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The Japanese never run out of amusing cars

The most intriguing concept vehicles at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show

The Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center looks like a huge toy store during the biennial motor show. PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

In the evening of last Wednesday, October 25th, my pedometer app informed me that I had walked 15,822 steps, covering some 9.9km in about three-and-a-half hours of activity. That was the day the 45th Tokyo Motor Show welcomed international journalists for the first of two scheduled press days.

As you may have already learned from previous articles, I was a media guest of Mazda Philippines on this trip. And you may have already read my stories about the Japanese automaker’s pair of concept cars at the show: the Vision Coupe and the Kai.

Obviously, Mazda isn’t the only automotive firm that is proudly showing off its latest designs and technologies at this biennial industry event organized by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. The complete lineup of car companies from the Land of the Rising Sun is in full force here, with sleek booths scattered across several expansive halls. This explains the triathlete-worthy distance I perambulated during my visit.

The theme for this year’s TMS is “Beyond The Motor,” which obviously alludes to technological advances that transcend the conventional automobile as we know it. Here are photos of futuristic concept cars I took at the booths of the Japanese manufacturers present at the show, which runs until November 5th in case you happen to be in Tokyo this week.

DAIHATSU DN U-SPACE. This would make for an excellent taxicab, don't you think? It's also powered by a 660cc gasoline engine, so cabbies would be happy.
DAIHATSU DN COMPAGNO. In case you were wondering, 'DN' is a truncated reference to 'Daihatsu New Global Architecture'. Also, the car's name harks back to a 1963 model which the brand produced until 1970. Seating two people, this concept runs on a 1.0-liter turbo engine.
HONDA SPORTS EV. Yep, we're entering the age of electric-powered sports cars that boast artificial intelligence. Get used to it.
HONDA URBAN EV. This is what ASIMO the robot would look like if he became a car. Honda plans to roll out a production version in 2020.
HONDA NEUV. This artificially intelligent car purportedly has the ability to tell its driver's stress levels based on his facial expressions—and then provide assistance. No more road rage, then.
ISUZU FD-SI. The name stands for 'future delivery'. In the future, this is how your grandchildren will receive the gifts you ordered on Amazon.
LEXUS LS+. Check out how the luxury carmaker envisions its flagship sedan to look like several years from now. Of course, this is capable of automated driving so you no longer have to listen to your chauffeur's favorite FM station.
MITSUBISHI E-EVOLUTION. This is an all-electric SUV with artificial intelligence. Presumably, it also has a bulletproof system that prevents idiots from crashing and blaming the incident on sudden unintended acceleration.
NISSAN IMX. How does a fully electric, fully autonomous crossover sound to you? With more than 600km of driving range to boot. Your X-Trail suddenly seems like garbage, doesn't it?
SUBARU VIZIV PERFORMANCE. Apparently, this drew inspiration from the Legacy, the Impreza and the WRX. The main difference is that this concept car comes with a number of driver-assist features—so an overzealous teenage driver doesn't end up wrapping it around a tree after a night out with friends.
SUZUKI E-SURVIVOR. We don't like the chances of this concept vehicle surviving the feasibility review by the company's top board members. The carmaker insists this toylike monstrosity inherits its 'magnetic identity' from the Jimny and the Vitara; we insist the only thing this car will magnetize is a licensing contract from Hot Wheels.
TOYOTA CONCEPT-I. When it comes to futuristic cars, nobody can outdo Japan's biggest automaker. This thing—also a monstrosity, if we're honest—reads its driver's behavior and is capable of 'deep learning'. Just like a car from a bad sci-fi movie.
TOYOTA CONCEPT-I RIDE. Okay, this one is admittedly cute. With gullwing doors, a joystick and an electric sliding seat, this small car suits individuals in wheelchairs. Adorable and benevolent—we dig it. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE


Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist for 24 years. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. The rest, as they say, is rock and roll. He writes the column ‘Spoiler’.



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