Tokyo motor show
Tokyo Motor show lives up to traditions
From far-fetched concepts to truly off-the-wall but useful ideas and updated production models, Tokyo motor show had it all
To mark the luxury brand’s 30th anniversary, Lexus showed the LF30, a concept that follows the trending lounge type, electric and autonomous driving pods being bandied about by a number of manufacturers.
The Lexus take on the genre is 5,090mm long with a super luxurious cabin. The outlandish concept hints at future Lexus design cues with the spindle-grille and L-shaped folds now being a dominant force of the overall vehicle shape.
The LF30 is a full battery electric vehicle with 500km of cruising range from four in-wheel electric motors that produce 400kW/700Nm. Further highlights include steering by wire with ability to have the steering wheel shifted forward and out of the way during autonomous driving and seats that adopt the shape of the passenger to offer greater comfort.
Mazda’s first mass-production electric vehicle is an SUV named the Mazda MX-30.
Styling is an interesting mix of Mazda ranges. The front is an adaptation of Mazda’s Kodo-Soul design language; the C-pillars mimic the new Mazda 3 in girth and curvature while the combination of regular and stubby rear-doors is reminiscent of the old RX-8. Highlights include environmentally conscious materials such as cork and fabrics made from recycled materials in the interior, Mazda's new electric-drive technology, and e-Skyactiv. SA launch plans are still to be confirmed.
Mitsubishi saw CEO Takao Kato promising electrification from here on but its stand had three new concepts of which two are typically Tokyo motor show in peculiarity. These are the Super Height K-wagon concept Kei car; literally a narrow "mini" bus that satisfies the "kei" car regulations of Japan-made affordable cars and the Mi-Tech concept; a buggy type design which looks like a heavily truncated version of one of the brand’s current SUV ranges.
The other concept, Mitsubishi’s Engelberg Tourer hints at something altogether more important. Is this the next iteration of the company’s most iconic Pajero but now electrified? The concept has three-rows of seats, uses an internally developed Twin Motor PHEV drivetrain from the Outlander PHEV and has full-time 4WD.
Honda used the motor show to unveil its latest Honda Jazz with next generation hybrid technology.
The new Jazz will introduce the efficiency benefits and performance of hybrid power to the mass market and accelerate Honda towards achieving its ambition of all its European mainstream models to feature electrified, twin-motor powertrains by 2022 while they wear the new e:HEV powertrain badging.
A smaller A-pillar improves forward visibility while at the same time increasing torsional rigidity. Seamless in-car connectivity, WiFi, wireless smartphone mirroring, Honda Sensing technology wider and higher-definition camera and radar for improved awareness of vehicle surroundings, including recognition of verges without kerbs or roadside markings are key highlights.
Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS) is now improved with night-time operation to detect pedestrians and cyclists during low light situations while a new camera system enables Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) to follow traffic at low speeds. There’s also Lane Keep Assist.
A New Crosstar variant was also unveiled as a crossover take on the Jazz. It features the same hybrid powertrains and interior features such as the clever fold-flat or flip-up seat flexibility but rides higher, has a unique front grille design, water-resistant upholstery and integrated roof rails.
The new Honda Jazz will launch in European markets in 2020 but Honda has still to confirm when the vehicle will be launched in SA.
The Tokyo motor show lived up to its reputation of Japanese brands turning up the quirk and the deeply technological with many a whacky but imaginative vehicle solution. Take the prototype e-Chargeair from Toyota as a prime example. It’s a mobile battery charger that supplies electricity and Wi-Fi to cars and cities. This and the other oddity called an e-broom concept were certainly the talk of Tokyo. Toyota doesn’t say much about the broom concept but in all likelihood it should levitate, somehow.