The best and worst from the Tokyo motor show
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Taking a look at the good and the bad from Tokyo
In some ways, these large international motor shows are a bit pointless. Only a handful of the weird and wonderful creations on show will ever see production, with most of them sanitized by the bean-counters beforehand — becoming vanilla-flavoured caricatures of their former show-stopping selves. The only thing one can guarantee is the inexplicable caffeine and alcohol shortage that results when so many PR people and journalists (gulp) are shoe-horned into the confines of one city.
However, that doesn’t stop us all from staring in awe, or repulsion, at some of the machines present. And, every so often, one will slip through the cracks and onto a showroom floor a few years down the line. So with the 44th annual Tokyo motor show still very much alive, here’s the best and the worst of what has been unveiled.
Good: The Mazda RX-VISION concept
Stereotypes can often be cruel. And when one says the words ‘rotary enthusiast’, the imagery conjured by the average petrol head is often an unfortunate cocktail of cheap bourbon, skid pans, shoulder-length mullets, and undersized singlets.
But when Mazda dropped the sleek and thoroughly beautiful RX-VISION concept yesterday, a few of those stereotypes shattered. As already detailed, the VISION represents what might be planned for a long-awaited sequel to the RX-7 and RX-8. Mazda are still developing the next-generation rotary banger, which will be infused with SKYACTIV technology.
Mazda seemingly can’t put a foot wrong these days. If that’s anything to go by, then this will be an incredible car … if they make it.
Bad: Nissan Teatro for Dayz
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But there’s a small but very vocal group of people who seem doggedly convinced that ‘millenials’ aren’t into cars anymore — and it’s this rationale that has lead to numerous manufacturers producing four-wheeled cringe-cases like Nissan’s hideously-named ‘Teatro for Dayz’ concept.
The Teatro (Italian for theatre because why not) is a car that desperately attempts to cling onto every possible millennial trope imaginable.
Open the doors, and the seats and dash are LED screens. Swipe your hand over the dashboard, it’s an LED screen. The bumpers and the door trims, more LED screens, the rear of which will display your car’s ‘status update’. There’s no steering wheel, instead a tablet — which weirdly enough is also an LED screen. A built-in camera can take photos of you and your friends to be beamed out onto social media. Everything is voice and motion activated.
All of which make this car a perfect embodiment of what’s wrong with that thing they call social media.
The worst thing about this car, apart from the fact that it has ‘Dayz’ in its name, is the press release, which asks its readers to “toss out preconceived notions regarding vehicles”, before equating driving with “time disconnected with friends.”
How is this from the same company that produced the GT-R.
Good: Pretty much everything Suzuki brought along in their hand-carry
In stark contrast to the bulbous Suzuki Baleno that the Japanese marque revealed earlier this year, their Tokyo motor show fare has been cheek-pinchingly adorable.
The Mighty Deck concept resembles a life-size Tonka Toy, with its solid bright colours, its extensive wood paneling, and its chuffed demeanor. Across the stand, the Air Triser concept looks like the love child of Iron Man’s helmet and that wireless Bluetooth speaker you gave your daughter last Christmas. Neither of them can help but make you smile.
But the one to keep an eye on will be Ignis. While information on the little scamp is currently thin, what is known is that it will be making its way into production, potentially arriving at a dealership near you in 2017. While it looks about as modern as anything else on the Suzy stand, the Ignis sports numerous retro references — including a contemporary take on the C-pillar and front fascia from Suzuki’s SC 100 from the ’70s.
Bad: Toyota Alphard Hercule Concept
Toyota think that the Alphard Hercule concept effectively extracts visual cues from boating, but all I can see as I stare at its nose is Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs — only much, much scarier.
Toyota arrive at this conclusion after drinking in the white leather and wood-paneled interior — complete with wine bottle and glasses for those ‘lucky’ enough to be in the rear row — and after gesturing enthusiastically at the blue and white colour-scheme. Nothing spells nautical better than a blue and white people mover, after all.
The Hercule concept is one boat that the world would rather see capsized.
Good: Yamaha Sports Ride Concept
While the RX-VISION has stolen the show so far, Yamaha’s Sports Ride Concept has also turned plenty of heads. While it’s unknown what will propel the Sports Ride (motorbike power anyone?), we know that it’s light — extremely light in fact, at a mere 750kg — thanks to a special carbon-fibre chassis and tub designed by none other than Gordon Murray. That’s right, Gordon freakin’ Murray.
It looks cool too. Side-on it looks like a shrunken BMW i8, while its nose reminds us of the Toyota FT-1 concept. Reports on its chances to be produced by the brand have been mixed, some saying that there’s no chance, while others have been less certain. Yamaha have developed a plethora of car components before — mainly in regards to engines — but this would be the first time ever they would have an entire car to themselves.
Go on Yamaha, make it. Give the guys at Lotus something to worry about.
Bad: Honda FCV Clarity
You would’ve thought that the media juggernaut known as the Tesla Model S would have provided car makers with a perfect example of how electric or hybrid cars don’t have to look like they’re from the year 2030 in order to be successful. But judging by the latest Toyota Prius, and now Honda’s FCV Clarity, they haven’t.
On paper, the FCV Clarity is a worthy successor to its hydrogen-powered predecessor — the FCX Clarity — as it's smaller, more powerful, and capable of longer journeys thanks to a range of more than 640 kilometers per fill-up.
I can understand the desire for certain manufacturers to make their future-focused vehicles look like space-ships, but the Clarity fails to meet this mark. Instead it looks like Honda’s pencil-spinners have simply grafted a random selection of elements from their incredible looking 2013 FCEV Concept, and stitched them to an Accord one afternoon over a few energy drinks.
It will likely to be a great car when it’s expected to roll off production lines in 2017, which makes its appearance a real shame.
Of course, there are plenty of other vehicles on display at the Tokyo motor show. Check some of them out in the gallery below: