2015 Tokyo Motor Show: Best Concept Cars

© Mike MeredithTop Concepts
From the extreme and outrageous to the high-tech or just plain fun, concept cars are a big part of major auto shows. Although most concept vehicles will never make it to production, they often showcase forward-thinking design elements, new technology and other features that will eventually become available in showrooms. Take a look at some of our favorite concepts from this year’s Tokyo Motor Show.

© Perry SternMazda RX-VISION
One of the stars at this year’s show in Japan, Mazda’s beautiful RX-VISION coupe concept has a low, wide stance, short overhangs and a sleek roofline. Mazda never stopped research and development on the rotary engine, and under the sleek hood of the RX-VISION is a next-generation SKYACTIV-R rotary powerplant.

© Perry SternMazda RX-VISION
To the rotary engine Mazda applied SKYACTIV principles of lighter weight and more fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance. While there are no plans at this time for the RX-VISION to go into production, it looks to be a worthy successor to Mazda’s rotary legacy, which includes the RX-8, RX-7 and Cosmo.

© Mike MeredithNissan IDS
Nissan debuted the IDS Concept in Tokyo to showcase the automaker’s attitudes on the future of autonomous driving. The IDS allows the driver to choose between manual or automated driving, providing more choices of assistance in every situation or taking over driving the vehicle completely and allowing the driver to relax. The interior configuration changes depending on the driver’s choice.

© Mike MeredithNissan IDS
In manual drive mode, the steering wheel and controls direct the driver’s attention to the road. When piloted mode is selected, the steering wheel retracts into the instrument panel and is replaced with a large display while the four seats rotate toward each other for easier communication between passengers. The Nissan IDS Concept also communicates with the outside world, providing recommendations for departure times, driving routes and even restaurant options.

© Mike MeredithNissan Teatro for Dayz
Nissan describes the Teatro for Dayz as a concept that is designed for the digital native generation that went directly from the cradle to digital devices, and the concept showcases a new direction in mobile technology. What may look like a box on wheels to some is a high-tech vehicle that combines Nissan’s EV technology with mobile technologies that have not previously been seen in a car.

© Mike MeredithNissan Teatro for Dayz
While Teatro for Dayz will serve daily transportation needs, it is also a digital device that allows users to connect with friends, share experiences and modify the car to meet their mode, much like they do with a smartphone today. When the car is in drive mode, the white instrument panel will display the gauges, controls and maps that the driver needs to operate the car. When parked, the vehicle’s instrument panel — as well as the rest of the interior — can be used as a customizable display to fit users’ needs and interests.

© Mike MeredithNissan CONCEPT 2020 Vision Gran Turismo
The Nissan CONCEPT 2020 Vision Gran Turismo began as an ultimate Nissan performance model for the virtual world of the Sony PlayStation Gran Turismo videogame series. Penned by Nissan designers for the Gran Turismo fantasy garage, the car then became a physical model, premiering in July at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.

© Mike MeredithNissan CONCEPT 2020 Vision Gran Turismo
Created by a team of young designers at Nissan Design Europe in conjunction with Polyphony Digital Inc. — the creators of Gran Turismo — Nissan engineers in Japan then collaborated on the real-world project to create a vehicle that represents the performance potential of the virtual model.

© Mike MeredithNissan Gripz
Nissan’s Gripz Concept also made its Japanese premiere at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, after being well received at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Powered by the Pure Drive e-Power series hybrid system based on EV technology, the Gripz Concept combines the capability and practicality of a compact crossover with the performance and excitement of a sports car.

© Mike MeredithNissan Gripz
Pure Drive e-Power uses the same electric motor as the Nissan Leaf, with a small, efficient gasoline engine to power the electric motor. The exterior of the Gripz Concept is based on Nissan’s “emotional geometry” design language, with strong contrasts communicated through the vehicle’s dynamic, edgy surfaces. Inside, the instrument panel is thin but strong and simple in design.

© Mike MeredithToyota Kikai
Toyota’s Kikai concept looks like a cross between a high-performance dune buggy and a ’32 Ford Coupe hot rod, but the focus of the Kikai is really on the beauty, precision and mechanical elements of a car. The name Kikai means machine in Japanese, and the focus is on the machine that is normally hidden out of view under beautifully sculpted bodywork. The engine, suspension, exhaust tubing and fuel tank are all exposed to view.

© Mike MeredithToyota Kikai
Inside Kikai’s 3-person cabin, the driver sits in the center with a passenger seat on each side behind the driver. Windows to the left and right of the driver’s feet provide an unobstructed view of the front suspension and front wheels. Electric sliding doors on each side allow easy access.

© Mike MeredithToyota FCV Plus
The FCV Plus concept is Toyota’s look at a future fuel-cell vehicle that can also be used as a power source for other needs. In addition to the vehicle’s own hydrogen tank, the car can also generate electricity from hydrogen stored outside the vehicle to provide electricity for other uses when it’s not being used for transportation.

© Mike MeredithToyota FCV Plus
The FCV Plus has a compact body but a spacious cabin since the fuel-cell stack is mounted between the front wheels, the hydrogen tank is behind the rear seat and independent electric motors are in all four wheels. The body has a sleek design, and the interior frame structure adds rigidity despite the light weight of the vehicle.

© Mike MeredithToyota S-FR
A new lightweight, sporty entry-level coupe designed to provide a fun, responsive driving experience, the Toyota S-FR concept looks like it might not be far from production. The front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive design gives the S-FR a classic sports car layout, while the long nose and sloped roofline contribute to sporty proportions.

© Mike MeredithToyota S-FR
The wide stance and 6-speed manual transmission add to the driving dynamics and driver engagement. Although Toyota didn’t provide details about potential powerplants, don’t be surprised to see the S-FR on the road soon.

© Mike MeredithDaihatsu Nori Ori
A multi-use commuter for the future, the Nori Ori (getting in and out) focuses on the first challenge that faces anyone using a car: getting in and out of the vehicle. To create an easy-access compact car, the Nori Ori has an ultra-low floor utilizing a fold-and-kneel system and dual sliding doors on the side that open wide to allow access.

© Mike MeredithDaihatsu Nori Ori
The side door of the Nori Ori has a retractable ramp, and the large, hinged door at the rear has a lift. The multipurpose vehicle’s flat floor makes it easy to move around inside the car, and there is enough floor space to carry two wheelchairs.

© Mike MeredithDaihatsu D-Base
A concept for a new basic compact car, the D-base is Daihatsu’s version of a future environmentally-friendly car powered by an internal-combustion engine. The engine uses Daihatsu’s advanced e:S technology, and the design reflects a stylish and environmentally-smart design.

© Mike MeredithDaihatsu Hinata
A new basic mini vehicle, the Hinata features a round design with a focus on space functionality that Diahatsu describes as convenience and cuteness. The Hinata has an open feeling with double doors on each side and a variety of seating arrangements.

© Mike MeredithDaihatsu Tempo
A new small commercial vehicle, the Tempo is built on Daihatsu’s new front-engine, front-drive platform and takes full advantage of the flexibility of the floor space. A large gullwing door with LED lighting is on the passenger side (left side in Japan) and a digital sign mounted on the side of the vehicle can be used for a mobile business.

© Mike MeredithDaihatsu Tempo
At the Tokyo Motor Show, Daihatsu had a Tempo outfitted as a mobile coffee shop to showcase the possibilities. The gullwing door creates a perfect sales window for a mobile business, with access behind the counter through the rear door.

© Mike MeredithSuzuki Air Triser
A private lounge you can take anywhere with you, the Air Triser concept features three rows of seats that can be moved so passengers can face each other or lounge in a U-shaped configuration. The rectangular box shape maximizes interior room, and the warm silver over red paint creates a very interesting exterior design.

© Mike MeredithSuzuki Air Triser
Inside the Air Triser, a multi-function display will connect with a smartphone to play music, photos and other content.

© Mike MeredithSuzuki Mighty Deck
A tiny pickup concept, the Mighty Deck doesn’t quite live up to its name, given its small woodgrain deck that can be used as a table or for carrying stuff. The rear seats can be folded to create more deck space and the deck can be raised to create storage below.

© Mike MeredithSuzuki Mighty Deck
Inside the Mighty Deck, a panel stretches across at the bottom of the windshield to display map information, weather, vehicle information and other data.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLexus LF-FC
The Lexus LF-FC Flagship Concept is a look at the direction of design and technology for a future Lexus flagship sedan. The profile reveals a 4-door coupe roofline with elegant flowing lines, a long hood and short rear deck. At the front is a new version of the Lexus signature grille with a new mesh pattern, and daytime running lights that flow forward from the front fenders.

© Mike MeredithLexus LF-FC
The LF-FC is powered by a high-output fuel cell system that operates the rear wheels and two electric motors housed in the front wheels, making the LF-FC all-wheel drive with sophisticated torque-distribution control between the front and rear wheels. New technology inside includes an advanced human machine interface that can be operated by simple hand gestures.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSubaru Viziv Future Concept
Showcasing styling, powertrain technology and other advanced features that we can expect to see on future Subaru models, the Viziv Future Concept is a crossover SUV that embodies the vision of a vehicle developed for enjoyment and peace of mind. Viziv takes the hybrid powertrain currently in the XV Crosstrek and enhances it to provide better performance and fuel economy.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSubaru Viziv Future Concept
A new turbocharged engine is smaller and lighter than the current unit, and offers a smoother feel under acceleration as well as increased fuel efficiency. While the Viziv Future Concept is all-wheel drive, it differs from the systems found in current Subarus; it has no driveshaft to the rear axle but an electric motor mounted directly on the rear axle, which provides a flat floor throughout the vehicle for greater flexibility and roominess.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSubaru Impreza 5-Door Concept
The current Impreza hasn’t been around too long, but Subaru is providing a look to the future with the Impreza –Door Concept, which includes upscale design cues even if it is the entry model in Subaru’s lineup. The design direction showcased here not only indicates what we can expect from the next Impreza, but offers a peek into how the rest of the Subaru lineup will follow.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSubaru Impreza 5-Door Concept
Subaru is best known for its all-wheel-drive system, and the Impreza 5-Door Concept highlights this feature with bold extended fender flares that wrap around large 19-inch wheels. The wide stance carries through to the rear, enhanced by the hatchback’s powerful shoulders. The Impreza 5-Door isn’t exactly ready for production, but we’d expect to see a new Impreza based on this concept sometime in the near future.

© Mike MeredithMitsubishi eX Concept
The Tokyo world premiere of the eX Concept demonstrated Mitsubishi’s vision for a new compact crossover powered by a next-generation electric vehicle system. The exterior and interior designs, including the new front end, purportedly indicate the future direction of Mitsubishi styling.

© Mike MeredithMitsubishi eX Concept
The new electric-drive system utilizes a high-capacity, high-performance battery and compact high-output electric motors to make it lighter and more efficient, achieving a driving range of 400 km (approximately 250 miles). The battery resides below the body to lower the center of gravity, which — when combined with Twin Motor 4WD and the S-AWC integrated vehicle dynamics control system — improves driving dynamics and vehicle stability.

© Mike MeredithHonda Wander Stand
For those folks old enough to remember phone booths, the Honda Wander Stand looks a bit like a modern phone booth with four wheels. Honda describes this concept as a vehicle to pursue the joy and freedom of mobility as you wander around freely, and it’s said to provide new experiences through new autonomous driving technologies.

© Mike MeredithHonda Wander Stand
Wander Stand utilizes the Honda Omni Traction Drive System for freedom of movement in all directions, which originated from Honda’s research in humanoid robots, including the world’s most advanced humanoid robot, ASIMO.

© Mike MeredithYamaha Sports Ride Concept
To create a car that’s fun to drive in the same way a motorcycle is exciting to ride was the idea behind the Yamaha Sports Ride Concept. A 2-seat, rear-wheel-drive sports car, the Sports Ride Concept is based on a lightweight, highly rigid, high-strength frame developed using iStream.

© Mike MeredithYamaha Sports Ride Concept
The iStream process was developed by Gordon Murray Design Limited and has its origins in Formula One racing technology. The light weight, rigidity and front/rear weight distribution of the concept creates an immersive experience, where the driver is directly connected to the car — much like riding a motorcycle.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo
The Vision Tokyo is a large vanlike vehicle designed to drive autonomously, providing space for five occupants to lounge on a large oval-shaped couch. Aimed at Generation Z — those born since 1995 — the Vision Tokyo gives travelers a place to “chill and chat” with access to the lounge through a large upward-swinging door on the left. Large wraparound LED screens envelop the passengers. Apps, maps and displays from the entertainment system can be shown on the screens, or presented as three-dimensional holograms within the interior space.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo
If the Vision Tokyo needs to be driven manually, a seat facing the direction of travel can be released from the center of the couch. The steering wheel gets moved from its standby position into driving position. The Vision Tokyo utilizes a hydrogen fuel-cell powered electric-drive system. The electric hybrid system has a total range of more than 600 miles — about 120 miles are courtesy of battery power, and around 500 miles on the electricity produced by the fuel cell.

© Mike MeredithMazda KOERU
The Mazda Koeru concept debuted in Frankfurt in September and was shown for the first time in Japan at the Tokyo show. An all-new crossover SUV concept from Mazda, the KOERU — Japanese for “exceed” — concept carries styling that fits with the rest of the Mazda lineup. In fact, aside from the advanced door handles and very large wheels, the KOERU looks ready for production.

© Mike MeredithMazda KOERU
The sleek lines and low roofline give KOERU a sporty look, further enhanced by short front and rear overhangs as well as 21-inch alloy wheels fitted with high-performance Pirelli tires. The KOERU features the latest in SKYACTIV technology, which combines lightweight design with a rigid chassis and fuel-efficient engine to create fun-to-drive yet economical vehicles. Mazda has made no announcement about a KOERU-based production model, although we could see a vehicle with a similar shape coming from Mazda sometime soon.

© Mike MeredithFuso Super Great V Spider
A one-of-a-kind truck that looks like it should be a superhero’s ride in an action move, the Fuso Super Great V Spider is based on the heavy-duty FUSO tractor and equipped with four knuckle boom cranes.

© Mike MeredithFuso Super Great V Spider
The multi-function, multi-arm model has four cranes and outriggers that can be equipped with a wide variety of equipment for various applications, including claws, buckets and drills.

© Mike MeredithToyota Auto Body ALPHARD Hercule Concept
A luxury vehicle evoking the feel of a yacht, the Toyota Auto Body ALPHARD Hercule Concept looks like a custom minivan with a massive grille and a large retractable soft-top. The grille and rooftop aerodynamic parts are designed to give the ALPHARD Hercule a boating look, and azure body graphics are intended to reflect wind and waves.

© Mike MeredithToyota Auto Body ALPHARD Hercule Concept
With the top open on the ALPHARD Hercule, the rushing wind, hardwood floor and rear sofa combine to create the feeling of being aboard a yacht.

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