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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Toyota‘s Fun-Vii Concept debuted at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show featuring some very cool, futuristic technology. They dubbed the concept car as a smartphone on wheels, bragging about its exterior body that can be manipulated as a digital display.
But those that weren’t fortunate enough to be over in Tokyo when Toyota debuted the concept is now in for a treat. As much fun as it is trying to describe in words what Toyota aims to do with the Fun-Vii, it’s just a ton easier to show it in action through a video. In less than five minutes, Toyota shows off its smartphone integration, augmented-reality gaming, a holographic digital assistant and its vehicle-to-vehicle networking system in the video clip.
Toyota also touches on their future of electrified powertrains with wireless charging and autonomous driving mode. It might seem to be something out of a Tron movie, but we’re definitely excited to see how Toyota will pursue these concepts in future vehicles.
Check out the video after the break.
At this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, the 32nd annual Car of the Year Japan Awards saw the Nissan Leaf emerge as the overall winner, despite some fairly stiff competition.
Not surprisingly, considering the efforts Japan’s second largest automaker has taken to provide the concept of all-electric vehicle mobility on a truly global scale, Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance was understandably pleased at the outcome.
“We have sold 20,000 LEAF models [worldwide]. This is as much a win for Nissan as it is for our customers,” he said. Besides winning the JCOTY title, the much hyped LEAF has also garnered 2011 World Car of the Year and European Car of the Year awards.
Previous JOCTY winners (which must be vehicles produced by Japanese manufacturers, a separate “Import Car of the Year award is also held at the Tokyo show); include the Honda CR-Z (2010-11) and Toyota Prius (2009-10). For more information on the LEAF and JCOTY click on the video below:
If there’s one thing you can count on from the Tokyo Motor Show, it’s wild and wacky concept cars – and lots of them. This year’s event didn’t disappoint either. Among the list of very cool concepts are cars like the Honda EV-Ster electric roadster, a NISMO-tuned Nissan Juke, the near-production and beautiful Mazda Takeri, the bold Subaru Advanced Tourer concept and even the hydrogen fuel cell powered FCV-R by Toyota.
In the totally strange category there were personal futuristic commuters like the Nissan PIVO 3 and Honda Micro Commuter Concept, topped only by ultra-strange machines like the Suzuki Q Concept and Daihatsu ShoCase.
GALLERY: 2011 Tokyo Motor Show Concept Cars
See all these concept cars and more in the video below:
A look at VW‘s future styling, technology and perhaps even a new model, the Cross Coupe Concept was unveiled this week at the Tokyo Motor Show. Certainly a handsome machine, it looks close to production (outside and in), plus it features an all-new electric all-wheel drive system mated to a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
GALLERY: VW Cross Coupe Concept
To find out more about the Cross Coupe, watch the video below:
It might not be the GT-R powered Juke R, but Nissan‘s Juke NISMO Concept is a strong indication that the Japanese automaker is planning a higher-performance version of the sport cross. From styling components, to handling upgrades and power adders, the NISMO-tuned Juke takes the sub-compact crossover’s fun level to the next level.
GALLERY: Nissan Juke NISMO Concept
For full details on the Juke NISMO, watch the video below:
10. Volkswagen Cross Coupe Concept
The only non-Japanese car to make our Top 10 cars list of the Tokyo Motor Show, the Volkswagen Cross Coupe Concept was also one of the few true surprises. While a show car, it makes use of an all-new VW platform, an impressive AWD plug-in hybrid system, while also taking a look at the future styling direction of the brand.
On the later note, that’s by no means a bad thing. And while hardly a significant departure from the current VW style guide, the Cross Coupe is certainly an attractive machine.
Built on the brand’s new MQB (modular transverse matrix) platform, the Cross Coupe is the first example of an electric differential with front and rear electric motors that can be “attached” to deliver an all-wheel drive system. VW claims the system can be used for two AWD scenarios, one for added grip and the other for an AWD electric only drive mode with 25 miles of range. (For a more extensive run-down on the system, see our post and video here). Paired with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine up front, VW claims a total power output of 261-hp and a 0-60 mph time of 7.0 seconds.
Making all this technology all the more significant is that it is being unveiled on a new platform, with the obvious suggestion that both could be paired together in a near-future production model.
Looking significantly more production ready than the last version, the crossover concept gets a plug-in hybrid system with an electric motor at the rear wheels mated to a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine moving the front wheels. Of note, the car features a version of Mitsu’s S-AWC (Super-All Wheel Control) system, as well as a Battery Drive Mode where it can operate on pure electric power.
Mitsubishi is targeting a 31 mile electric-only range with a 140 mpg rating and a total range of 500 miles.
GALLERY: Mitsubishi PX-MiEV II
As Honda and Toyota soldier on with the same old designs, Mazda has taken heed of the attractively styled products coming out of Korea these days and decided to fire back. Using the brand’s new Kodo design language the Takeri Concept is a look at the next-generation Mazda6. Based on an all-new platform and powered by a diesel engine it’s also the first example of a Mazda vehicle using the brand’s new i-ELOOP regenerative braking technology.
GALLERY: Mazda Takeri Concept
For more on the Takeri concept, watch the video below:
Some will probably find Nissan‘s NV350 Concept seemingly out of place at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, but the next-generation light commercial van concept shows the direction that Nissan wishes to take with its NV model. Looking to raise the standard for the next generation of light commercial vans, the NV350 Concept features attractive styling, expanded cargo capacity and smart functionality.
Versatility was one of the main key points Nissan stressed when debuting their NV350 Concept at the show, touching on how the NV350 Concept’s cargo area is now longer and more spacious for van applications while varied seating arrangements gives the NV350 plenty of people-carrier and minibus applications. Comforts of the NV350 Concept include keyless entry, keyless push button ignition (a first in a commercial vehicle) and a foot-operated parking brake for convenience.
Though they didn’t go into detail, Nissan did express that the NV350 has improved fuel economy due to its efficient and advanced engine mated to an automatic transmission. A clean diesel option will also be available in some markets.
Nissan also announced that it plans to launch the NV350 in Japan by the summer of 2012. Outside markets weren’t disclosed.
GALLERY: Nissan NV350 Concept Official Photos
GALLERY: Nissan NV350 Concept Debut
A unique Audi A1 got shown off at the Tokyo Motor Show today, garnering not only the attention of the media but also that of the locals. At first glance the Samurai Blue Audi A1 just looks like a car that can’t make up its mind as to what color it wants to be, but to the Japanese it sports the look of their national soccer team.
The A1 was built by Audi to show respect for the Japanese national soccer team and is a one-off model that will be sold and a part of its profit will be donated to charity. The Japan’s national soccer team is nicknamed Blue Samurai, with blue and white as the colors of the men and women’s soccer jerseys. (If you recall, the Japanese women’s team recently won the World Soccer Cup in Germany).
For the A1 Samurai Blue, Audi accented the blue and white with the red from the Japanese flag. It also features 18-inch wheels sporting an exclusive polygonal design that have also been painted red. We took a peek inside the A1 and saw that the black interior got contrast blue stitching while other pieces such as the air vent nozzles, inlays, center console and floor mats all got colorful blue accents.
It appears that the 1.4L TFSI engine remains untouched with 122-hp. Audi did mention that they’re planning on a limited edition A1, with its design based on the Samurai Blue, to go on sale in 2012.
In addition to this one-off model, Audi also officially unveiled the new 5-door A1 Sportback model in Tokyo.
GALLERY: Audi A1 Samurai Blue
GALLERY: Audi A1 Sportback
As expected, Volkswagen debuted the Passat Alltrack at the Tokyo Motor Show and it was pretty much everything we expected it to be – a high-riding variant of the Passat wagon that’s offered in Europe. We have to admit we found it a little peculiar that VW would debut the Passat Alltrack in Japan but nonetheless, it got some attention on the show floor.
Featuring Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system, the Passat Alltrack will be introduced to the European market with two choices of 2.0L TDI powerplants. The exterior features flared fenders with a stainless-steel looking front bumper garnish and some matte-chrome accents. And for those wondering just how high-riding this Passat Alltrack is, its ground clearance has increase from 5.3-inches to 6.5-inches from the standard Passat wagon.
Take it as Volkswagen trying to mix a little of station wagon with SUV versatility, or something like that. It’s also worth mentioning that the Alltrack has the same off-road driving program seen on VW’s Touareg and Tiguan, which revises the vehicle’s ABS, electronic differential lock, throttle control and shift points to maximize traction. Hill descent is automatically turned on when grades are steeper than 10-percent.
Americans will probably never see the Alltrack stateside since VW wholeheartedly believes we’d choose an SUV over a wagon any day of the week. Guess they’re pretty spot on there.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Passat Alltrack
A stylish look at the future of Subaru’s hybrid tech, the Advanced Tourer Concept is one of several Tokyo Motor Show debuts for the Japanese automaker. A wild looking wagon, it’s powered by a turbocharged direct-injection 4-cylinder boxer engine mated to an in-house hybrid drivetrain, working with Subaru’s all-wheel drive system.
GALLERY: Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept
Find out more about the Advanced Tourer Concept in the video below:
In total, Suzuki has presented three new concept cars, ranging from near-production to downright absurd. In the latter category is the Q Concept (above), which looks more like a Discman (remember those?) than a car and offers an emissions-free electric range of six miles.
Next up is the Regina concept, which looks close to production, with a fresh styling perspective and a conventional gasoline engine. Thanks to significant attention paid to weight reduction, it manages an incredible 72.3-mpg.
Finally there’s the Swift EV Hybrid, which gets its confusing name from a range-extender powerplant similar to that found in the Chevy Volt. Offering between 12 and 18 miles of electric travel, the gasoline engine then kicks in to recharge the batteries to deliver added range.
GALLERY: Suzuki Q Concept
GALLERY: Suzuki Regina Concept
GALLERY: Suzuki Swift EV Hybrid Concept
While Honda and Toyota have been messing around with electric car concepts for quite some time now, Nissan has been selling the Leaf EV for a whole year now. Aiming to display its expertise in electric vehicles, the company’s Tokyo Motor Show display included a slew of emissions free models, ranging from the PIVO 3 personal commuter, to the stunning ESFLOW sports car.
Sharing the stage with those is the Leaf NISMO, tuned by the brand’s motorsports division. With Nissan having already announced a Leaf NISMO RC race car, purpose built for track duty, this is more of a street tuner version, sporting custom aerodynamics, some 18-inch wheels and an upgraded (and lowered suspension).
Nissan hasn’t officially announced any performance upgrades, although some reports indicate a slight bump in power for the NISMO version.
It may be just a concept for now, but if Nissan gets serious about electric cars in motorsports, then you can expect NISMO parts for electric cars to follow.
GALLERY: Nissan Leaf NISMO
Nissan has unveiled its third iteration of the PIVO concept at the Tokyo Motor Show and emphasized that the PIVO 3 is what Nissan envisions to be a more realistic electric vehicle of the future rather than just another concept. Building on the PIVO 1 and PIVO 2, Nissan’s third creation from the PIVO portfolio evolves in the direction of “smart community” with greater feasibility, credibility and an extended scope of mobile performance.
The ultra-compact city commuter looks to be a more practical, albeit futuristic, approach to sustainability in the real world. And one of the main features Nissan wanted to talk about at the Tokyo Motor Show was the PICO 3′s Automated Valet Parking (AVP). AVP is geared towards revolutionizing the parking experience allowing the driver to never have to find a parking space, physically park the car or remember where they parked their car. By using specially-equipped parking lots, the PIVO 3 will park itself and recharge itself while parked, or even sell excess power to the grid within the parking lot. When the driver is ready for their vehicle to pick them up, a quick use of the smartphone will summon the PICO 3 to their destination.
Taking a look at the PIVO 3 at the show, Nissan showed off its 1+2 seating layout and it’s clear that the design was built to emphasize a very agile commuter vehicle that could effortlessly park in tight spaces. The outside styling is definitely bold, but not completely out of the realm of being realistic. The interior is definitely a tad futuristic, but Nissan also wanted to show off its Around View Monitor system technology, that helps reveal the car’s surroundings and help minimize blind spots.
GALLERY: Nissan PIVO 3
Mitsubishi has officially unveiled its new global small car, which is expected to help expand the brand’s lineup in North America. Bringing back the Mirage badge this sub-compact offering is just 146-inches in length, or roughly a foot shorter than the Honda Fit.
Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, the display car features a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine that uses start-stop technology to achieve a 70-mpg rating on the less strict Japanese test cycle. Still, that number should result in over 40-mpg on the U.S. EPA cycle, putting it ahead of rivals.
While 3-cylinder cars in North America aren’t unheard of (take the old Subaru Justy as an example), it’s still unlikely that Mitsubishi would offer this engine option in the U.S.
Mitsubishi hasn’t said as much, but based on the design (hub-caps included) it appears as though the concept was to create a low-cost budget vehicle along the lines of the Nissan Versa, rather than a stylish and high-content small car like the Ford Fiesta.
GALLERY: Mitsubishi Mirage
Sharing Toyota‘s stage with the production Prius Plug-in Hybrid at the Tokyo Motor Show are two eco-conscious concept cars that give a clear hint as the the automaker’s future green car plans. The FT-EV III Concept is a near production electric city car, that will go on sale next year (branded as a Scion in North America). Moving several years beyond is the FCV-R fuel cell concept. Looking like something that actually might make it to production, Toyota has said it plans to offer a fuel cell vehicle to fleets by 2015.
GALLERY: Toyota FCV-R Fuel Cell Concept
For more on both cars, watch the video below:
During a press conference at the Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda‘s global chief, Takashi Yamanouchi said that a rotary powered MX-5 is a possibility down the road; he also went onto say that the company might consider merging its two separate sports car lines [MX-5 and RX-8], into one.
“I have been saying everywhere that we will continue research on the rotary engine,” he declared. “We will not extinguish the flame of the rotary engine. That kind of product is iconic for our brand. So the current MX-5 or RX-8 we have decided in the future to maintain that type of [sports car] product.” Yet he went on to state that “I can’t say, however, that they will be separate … they may be merged into one.”
However many questions remain. If a single rotary powered sports car were to materialize (there’s speculation it could be a hardtop coupe/convertible in the idom of the Mercedes-Benz SLK, or possibly offered in both piston and rotary powered forms), it would be a ways off. Mazda has already said the next generation MX-5, slated to debut in 2013, will feature a conventional in-line ICE engine, incorporating Mazda’s SkyActiv technology.
As for the RX-8, when production ends next year, there’s currently no definite plans for a replacement, though from Yamanounchi- san’s comments it’s clear development on the rotary engine will continue. The question is, whether it will remain solely as an internal combustion unit or be used as a range extending hydrogen fueled generator (Mazda already has such a prototype engine being evaluated by government agencies). Stay tuned for further developments.
The 500 hp Juke R might be a wild performance machine, but the track capable crossover isn’t likely to ever see the inside of a showroom. More likely is a custom NISMO tuned model, or in-house aftermarket accessories from the brand’s racing division.
Unveiled today at the Tokyo Motor Show, the Juke NISMO Concept gets pearl white paint with red accents. Along with the obvious bodywork and 19-inch wheels with an upgraded suspension system, while the cabin receives red accenting throughout.
And despite it being a concept, we’re pretty confident that Nismo will be offering these parts for Juke enthusiasts in the near future.
It’s still unknown to us what power modifications were made to the 1.6L turbocharged engine, but hopefully Nismo will give out more information on that soon. Either way, this “first glimpse into Nismo’s future” has, surprisingly, turned out to be a promising one.
GALLERY: Nissan Juke NISMO
See AutoGuide’s Complete 2011 Tokyo Motor Show Coverage here and watch video of the Juke NISMO below:
The sister car to Toyota’s GT 86 sports coupe, the Subaru BRZ and its sibling were both unveiled today at the Tokyo Motor Show. Sharing the same underpinnings and with nearly identical bodywork and interiors, both cars come powered by the same direct-injection 4-cylinder boxer engine delivering around 200-hp.
GALLERY: Subaru BRZ
GALLERY: Subaru BRZ GT300 Race Car
Find out more about the Subaru BRZ here or by watching the video below:
Years of anticipation have all lead to the debut of Toyota‘s new compact sports car at the Tokyo Motor Show today. Referred to by many different concept names, at its word premiere company CEO Akio Toyoda called it, simply, the 86.
Powered by a direct-injection 1.6-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine it makes around 200-hp and when combined with a curb weight of just 2,700 lbs should deliver solid acceleration and a dynamic driving experience.
Get more Toyota 86 news and info at fr-sforum.com
GALLERY: Toyota 86
For more on the Toyota 86, watch the video below:
Subaru showed off its newest and latest limited edition JDM Impreza STI model, the S206, today at the Tokyo Motor Show. The EJ20-powered S206 has been refined to 316-hp and 318 lb-ft of torque, but it’s its unique exterior styling that we’re digging.
Front and the rear, Subaru has equipped the S206 with new spoilers, while the front lower grille openings are unique to the special edition STI. We took a peek inside at the leather-wrapped steering wheel, Alcantara Recaro seats and its special seatbelts. Suspension upgrades can also be found on the S206 with special STI springs and inverted Bilstein shocks in the front and the rear. The S206 also looked fantastic with a set of 19-inch wheels.
The S206 will also be offered with a special NBR Challenge package, celebrating Subaru’s class victory at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. Carbon fiber goodies are added on the roof panel and rear deck spoiler along with black 19-inch wheels and NBR Challenge logos.
GALLERY: Subaru Impreza STI S206
Volkswagen unveiled the Cross Coupe Concept today at the Tokyo Motor Show, looking to change the way we view SUVs in the future. The Cross Coupe Concept is an all-wheel-drive, plug-in hybrid and looks as if a traditional four-door coupe and an SUV got melded together in the design center.
This concept is also Volkswagen’s first public vehicle sporting their new engineering design based on their new “modular transverse matrix” or MQB for short. In terms of dimensions, the concept is longer than a Golf and shorter than a Tiguan while the width and the height also lands it square in between the two VW counterparts.
Visually, the Cross Coupe Concept appears compact, but is dynamic in its appearance – thanks in part to a set of wheels that appear lifted off a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. While it does sport traditional Volkswagen design elements, it also features a completely new light and grille treatment. The rear has steeply sloping angles and new light clusters combined with traditional SUV hefty bumpers.
Under the hood, Volkswagen is showing off two electric motors – one in the front, one in the rear – combined with a TSI direct-injection turbo engine. The front electric motor generates 54-hp and 133 lb-ft of torque while the rear generates 114-hp and 199 lb-ft of torque. Overall power comes in at 261-hp allowing the concept to go 0-62 mph in just seven seconds and has a top speed of 125-mph. It can travel up to 25-miles on just electric power.
Lastly, Volkswagen is showing off another innovation in the concept thanks to its all-wheel-drive system with electric drive shaft. The rear axle is driven by the rear electric motor while power is supplied to the rear electric motor by the one at the front. This means that the flow of electrical energy replaces the conventional transfer of power by a drive shaft, creating room in the central tunnel to hold the lithium-ion battery. All of that means a very low center of gravity giving the concept dynamic handling capabilities.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Cross Coupe Concept Official Photos
GALLERY: VW Cross Coupe Concept Debut
See video of the Cross Coupe below:
Overwhelming proof that wagons, and for that matter hybrids, can in fact be cool, is the Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept. Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show today, the car is powered by the next evolution of Subaru’s hybrid powertrain that is expected to arrive in a production model in 2013.
A followup to the Hybrid Tourer Concept, this uses a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder direct-injection boxer gasoline engine mated to an in-house hybrid system – not a Toyota product. It features both regenerative braking and a lithium-ion battery back, both increasingly standard-fare in the hybrid market. Of note, the ATC also features an electric all-wheel drive system (this is a Subaru after all), operating as a front-drive model under most circumstances, while electric power can be sent to the rear wheels for added grip.
Purposeful features aside, the ATC is simply stunning, with a sleek wagon body and aggressive stance. It also might be the least-tacky example of scissor doors we’ve come across, paired with rear suicide doors, allowing an incredible look into the stunning cabin complete with plenty of natural wood.
GALLERY: Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept
See video of the Advanced Tourer Concept below: