Vision. The fenders and beltline are identical. The doors are obviously different since Mazda had to stick a pair in only a slightly longer wheelbase, but again, everything seems to be have been design on the same sheet of paper. Other features that stand out besides the extra rear door is the less aggressive side skirts and the chrome trim on the lower front door (the RX-Vision has on the upper front fender).


    2017 Mazda Vision Coupe Concept - image 740430
    “The rear features a heavily raked rear glass, a short decklid, and a quad-exhaust layout”

    The rear is of similar design too, with a heavily raked rear glass and a short decklid. The trunklid opening seems to the different and there’s no movable wing, but the arched edge of the decklid simulates a spoiler. The RX-Vision’s quad-taillight layout was replaced by a simpler pair of round units, but everything else is pretty much the same. Below, we can see a revised diffuser with four exhaust pipes for a sporty look.

    In many ways, the Vision Coupe reminds me a bit of the Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 concept. It must be the long hood and the same of the nose, but otherwise I’m aware that they are very different cars. Still, we could say that the Vision Coupe is Mazda’s very own Maybach.


    2017 Mazda Vision Coupe Concept - image 740885

    2017 Mazda Vision Coupe Concept - image 740886

    As an interesting note, Mazda says that the Vision Coupe name pays homage to its “tradition of design elegance represented by coupe models like the Mazda R360, Mazda’s first passenger car, and the Mazda Luce Rotary, also known as the Mazda R130.” While there’s nothing wrong with looking back on designs from the past, I must point out that the R360 wasn’t exactly elegant. This 1960s kei car was small and bubbly, having a rather tall roof compared to the length and stance of the body. The Luce R130 built between 1969 and 1972, on the other hand, was quite the elegant, sporty coupe with an European twist to its design. See them both below and judge for yourself.

    Interior

    • Clean and simple interior layout
    • Premium features
    • Leather dash, seats, and door panels
    • Genuine wood veneer
    • Contrast stitching
    • Brushed aluminum trim

    2017 Mazda Vision Coupe Concept - image 740436
    “Despite the "Concept" badge, this four-door is actually as production-ready as they get”

    Mazda didn’t have anything to say about the Vision Coupe’s interior, but it did release a batch of photos. And despite the “Concept” badge, this four-door is actually as production-ready as they get. Sure, it’s a bit too fancy compared to existing Mazda production sedans, including the Mazda 6, but everything in this cabin is definitely doable.

    Due to the similarities of Vision Coupe and RX-Vision on the outside, I can’t help but compare the too on the inside as well. somewhat surprisingly, they’re pretty different. The dashboard, for instance, is a brand-new design. Whereas the RX-Vision has a smooth and simple passenger-side area, the Vision Coupe has a layered dash with a secondary display in addition to that in the center stack.


    2017 Mazda Vision Coupe Concept - image 740438
    “The cabin seems oriented toward businessmen or drivers in need of a fancier ride”

    The more sober looking instrument cluster and the round-bottom steering wheel are also hints that Mazda is aiming for a different public with this one. Whereas the RX-Vision is going for the RX-7 fanbase that loves sporty coupes, this one is oriented toward businessmen or drivers in need of a fancier ride. And the Vision Coupe is quite luxurious for a Mazda. Nearly every surface of the dashboard is draped in leather, while the door panels bring together two types of hide, one with contrast stitching, piano black trim and what appears to be authentic wood veneer.

    The seats and the steering wheel are also wrapped in leather, again with contrast stitching, while the center console combines it with more wood veneer. The attention to detail is also visible in the instrument cluster, which has premium-look gauges, while the steering wheel has a vintage inspired look with a leather center section and brushed aluminum. It’s by far the prettiest production-ready interior Mazda has created so far and I do hope upcoming cars will get something similar.

    Drivetrain

    • Likely to use familiar four-cylinder powerplants
    • Rotary engine?
    • Production model could get a hybrid

    2017 Mazda Vision Coupe Concept - image 740432
    “If it goes into production, the sedan will probably use the four-cylinder engines available in other models”

    There’s absolutely no word as to what lurks under the Vision Coupe’s long hood, but it deosn’t really matter since it’s just a concept car. I’m tempted to say that the four-door could share underpinnings with the RX-Vision based on the fact that they’re similar size- and design-wise, but it’s already official that the RX was showcased with a rotary engine in mind. So there is a possibility that Mazda may want to use its new-generation Wankel unit in just one model, at least for a couple of years.

    All told, if this sleek four-door goes into production, it will probably use the four-cylinder engines available in other models. A hybrid should also be on the table, but it’s way too early to discuss. And given that Mazda chose to not talk about the sedan’s drivetrain, it’s safe to assume that it was created to only showcase a new body style and an updated design language.

    Conclusion


    2017 Mazda Vision Coupe Concept - image 740427

    While it may not be as exciting as the RX-Vision — the hype over this concept is obvious since it previews a spiritual successor to the iconic RX-7 — the Vision Coupe deserves a lot of credit for being a novelty for the Japanese automaker. And I’m talking about side and market placement here, because the Vision Coupe seems to be larger than the Mazda 6, which technically makes it a full-size sedan. Mazda ignored this segment since day one — except for a few years in the late 1980s and early 1990s when it sold the 929 — so the Vision Coupe is spectacular in the sense that it points toward the company’s intentions to join the full-size market. It could also mean that Mazda may want to join the premium segment, but until the carmaker makes an official statement about it, I can only speculate. But it’s definitely a sign of things to come, be it a larger sedan or a new design language, and it’s all good news.

    • Leave it
      • Production plans unknown
      • No drivetrain or tech information

    References


    2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept - image 653156

    Read our full review on the 2016 Mazda RX-Vision Concept.


    2015 Mazda LM55 Vision Gran Turismo - image 600220

    Read our full review on the 2015 Mazda LM55 Vision Gran Turismo.


    2017 Nissan IMx - image 740404

    Read more Tokyo Motor Show news.

    PostHeaderIcon Mazda Kai

    2017 Mazda Kai Concept

    Welcome to the future! Well, we’re not there quite yet, but the Mazda Kai Concept is essentially a quick look into the crystal ball that exposes the future of Mazda vehicles. Unlike Mazda’s “Vision” concept at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, the Kai is something that Mazda could actually make some in the near future. It could even possibly represent the next-gen Mazda3 hatchback – a model that will be due for replacement in the next three to four years anyway. So, what does it bring to the table? Try stunning looks, aggressive lines, sleek curves, and the SkyActiv-X powertrain that’s expected to propel the Mazda brand into the next decade. Meanwhile, the interior gets a toned down look with accents in just the right places, a display screen that’s as wide as the day is long, and a cabin that emphasizes space as much as it does the car’s sporty prowess.

    So, will Mazda turn this into the next-gen Mazda3 Hatch? Well, it’s certainly too early to tell since the third-gen model was just revamped for the 2017 model year. So, by the time 2020 get here, we could see a production prototype of that bad boy tearing up the streets with the usual pre-production camo and cloud of mystery floating above it. But, until that happens, let’s take a closer look at this concept, talk some more about it, and speculate a bit about what it could become in the future.

    Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda Kai Concept.

    Mazda Press Conference at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show

    Exterior

    • Bubbly appearance
    • Aggressive front end
    • Sexy Roofline
    • Attractive rear end

    2017 Mazda Kai - image 740410
    “Violent, mean, aggressive, intense, rampant, raging, wild, and frenzied”

    Violent, mean, aggressive, intense, rampant, raging, wild, and frenzied – these words, among others, could all be used to describe the exterior design of the Mazda Kai Concept. The lines just seem to flow in a way that most automakers can seem to match. Take a look at the bottom of the A-pillars then look at how the hood line runs toward the nose, tilting in ever so slightly to make the hood narrower up front. Without a frame below, the hood and inner points of the fenders come together to create a bit of an overhang that shadows the chrome Mazda emblem positioned in the top-center of that recessed, black honeycomb grille. The design of the headlights, which appear to be LED units, flow seamlessly into the gloss black bezel that surrounds the sides and lower edge of the grille, coming to a point right in the center that matches that of the front fascia. Speaking of the fascia, notice how those long fenders seem to seamlessly blend in with the fascia? That’s what you call attractive from any angle.

    The fascia itself features those stout lines in the corners that are put in the place most manufacturers would have dumped some fake vents to keep up with the Jones’ while the air dam below runs nearly the full width of the fascia but maintains a low profile despite the overwhelming style of the car itself. Finally, the lip running across the bottom of the fascia is a hit that some down pressure is needed and gives us hope that this little four-door hatch could provide some decent performance More about that later, though.


    2017 Mazda Kai - image 740411
    “As you move along to the side, it becomes evident that Mazda took its time when it came to design”

    As you move along to the side, it becomes evident that Mazda took its time when it came to design and made it a point to put an emphasis and excessively tight clearance for not only the body panel but the doors as well. If this thing drove by you at 50 mph, you wouldn’t even be able to tell that it has doors. Of course, the lack of traditional door handles does help that a bit, as do those side view cameras. On the other hand, there are three features to the side profile that make this car so attractive. The first is those excessively long fenders that seem to run on forever. The second is the sheer smoothness of the side profile with its somewhat bubbly nature, while the third is the waistline that rides just north of parallel to the road and takes a sharp turn upward near the end of the rear doors. Down below the side skirts are accented by a small lip that curves upward just ahead of the rear wheel to create a little wingtip of sorts.

    Looking at the Kai concept from the rear end and you can actually notice (and absorb) the fact that this thing has some very flared wheel arches. They aren’t all that noticeable from the front or side view, but from the rear, they are so flared that they the car actually has a smooth but muscular appearance to it. Meanwhile, the bubbly appearance continues around back but is toned down a bit thanks to the dramatic cutout for the headlights that feature circular LEDs recessed into the body. The Mazda emblem sits all by its lonesome in the center of the hatch and the little lip just below it makes the rear hatch look a little wider than it really is. It should also be pointed out that the “rear fascia” is part of the body shell. Now, this does make for a cleaner look, no doubt, but it poses a problem should this model shift into production as it could lead to some expensive repair bills or even a total vehicle loss after even a minor rear-end collision.


    2017 Mazda Kai - image 740414
    “The rear hatch is actually a bit wider up top where the rear windscreen is, and that little overhang holds tight to the top of the rear hatch”

    Outside of this, the rear hatch is actually a bit wider up top where the rear windscreen is, and that little overhang holds tight to the top of the rear hatch. The bottom of the “fascia” gets a massive, flat-black insert with a black-hole-like opening along the bottom that runs almost the full width, being flanked but the circular exhaust outlet on each side. At the bottom, another lip is in place to level things out and tie the front and sides together in full harmony. The last thing I want to point out is the rood actually has two glass panels that for a T-top like-look, with the center portion of the roof getting two very sharp boy lines that provide some serious style if you happen to be looking down on this sexy little hatch.

    Interior

    • Leather interior
    • Red accents
    • Long digital display
    • Digital Controls

    2017 Mazda Kai - image 740409
    “There is a sporty appearance while the smooth, elegant lines provide a feeling of length and dominance”

    The interior of the Kai is just as intriguing as the exterior. There is a sporty appearance while the smooth, elegant lines provide a feeling of length and dominance. The seats sit far to the rear of the cabin, ultimately creating a legroom problem for those in the rear, but plenty of space for those up front. The dash has a two-tier look to it with a thin pad up top that overhangs along the full width of the dash with a longer overhang above the instrument cluster. The second tier sits lower and is widely smooth – a feature that helps the cabin feel wider than it really is. A long, thin screen sits between the upper dash bad and the lower, serving as a home for the infotainment system that looks to be more accessible to the passenger than the driver until you look at the center console and notice the circular touchback to the rear of the shifter.

    Sitting below the dash is the HVAC console that appears to include the vents and control. The HVAC controller itself is fully digital, however, there is one number in the corner closest to the driver. The center console sits high between the rear seats, something that gives the car a real sports car feel and is certainly rivaled only by the Kia Stinger at this point in time. The face of the center console is recessed a bit and is either black glass or very glossy plastic. The gear shifter sits about in the middle and looks to be a spring-loaded unit that allows for a slapstick-like driving experience. Red accents make up the walls above the console face and match those accents on the door trim panels. The seats are upholstered in the blackest of black.


    2017 Mazda Kai - image 740417
    “The view of the driver includes a three-gauge cluster that would be quite nice as a digital unit but appears to be analog in nature”

    The view of the driver includes a three-gauge cluster that would be quite nice as a digital unit but appears to be analog in nature. The steering column is short, much like the levels coming off the column while the steering wheel has thin spokes and a smaller central hub, giving the wheel a classic feel even with the chrome inserts and leather wrapping. The questions I’m left with are where do the side view cameras display their images and how much passenger and cargo room does this thing really have in the rear. The answer for the former is likely the rearview mirror, which could also be an all-digital unit and display a picture from the rear facing cabin out back. As for the passenger and cargo room, well, that’s like asking how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop: the world may never know.

    Drivetrain

    • SkyActiv-x Engine
    • 20-30 percent more efficient
    • 10-30 percent more torque
    • Up to 230 Horsepower
    • Could preview next-gen Mazda3 Hatch

    Mazda has a lot Planned for the Tokyo Motor Show - image 737439
    “Kai is powered by the new SkyActiv-X powerplant that will find its way into production cars as soon as the 2019 model year”

    Mazda didn’t say very much about either of the new concepts that it brought to Tokyo, but we know that the Kai is powered by the new SkyActiv-X powerplant that will find its way into production cars as soon as the 2019 model year, with the Mazda3 hatchback being the most likely candidate for its initial introduction. For now, very little is known about the SkyActiv-X, but we do know that it uses a spark-assisted compression ignition system. This works by using very high compression to combust the gasoline-air mixture inside each cylinder. It works the same way a diesel engine fires, however, gasoline requires much higher compression rates and, as such, doesn’t work quite as well at all engine loads and temperatures, which is why you need the spark plug for the occasional assist. The engine itself is a 2.0-liter four-banger and should be able to deliver some 200 horsepower or maybe a little more. According to Mazda, it can deliver 10 to 30 percent more torque than the current SkyActive engines in use today while being 20 to 30 percent more efficient.

    It really does sound promising, but test drives of vehicles fitted with pre-production versions yielded conditions such as spark knock – which was said by Mazda to be “normal” as well as some sluggishness at certain engine speeds like the engine was struggling to determine exactly when to use spark assist and when not to. Almost like it was experiencing a pre-ignition sort of situation. Of course, considering this engine is only good for so much horsepower, and there’s no telling what can actually be done to improve power, Mazda has to have a solution to offer even more power down the road. Well, this engine can be paired with a standard transmission or a hybrid unit so that more power could, in theory, be delivered with this engine with a little bit of electric help. On top of that, if the concept will work with four-cylinders it should work with six as well (Mazda hopes, anyway.) The biggest thing is, however, is that purchasing a car using this new type of engine is quite risky – it has no proven track record, no word for reliability, and good luck finding a mechanic that knows how to work on it, even at your local Mazda dealer in the first year or two the engine is in service.


    2017 Mazda Kai - image 740424
    “You can probably expect this concept to jump to 60 mph in around 6.5 seconds or so, while top speed would probably be around 140 mph”

    On the plus side, if the technology does prove to be worthy of long-term production, it could help keep the internal combustion engine in play for a long time to come and will give Mazda time to bank up a little cash to do some more R&D on the electrification front – something it wants to push but claims to have limited funds for R&D. For now, you can probably expect this concept to jump to 60 mph in around 6.5 seconds or so, in optimal running conditions, while top speed would probably be around 140 mph based solely on an educated guess that the engine will produce somewhere around 200 horsepower an 230 pound-feet of torque.

    Conclusion


    2017 Mazda Kai - image 740414

    When I first looked into Mazda today, the first thing I saw was the Vision Concept, and I have to say, I wasn’t impressed. I thought it looked a lot like the Mercedes-Maybach6 Concept with some different lines. Of course, it could also show Mazda’s intent to take the plunge into more luxurious territory, but we’ll leave that conversation for another day. In the end, I browsed past that Vision concept and took a good hard look at the Kai, and I said (Yes, I actually said it out loud to myself,) “that’s the future Mazda3 Hatchback right there. Whether or not it will be the fourth-gen model remains to be seen, as we’ve already seen prototypes on the road and they look nothing like this, but it could very well represent a future version of the car. We can at least hope anyway, right? For now, there’s not much else to say about this concept except that it has all the right credentials to become a production model so hopefully Mazda won’t leave this concept lost in time past. What do you guys think? Would you roll a hatchback like looks like this baby? Let us know in the comments section below.

    • Leave it
      • No details on SkyActive-X
      • Who knows when it’ll get to production
      • Little word from Mazda

    References

    Mazda3


    2019 Mazda3 - image 689583

    Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Mazda3.


    2017 Nissan IMx - image 740404

    Read more Tokyo Motor Show news.

    PostHeaderIcon Nissan IMx

    2017 Nissan IMx Concept

    Back in 2013, Nissan unveiled the IDx concept, getting everyone excited about a competitor for the Toyota 86 and a revival of the iconic Datsun 510. But that didn’t happen as of 2017, with Nissan going back and forth with the idea. Four years have passed, and the Japanese firm returned with a new concept car using a similar nameplate. the IMx. But, while it sports a similar badge, the new concept, which made its debut at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, is actually entirely different in terms of layout and technology.

    To be more specific, the IDx was a tribute to the Datsun 510, a compact sports car that made a name for itself on both public roads and race tracks, the IMx is a sleek crossover that provides a glimpse into the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, or the company’s approach to how cars are “powered, driven, and integrated with society.” In simpler terms, it previews the brand’s upcoming electric drivetrain and autonomous system. It also hints at Nissan’s future design language, which may bring sleeker, sportier SUVs in showrooms.

    Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan IMx concept.

    Nissan IMx unveiled in Tokyo

    Exterior

    • Unique, modern design
    • V-motion grille
    • Muscular beltline
    • Shooting brake rear end
    • Massive front end

    2017 Nissan IMx - image 740402
    “The IMx's design is as exotic as concept cars get, but it does incorporate some of Nissan's familiar cues”

    The IMx’s design is as exotic as concept cars get, but it does incorporate some of the brand’s familiar cues. The V-motion grille is the first that catches the eye, but the greenhouse and the beltine remind me a bit of the latest Nissan Leaf. But other than that, I see a unique design with plenty of interesting cues.

    While clean and sporty overall, the IMx boasts a few disruptive features, line a character line that rises from the front grille over the front fenders, descends at the doors, and the rises again abruptly at the rear wheel arches, before going down smoothly toward the rear. This, combined with the equally unique sense of layers coming from the muscular surfaces and the sharp line, give the concept car a high-tech look. Pretty much what you expect from a modern concept and all future automotive designs.


    2017 Nissan IMx - image 740399
    “The rear roof section combines the features of a sporty SUV with that of a shooting brake”

    The front fascia is a tad too massive for my taste, but I like the aggressive, vertical side vents and the really sharp headlamps that extend all the way to the front doors. The glowing grille, seeminly borrowed from the Leaf, is a nice touch too. The coupe-like roofline, the broad shoulders, and the neat, four-spoke wheel design further enhance the sporty stance of the crossover.

    The rear is also pretty exciting, especially the upper section, which combines the styling of sporty SUVs (think BMW X6) with design cues usually seen on shooting brakes. The low-slung rear glass extends almost to the edge of the decklid, while the LED taillights split at the outer edges and run into the C-pillars and the rear fenders. The fascia itself is almost featureless, but the sporty bumper and the diffuser make up for that.

    All told, I wouldn’t mind seeing a design like this go into production.

    Interior

    • No-nonsense, spacious packaging
    • Flat floor
    • Four ergonomic seats
    • No center console
    • Wood grain-patterned screen all around
    • Panoramic OLED display
    • Detects eye movement and hand gestures

    2017 Nissan IMx - image 740406
    “All unnecessary elements from a standard car were ignored for this concept in order to obtain as much room as possible”

    The interior is fancy, but very simple at the same time. This isn’t surprising, as Nissan built it around the basic concept of space from the traditional Japanese house. In short, all unnecessary elements from a standard car were ignored for this concept in order to obtain as much room as possible. The fact that the IMx uses an electric drivetrain also helps, as Nissan was able to create a flat floor. Unlike conventional cars, the IMx also lacks a center stack and center tunnel, which provides enormous legroom even in the most compact designs.

    There are four individual seats, each feturing a “katanagare” diagonal pattern etches witha laser cutter. The headrests, which are patterned like kumiki, a Japanese interlocking wood puzzle, are made from silicon cushioning and a frame produced by a 3D printer. The dashboard is covered by a big wood grain-patterned material that wraps around the door panels. This artsy design element is also a display that “gives occupants a subtle sense of the outside, similar to a shoji, a traditional Japanese paper screen.” There’s no explanation as to how it works, but it looks as if LED lights have been integrated into a swirly pattern cut into wood. Pretty fancy!


    2017 Nissan IMx - image 740405
    “The dash includes a panoramic OLED panel displays a view of the outer environment in the background”

    Speaking of displays, the dash includes a panoramic OLED panel displays a view of the outer environment in the background. Again, there isn’t much info about it, but it’s likely connected to an array of cameras fitted around the car’s exterior.

    Finally, Nissan showcases some new artificial intelligence technology that enables the driver to control the instrument panel with eye movements and hand gestures. This basically most physical controls and switches, making the cabin of the IMx as simple as possible. Things become even more simpler when the autonomous mode is selected and the steering wheel is concealed inside the dashboard. At the same time, all four seats are reclined to enhance comfort for the driver and passengers. This feature is obviously not yet ready for production since fully autonomous aren’t yet approved for public roads, but it could become a thing in a few years.

    Drivetrain

    • Two electric motors
    • 429 horsepower
    • 516 pound-feet of torque
    • Increased density battery
    • More than 370 miles of range
    • Fully autonomous
    • Self-parking feature

    2017 Nissan IMx - image 740403
    “The electric motors generate a solid 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque”

    As you’d expect from a futuristic, fully autonomous concept car, the IMx is an all electric vehicle. Motivation is provided by two “high-output” motor, one for each axle, that produce a solid 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. That’s nowhere near as much as you get with a range-topping Tesla Model X, but the IMx has an impressive battery to brag about. Developed and engineered for increased density, the high-capacity battery in the concept car can provide a driving range of more than 372 miles on a single charge. That’s at least 77 miles more than the most efficient Model X available right now, and a feat I’d sacrifice supercar-worthy 0 to 60 mph sprints.

    Of course, this figure doesn’t matter much until we can get it in a production car, but it’s certainly doable with today’s technology.

    “The concept is able to park in a certain spot to connect to the local power grid”

    Nissan didn’t have much to say about the car’s autonomous drive potential, but did mention a self-parking feature. What’s more, the concept is reportedly able to park in a certain spot to connect to the local power grid and act live a small power plant and return electricity to the grid. This is part of Nissan’s plan to make its vehicles part of the “social infrastructure” and it’s an extension of its “vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-building” features. Again, not much information available, but it’s a good philosophy given that most governments are struggling to develop more complex electric car infrastructures and charging stations.

    Conclusion


    2017 Nissan IMx - image 740657

    I’m usually a bit sceptic about concept cars going into production without major changes, but I must admit that the IMx is one of those show cars that I’d like to buy as is. Granted, I’m not very exciting about a future in which we can’t drive, but at list the IMx gives me the option to take control. But what I like most about it is roomy, no-nonsense interior. You’d have to be incredibly tall to not have enough legroom and it seems that there is no way you could hurt your elbow no matter the seat you’re using. Then there’s the 350+ mile range, which eliminates the range anxiety associated with most current electric cars. Unfortunately, putting the IMx into production in this form would make it very expensive and would defeat the purpose of having increasingly more affordable EVs. So I guess it will only spawn some sort of Leaf-based crossover in the future. Not that this would be a bad thing, but it most certainly won’t have that ergonomic interior.

    • Leave it
      • Not scheduled for production
      • Production counterpart won’t be as roomy

    References


    2013 Nissan IDx Nismo - image 532944

    Read our full review on the 2013 Nissan IDx Nismo.


    2014 Nissan IDx Freeflow - image 532996

    Read our full review on the 2013 Nissan IDx Freeflow.


    2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736613

    Read more Tokyo Motor Show news.

    PostHeaderIcon An Unlikely Concept Debut From An Unlikely Company Will Be On Display In Tokyo

    The 2017 Tokyo Motor Show is going to be very eventful this year with many showcase pieces expected to be in attendance. There is one vehicle though that’s going to get a lot of attention, and all because it comes from a company that’s not necessarily known for building cars, let alone one of the concept variety. Yes, folks; Yamaha’s at it again. Two years after introducing the Sports Ride Concept in the same event, the noted motorcycle company is bringing another “automobile” to Tokyo.

    The concept vehicle will be one of six world premieres that Yamaha is expected to unveil. All the others are typical scooters, motorcycles, an e-bike, and a futuristic motorcycle prototype that’s right up Yamaha’s alley.
    Now, I spent a good deal of time on the motorcycle scene here at TopSpeed, so I am curious about what Yamaha’s two-wheeled debuts are going to be. But, I will admit that I’m more curious about what Yamaha’s “automobile design concept” is going to be. Details are still scarce at this point, but it’s hard to look into what Yamaha unveiled two years ago and not think that there’s a possible connection between the Sports Ride prototype and whatever it is that the company is preparing to unveil at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. Remember that lightweight piece of automotive goodness? Not only did it look like a proper concept car, but it actually had roots to the iStream design concept that was popularized by none other than Gordon Murray. I don’t know if this new concept will have similar roots, but you can be sure that I’m excited to find out.

    Continue after the jump to read the full story.

    What does this mean for Yamaha?


    Yamaha Sports Ride Coupe Concept - image 653307
    “There’s no way to think that the company can’t build a sports car if it really puts the time and effort into it”

    The worst thing we can do at this point is to get ahead of ourselves and start pining Yamaha to build a car. The Japanese company may have a diverse business portfolio that includes building car engines, but an actual sports car is something that it has yet to do. So, to think that Yamaha would just venture into the business would be asking a little too much out of it.

    Or is it?

    Here’s where my optimism lies about the possibility of a Yamaha-badged sports car hitting the road the soon, and it all goes back to the same wide reach of expertise that has put the company where it is today. You can argue that Yamaha has its hands on as many industries as any automaker in the world, including titans like Toyota, Volkswagen, and General Motors. There’s no way to think that the company can’t build a sports car if it really puts the time and effort into it. The question now is whether Yamaha thinks that it’s something worth doing.

    If it did do it, don’t be surprised if a Yamaha car ends up being as good as I think it’s going to be. In the absence of what this new concept has in store for us, look no further than the prototype it unveiled two years ago.

    Yamaha Sports Ride Coupe Concept


    Yamaha Sports Ride Coupe Concept - image 653308
    “One look at the Yamaha Sports Ride Coupe Concept and you can immediately tell that it’s more than just a flashy showcase of Yamaha’s designers”

    One look at the Yamaha Sports Ride Coupe Concept and you can immediately tell that it’s more than just a flashy showcase of Yamaha’s designers. Specific details about it point to a sports car that could really make some noise if the people behind it decide to bring it to life. First, there’s the concept’s weight of just 750 kilograms (1,653 pounds). Compare it to a similarly sized Mazda MX-5 Miata and the Sports Ride Coupe Concept weighs 679 pounds less than the almighty MX-5.

    Take it a step further, and look at the concept’s measurements: 3,900 millimeters (153 inches) long, 1,720 mm (67.7 in.) wide, and 1,170 mm (46 in.) tall. It’s small and compact, exactly like a sports car should be. Compare it to the MX-5, and the numbers become even more interesting.

    Model Length Width Height
    Yamaha Sports Ride Coupe Concept 3,900 millimeters (153 inches) 1,720 mm (67.7 in.) 1,170 mm (46 in.)
    Mazda MX-5 Miata 3,945 mm(155.3 inches) 1,678 mm (66.1 inches) 1,228 mm (48.3 inches)

    Similarly-sized, right?

    Regardless of what Yamaha plans to do with this new concept car, it’s probably time for the rest of the auto industry to treat Yamaha as more than just a novelty in its circle. Maybe a Yamaha sports car is coming. At this point, it’s not hard to imagine the possibilities anymore.

    References


    Yamaha Sports Ride Coupe Concept - image 653306

    Read our full review on the Yamaha Sports Ride Coupe Concept


    2018 Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition - image 737617

    Read more Tokyo Motor Show news.

    PostHeaderIcon Toyota GR HV Sports Concept

    Meet the Toyota GR HV Sports Concept

    Toyota is the largest automaker in the world, even outpacing Volkswagen this year with over 7 million units sold across a plethora of markets. But, despite the huge volume of automobiles Toyota pumps out annually, picking a true-blue sports car from its lineup is a little limited. Very limited, actually, with just a single performance model on offer in the form of the Toyota GT86. Don’t get us wrong – we’re big fans of the little two-door coupe, and we’re quite happy that it exists. That said, we think Toyota has the means to offer us at least a few more options, don’t you? Now, it looks like we might get just that, as Toyota appears to be gearing up for the release of the next-generation Supra. While details on that are rooted in rumor, Toyota could be offering a glimpse at things to come with this new concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. Dubbed the GR HV Sports Concept, it’s a compact two-door with eccentric styling, a hybrid powertrain, and an odd H-pattern automatic gearbox.

    Intrigued? So are we. Toyota frames it as “a new way to enjoy cars by integrating the thrill of a sports car with the environmental friendliness of an eco-car.” We see it as a chance for Toyota to instill the brand with a little more adrenaline. Read on for the details.

    Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota GR HV Sports Concept.

    Exterior


    2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736612

    The first thing that’ll strike you about this concept is the way it looks. The peculiar design was meant to mimic the Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid race car that runs in the World Endurance Championship, hence the GR HV (Gazoo Racing Hybrid Vehicle) letter lineup we see in the title. It’s an interesting tie-in, given the TS050 was designed entirely for going fast, rather than looking good. Still, it’s a nice reminder that although Toyota might not offer too many sports cars in its production line, its still got some very stout entries in the world of motorsport.


    2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 - image 670823

    2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736613
    “Toyota’s latest concept car (pictured right) takes cues from the brand’s WEC competitor, the Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid (pictured left).”

    The inspiration can be seen most clearly in the concept’s front-end design, where we find a downward sloping beak and rounded point, plus a set of tall LED headlights mounted on either side of the body. The concept’s wheels are made from aluminum and use the same look as the racer, while the concept’s rear diffuser, taillights, and lines also mimic the racer’s tail. Large fender flairs in front add a little extra visual beef.

    While the allusions to the Toyota WEC competitor become obvious when seen side-by-side, it’s impossible not to see this concept is really just a re-bodied GT86, with slightly longer, wider, and taller dimensions. But that’s okay – after all, the GT86 is Toyota’s one-and-only sports car, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see it providing the bones for this new design study.


    2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736610
    “Another feature of note is the concept’s targa top, which the automaker says draws similarities with Sports 800 “Yotahachi,” a fun two-door coupe from the ‘60s, as well as the well-known Toyota Supra.”

    Another feature of note is the concept’s targa top, which the automaker says draws similarities with Sports 800 “Yotahachi,” a fun two-door coupe from the ‘60s, as well as the well-known Toyota Supra. Obviously, this gets us very excited, as any and all official references Toyota might make to the Supra nameplate are enough to get us slobbering over thoughts of the release of a new-generation model. It’s like the Pavlov’s dog effect for fanboys.

    Which begs the question – does the Toyota GR HV Sports Concept preview the styling Toyota has planned for the Supra?

    Only time will tell, but for the time being, let’s assume that yes, this concept is what the new Supra is gonna look like as well. What do you think? Does it tickle your fancy? Personally, we’re not the biggest fans – sure it’s striking, but it doesn’t have the lovely curves and attractiveness we were hoping for. Regardless, we’ll take it if it means we can have the next-gen Supra already.

    Finally, we find the exterior was covered in matte black paint to embody “power and aggressiveness.”

    Interior


    2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736617
    “While the general look closely resembles the production GT86, there are a few features that make it stand out as unique”

    Step into the cabin, and this new concept once again recalls the GT86. The look and layout aren’t all that different, with tight, form-fitting seats, a low-slung seating position, and three-spoke multifunction steering wheel.


    2017 Toyota 86 - image 694997

    2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736615

    Note: Toyota GT86 pictured on the left, Toyota GR HV Sports Concept pictured on the right.

    While the general look closely resembles the production GT86, there are a few features that make it stand out as unique. The most obvious of these is a series of buttons laid out horizontally across the dash and surrounded by brush metal-look trim. These provide inputs for selecting the various drive modes for the automatic transmission (Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive), and were designed to mimic the design of a race car.

    “But wait,” you might say, “why is there a gear stick with an H pattern in the center tunnel?”

    That’s where that red “M” comes in. Apparently, the GR HV Sports Concept allows drivers to row their own in the traditional fashion, despite coming equipped with a slushbox. We’re not entirely sure how that’s supposed to work, but we assume it’s like flappy paddles on the steering wheel, just with more control than a simple upshift/downshift operation.


    2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736616
    “We assume it’s like flappy paddles on the steering wheel, just with more control than a simple upshift/downshift operation.”

    What’s more, Toyota put a push-button starter on the gear knob, which makes us think of the missile launcher system on a fighter jet. Is that the best spot for it? Probably not. Is it still pretty damn cool? We think so. More fighter jet references, please.

    Finally, there are performance meters with digital readouts in the center console touchscreen, plus a full complement of digital gauges behind the steering wheel as well.

    Drivetrain

    Note: Toyota TS050 Hybrid drivetrain explained here.

    While details on the GR HV Sports Concept’s powertrain are practically non-existent, Toyota did mention it would get a performance-oriented set-up with technology taken from the TS050 (hence the video above). And while we’d love to see a fire-breathing, high-revving, 500-horsepower 2.4-liter V-6 with 8 megajoules of electric assistance, we think something like an all-atmosphere 2.0-liter four-cylinder and single electric motor combo would be much more likely. Something around 250 horsepower would be perfect, actually.

    The engine mounts in front and routes output exclusively to the rear wheels via that six-speed automatic/manual transmission already discussed. Meanwhile, the battery was mounted centrally in the body for better weight distribution. Fun noises exit via a single central exhaust pipe.

    Again, this gets us thinking about the new Supra. Rumor has it Toyota is bringing hybrid power to the nameplate. And why not – the brand already has loads of experience when it comes to electrification, and the Supra was always a heavier, GT-style car, which means the added weight of a battery pack and electric motor shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

    Conclusion


    2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736608

    While you’d be right to call the Toyota GR HV Sports Concept, well, odd, we like it all the same. Yeah, the styling is weird, but Toyota’s Le Mans racer provided the inspiration, and that gives it a pass in our book. Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to mount the starter in the gearshift knob, but it’s still a cool detail. And yeah, mixing a stick shift with an automatic transmission doesn’t make sense, but at least Toyota is thinking about ways to keep the driving experience more interesting.

    Now, about the Supra…

    • Leave it
      • Row your own on an automatic?
      • Not exactly pretty
      • Basically a re-bodied GT86

    References

    Toyota GT86


    2017 Toyota 86 - image 669805

    Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota 86.


    2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 - image 670823

    Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1.

    PostHeaderIcon Toyota Tj Cruiser

    Toyota has debuted a concept vehicle designed to not only showcase innovation but to also create an entirely new vehicle class. It’s called the Toyota Tj Cruiser, and it’s basically the cross between a minivan and crossover SUV. Toyota says the overall theme is one of work meets play, which led to the Tj Cruiser name. It literally stands for Toolbox Joy. Wait, what? Yeah, Toolbox for its functionality and van-like hauling capability and Joy for the “joy of visiting various places by car.” Wow. Of course, the Cruiser name is borrowed from retro-redo of the iconic FJ series, the FJ Cruiser. As fans of the Jeep Wrangler, it just makes us think about the 1997-2006 Wrangler TJ. What’s worse, the Tj Cruiser’s design makes us think Toyota took a Honda Element, Chevrolet Astro, the Volkswagen Thing, and some weird early-2000s Chrysler concept all squished together like different colors of Play-doh.

    Needless to say, the Tj Cruiser’s visuals leave much to be desired.

    Once past the questionable styling, the Tj Cruiser’s thesis actually works – a no-holds-barred functional vehicle with available AWD for unpaved roads, room for objects 10 feet long with the seats folded, and four people with the seats in place. There are even aluminum rails with movable tie-down cleats on the ceiling and walls, much like those in a pickup’s cargo bed. Toyota Says the Tj Cruiser rides on the next-generation global architecture and uses a stronger-style suspension system with all-terrain tires. Power is hybrid, of course, paring a 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder with an electric motor and a battery pack. Front-wheel drive is planned as standard, while AWD will be optional. Toyota has mentioned no firm plans for production, but the Tj Cruiser will be on display at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show October 25 through November 5.

    Continue reading for more information.

    Exterior


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736625
    “It would be really cool if you could make a photo collage of the Astro, Element, and VW thing across the top and a larger photo of the Tj Cruiser at the bottom.”

    Wow, what can we say? It looks like Toyota spent all its time designing the Tj Cruiser’s interior and forgot about the exterior until 20 minutes before the project’s deadline. Like we said above, this concept looks like some odd amalgamation of a Chevy Astro minivan, a Honda Element, and the designed-with-a-ruler VW Thing. Heck, the Tj Cruiser even shares the VW Thing’s round headlights!

    QUOTE “This concept looks like some odd amalgamation of a Chevy Astro minivan, a Honda Element, and the designed-with-a-ruler VW Thing.”

    The Tj Cruiser’s squared-off front has that sloping minivan-style hood with a lifeless, flat grille, bumper, and headlights. Aside from those headlights and the wheels, the only round shapes seen here are the fenders and the door handles. The angular lines continue out back, with a nearly-square liftgate flanked round taillights perched in blacked-out, negative space left by the open fenders. Come to think of it, the Tj Cruiser looks almost the same coming and going.

    It’s not all bad news, though. The Tj Cruiser has respectable ground clearance with short overhangs. Toyota uses some sort of “special coating” on the hood, roof, and fenders to protect from scratches, though the rest of the body apparently offers free reign to door dings, gouges, and nicks. The van/crossover hybrid rolls on 20-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.

    Interior


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736622
    “The interesting interior is filled with functionality and forward-thinking design.”

    Open the front doors and slide the rear doors open like a minivan, and you’re greeted with an interesting interior filled with functionality and a forward-thinking design. While the seat count seems a little low for a family-friendly vehicle, four people have plenty of room in their individual bucket seats. The tall roofline makes for plenty of headroom and the flat floor should offer tons of legroom. Entry in and out seems incredibly easy thanks to the large door openings and taller hip-height.

    When it comes time to haul stuff, all but the driver’s seat folds flat, creating a massive load floor. Holes in the cargo area floor and pipes along the seatback edges provide plenty of places to strap down cargo, not to mention those adjustable cleats on the aluminum rails in the ceiling and on the walls. There are even canvas straps on the seatbacks for holding stuff. Toyota says objects 10 feet long will easily fit in the Tj Cruiser, citing surfboards as the cool cargo of choice.

    Being built for the Tokyo Motor Show, the Tj Cruiser uses a right-hand-drive setup, though with its squared-off, mirror-style dashboard design, it wouldn’t take much to produce a left-hand-drive version, too. The dash features even more storage space. The passenger side has a cubby hole with an elastic band keeping items in place. The gauges are located in an upper tier above the main dash, much like the Toyota Prius.

    Overall, the interior seems well conceived and highly functional. It will certainly be interesting to see if Toyota actually puts something like this into production.

    Drivetrain


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736627
    “It uses a gasoline-electric hybrid system with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder.”

    Toyota was pretty quiet with details about the drivetrain, though the Tj Cruiser is more of a design study at this point. Nevertheless, we know it uses a gasoline-electric hybrid system with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, an electric motor, and a battery pack. FWD would be standard and AWD could be added. Beyond that, Toyota could give more information at the Tokyo Motor Show coming October 25 and running through November 5, 2017. If anything develops, we’ll update you here.

    Pricing


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736626

    Being a concept vehicle, Toyota didn’t talk money. However, with the Tj Cruiser’s aim towards active families and its utilitarian nature, Toyota would surely keep pricing reasonable. If a production version were to hit U.S. shores for 2019, we might see prices start around $24,000. Of course, that’s a pure educated guess.

    Conclusion


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736620

    Well, it’s hard to dis the Tj Cruiser’s rather useful and well-conceived interior, but boy is it oh-so-easy to knock on its half-baked exterior design. It’s tough to imagine Toyota selling this beside the curvy new Camry or the slick 86 Coupe – both of which look meticulously sculpted. Even Toyota’s FT-4X Concept is far more appealing than the Tj Cruiser. Then again, perhaps this van/crossover thing isn’t intended for America. Perhaps the outside is just a placeholder for something better while allowing Toyota to preview its swanky new interior. Who knows?

    All told, the Tj Cruiser is different. Yeah, it’s odd, but I do have to give Toyota credit for thinking outside the box. And since some of our favorite vehicles are unconventional, hey, maybe we will grow to like it.

    What do you think about this concept? Let us know in the comments below.

    • Leave it
      • Boy, it its an ugly duckling
      • Only four seats
      • Will it enter production?

    PostHeaderIcon Toyota Tj Cruiser

    Toyota has debuted a concept vehicle designed to not only showcase innovation but to also create an entirely new vehicle class. It’s called the Toyota Tj Cruiser, and it’s basically the cross between a minivan and crossover SUV. Toyota says the overall theme is one of work meets play, which led to the Tj Cruiser name. It literally stands for Toolbox Joy. Wait, what? Yeah, Toolbox for its functionality and van-like hauling capability and Joy for the “joy of visiting various places by car.” Wow. Of course, the Cruiser name is borrowed from retro-redo of the iconic FJ series, the FJ Cruiser. As fans of the Jeep Wrangler, it just makes us think about the 1997-2006 Wrangler TJ. What’s worse, the Tj Cruiser’s design makes us think Toyota took a Honda Element, Chevrolet Astro, the Volkswagen Thing, and some weird early-2000s Chrysler concept all squished together like different colors of Play-doh.

    Needless to say, the Tj Cruiser’s visuals leave much to be desired.

    Once past the questionable styling, the Tj Cruiser’s thesis actually works – a no-holds-barred functional vehicle with available AWD for unpaved roads, room for objects 10 feet long with the seats folded, and four people with the seats in place. There are even aluminum rails with movable tie-down cleats on the ceiling and walls, much like those in a pickup’s cargo bed. Toyota Says the Tj Cruiser rides on the next-generation global architecture and uses a stronger-style suspension system with all-terrain tires. Power is hybrid, of course, paring a 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder with an electric motor and a battery pack. Front-wheel drive is planned as standard, while AWD will be optional. Toyota has mentioned no firm plans for production, but the Tj Cruiser will be on display at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show October 25 through November 5.

    Continue reading for more information.

    Exterior


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736625
    “It would be really cool if you could make a photo collage of the Astro, Element, and VW thing across the top and a larger photo of the Tj Cruiser at the bottom.”

    Wow, what can we say? It looks like Toyota spent all its time designing the Tj Cruiser’s interior and forgot about the exterior until 20 minutes before the project’s deadline. Like we said above, this concept looks like some odd amalgamation of a Chevy Astro minivan, a Honda Element, and the designed-with-a-ruler VW Thing. Heck, the Tj Cruiser even shares the VW Thing’s round headlights!

    QUOTE “This concept looks like some odd amalgamation of a Chevy Astro minivan, a Honda Element, and the designed-with-a-ruler VW Thing.”

    The Tj Cruiser’s squared-off front has that sloping minivan-style hood with a lifeless, flat grille, bumper, and headlights. Aside from those headlights and the wheels, the only round shapes seen here are the fenders and the door handles. The angular lines continue out back, with a nearly-square liftgate flanked round taillights perched in blacked-out, negative space left by the open fenders. Come to think of it, the Tj Cruiser looks almost the same coming and going.

    It’s not all bad news, though. The Tj Cruiser has respectable ground clearance with short overhangs. Toyota uses some sort of “special coating” on the hood, roof, and fenders to protect from scratches, though the rest of the body apparently offers free reign to door dings, gouges, and nicks. The van/crossover hybrid rolls on 20-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.

    Interior


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736622
    “The interesting interior is filled with functionality and forward-thinking design.”

    Open the front doors and slide the rear doors open like a minivan, and you’re greeted with an interesting interior filled with functionality and a forward-thinking design. While the seat count seems a little low for a family-friendly vehicle, four people have plenty of room in their individual bucket seats. The tall roofline makes for plenty of headroom and the flat floor should offer tons of legroom. Entry in and out seems incredibly easy thanks to the large door openings and taller hip-height.

    When it comes time to haul stuff, all but the driver’s seat folds flat, creating a massive load floor. Holes in the cargo area floor and pipes along the seatback edges provide plenty of places to strap down cargo, not to mention those adjustable cleats on the aluminum rails in the ceiling and on the walls. There are even canvas straps on the seatbacks for holding stuff. Toyota says objects 10 feet long will easily fit in the Tj Cruiser, citing surfboards as the cool cargo of choice.

    Being built for the Tokyo Motor Show, the Tj Cruiser uses a right-hand-drive setup, though with its squared-off, mirror-style dashboard design, it wouldn’t take much to produce a left-hand-drive version, too. The dash features even more storage space. The passenger side has a cubby hole with an elastic band keeping items in place. The gauges are located in an upper tier above the main dash, much like the Toyota Prius.

    Overall, the interior seems well conceived and highly functional. It will certainly be interesting to see if Toyota actually puts something like this into production.

    Drivetrain


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736627
    “It uses a gasoline-electric hybrid system with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder.”

    Toyota was pretty quiet with details about the drivetrain, though the Tj Cruiser is more of a design study at this point. Nevertheless, we know it uses a gasoline-electric hybrid system with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, an electric motor, and a battery pack. FWD would be standard and AWD could be added. Beyond that, Toyota could give more information at the Tokyo Motor Show coming October 25 and running through November 5, 2017. If anything develops, we’ll update you here.

    Pricing


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736626

    Being a concept vehicle, Toyota didn’t talk money. However, with the Tj Cruiser’s aim towards active families and its utilitarian nature, Toyota would surely keep pricing reasonable. If a production version were to hit U.S. shores for 2019, we might see prices start around $24,000. Of course, that’s a pure educated guess.

    Conclusion


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736620

    Well, it’s hard to dis the Tj Cruiser’s rather useful and well-conceived interior, but boy is it oh-so-easy to knock on its half-baked exterior design. It’s tough to imagine Toyota selling this beside the curvy new Camry or the slick 86 Coupe – both of which look meticulously sculpted. Even Toyota’s FT-4X Concept is far more appealing than the Tj Cruiser. Then again, perhaps this van/crossover thing isn’t intended for America. Perhaps the outside is just a placeholder for something better while allowing Toyota to preview its swanky new interior. Who knows?

    All told, the Tj Cruiser is different. Yeah, it’s odd, but I do have to give Toyota credit for thinking outside the box. And since some of our favorite vehicles are unconventional, hey, maybe we will grow to like it.

    What do you think about this concept? Let us know in the comments below.

    • Leave it
      • Boy, it its an ugly duckling
      • Only four seats
      • Will it enter production?

    PostHeaderIcon Toyota Tj Cruiser

    Toyota has debuted a concept vehicle designed to not only showcase innovation but to also create an entirely new vehicle class. It’s called the Toyota Tj Cruiser, and it’s basically the cross between a minivan and crossover SUV. Toyota says the overall theme is one of work meets play, which led to the Tj Cruiser name. It literally stands for Toolbox Joy. Wait, what? Yeah, Toolbox for its functionality and van-like hauling capability and Joy for the “joy of visiting various places by car.” Wow. Of course, the Cruiser name is borrowed from retro-redo of the iconic FJ series, the FJ Cruiser. As fans of the Jeep Wrangler, it just makes us think about the 1997-2006 Wrangler TJ. What’s worse, the Tj Cruiser’s design makes us think Toyota took a Honda Element, Chevrolet Astro, the Volkswagen Thing, and some weird early-2000s Chrysler concept all squished together like different colors of Play-doh.

    Needless to say, the Tj Cruiser’s visuals leave much to be desired.

    Once past the questionable styling, the Tj Cruiser’s thesis actually works – a no-holds-barred functional vehicle with available AWD for unpaved roads, room for objects 10 feet long with the seats folded, and four people with the seats in place. There are even aluminum rails with movable tie-down cleats on the ceiling and walls, much like those in a pickup’s cargo bed. Toyota Says the Tj Cruiser rides on the next-generation global architecture and uses a stronger-style suspension system with all-terrain tires. Power is hybrid, of course, paring a 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder with an electric motor and a battery pack. Front-wheel drive is planned as standard, while AWD will be optional. Toyota has mentioned no firm plans for production, but the Tj Cruiser will be on display at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show October 25 through November 5.

    Continue reading for more information.

    Exterior


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736625
    “It would be really cool if you could make a photo collage of the Astro, Element, and VW thing across the top and a larger photo of the Tj Cruiser at the bottom.”

    Wow, what can we say? It looks like Toyota spent all its time designing the Tj Cruiser’s interior and forgot about the exterior until 20 minutes before the project’s deadline. Like we said above, this concept looks like some odd amalgamation of a Chevy Astro minivan, a Honda Element, and the designed-with-a-ruler VW Thing. Heck, the Tj Cruiser even shares the VW Thing’s round headlights!

    QUOTE “This concept looks like some odd amalgamation of a Chevy Astro minivan, a Honda Element, and the designed-with-a-ruler VW Thing.”

    The Tj Cruiser’s squared-off front has that sloping minivan-style hood with a lifeless, flat grille, bumper, and headlights. Aside from those headlights and the wheels, the only round shapes seen here are the fenders and the door handles. The angular lines continue out back, with a nearly-square liftgate flanked round taillights perched in blacked-out, negative space left by the open fenders. Come to think of it, the Tj Cruiser looks almost the same coming and going.

    It’s not all bad news, though. The Tj Cruiser has respectable ground clearance with short overhangs. Toyota uses some sort of “special coating” on the hood, roof, and fenders to protect from scratches, though the rest of the body apparently offers free reign to door dings, gouges, and nicks. The van/crossover hybrid rolls on 20-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.

    Interior


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736622
    “The interesting interior is filled with functionality and forward-thinking design.”

    Open the front doors and slide the rear doors open like a minivan, and you’re greeted with an interesting interior filled with functionality and a forward-thinking design. While the seat count seems a little low for a family-friendly vehicle, four people have plenty of room in their individual bucket seats. The tall roofline makes for plenty of headroom and the flat floor should offer tons of legroom. Entry in and out seems incredibly easy thanks to the large door openings and taller hip-height.

    When it comes time to haul stuff, all but the driver’s seat folds flat, creating a massive load floor. Holes in the cargo area floor and pipes along the seatback edges provide plenty of places to strap down cargo, not to mention those adjustable cleats on the aluminum rails in the ceiling and on the walls. There are even canvas straps on the seatbacks for holding stuff. Toyota says objects 10 feet long will easily fit in the Tj Cruiser, citing surfboards as the cool cargo of choice.

    Being built for the Tokyo Motor Show, the Tj Cruiser uses a right-hand-drive setup, though with its squared-off, mirror-style dashboard design, it wouldn’t take much to produce a left-hand-drive version, too. The dash features even more storage space. The passenger side has a cubby hole with an elastic band keeping items in place. The gauges are located in an upper tier above the main dash, much like the Toyota Prius.

    Overall, the interior seems well conceived and highly functional. It will certainly be interesting to see if Toyota actually puts something like this into production.

    Drivetrain


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736627
    “It uses a gasoline-electric hybrid system with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder.”

    Toyota was pretty quiet with details about the drivetrain, though the Tj Cruiser is more of a design study at this point. Nevertheless, we know it uses a gasoline-electric hybrid system with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, an electric motor, and a battery pack. FWD would be standard and AWD could be added. Beyond that, Toyota could give more information at the Tokyo Motor Show coming October 25 and running through November 5, 2017. If anything develops, we’ll update you here.

    Pricing


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736626

    Being a concept vehicle, Toyota didn’t talk money. However, with the Tj Cruiser’s aim towards active families and its utilitarian nature, Toyota would surely keep pricing reasonable. If a production version were to hit U.S. shores for 2019, we might see prices start around $24,000. Of course, that’s a pure educated guess.

    Conclusion


    2017 Toyota Tj Cruiser - image 736620

    Well, it’s hard to dis the Tj Cruiser’s rather useful and well-conceived interior, but boy is it oh-so-easy to knock on its half-baked exterior design. It’s tough to imagine Toyota selling this beside the curvy new Camry or the slick 86 Coupe – both of which look meticulously sculpted. Even Toyota’s FT-4X Concept is far more appealing than the Tj Cruiser. Then again, perhaps this van/crossover thing isn’t intended for America. Perhaps the outside is just a placeholder for something better while allowing Toyota to preview its swanky new interior. Who knows?

    All told, the Tj Cruiser is different. Yeah, it’s odd, but I do have to give Toyota credit for thinking outside the box. And since some of our favorite vehicles are unconventional, hey, maybe we will grow to like it.

    What do you think about this concept? Let us know in the comments below.

    • Leave it
      • Boy, it its an ugly duckling
      • Only four seats
      • Will it enter production?

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