By Steve & Tamami Laser
This year’s Tokyo Motor Show offered something for everyone with the newly themed Open Road, Drive Park, and Future Expo areas featuring a variety of new activities and vehicle displays.
Drive Park included new collaborations with Motor Sports Japan, the Japan Super Car Association, and the Tokyo Auto Salon. A vehicle exhibition area featured awesome motorsports racers like the Motul Autech GT-R shown above. Now, let’s go back inside Tokyo Big Sight for a look at new vehicles and concepts from Nissan, Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi.
Nissan staged the world premiere of its new Ariya electric crossover concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. While other automakers are rushing to bring EVs to market, Nissan is building on a decade of experience with the Leaf.
Ariya captures elements of the futuristic design theme in Nissan’s previous IMx concept from the last Tokyo show and brings it closer to a production vehicle. Nissan said that although Ariya is a concept, it “could make it to production in the near future.”
Ariya employs a high-power, twin-motor, all-wheel-control system that manages the EV’s power delivery on slippery surfaces. Other high-tech features include Nissan’s ProPILOT 2.0 semi-autonomous single-lane cruise, door-to-door navigation, and Virtual Personal Assistant.
Ariya features thin LED headlights that flank a front “shield” (no grille is needed) dressed with a subtle V-motion geometric pattern and illuminated Nissan badge. The concept rides 21-inch wheels with custom tires, features steeply raked C-pillars, and a single-piece rear light blade.
The cabin offers an uncluttered, minimalistic theme with synthetic leather, copper-colored accents, real wood, and thin-frame seats. The driver interface employs a 12.3-inch display with haptic-touch controls.
Nissan’s new IMk Concept is an all-electric vehicle that the automakers calls the “ultimate urban commuter.” While it rides on an all-new EV platform like the Ariya, its size puts it into Kei car (mini-vehicle) territory.
Fitted with the automaker’s latest advanced driver assistance and connectivity technologies, IMk draws on “Timeless Japanese Futurism,” Nissan’s latest design philosophy shared with the Ariya. Yet IMk is Nissan’s vision of a roomy city runner that stands out from other cars in its segment.
The futuristic cabin, presenting a high-tech look, brings the Akagane reddish-copper hue from the exterior to the instrument panel, doors, and steering wheel. There’s a start button and shifter, yet the thin dash lacks other physical controls. When using touch-sensitive surfaces, such as when viewing a map, the driver might see the form of a “flock of birds” flying over it.
The big news from Honda at the Tokyo Motor Show was the world premiere of the fourth-generation Fit. Expected to go on sale in Japan starting next February, Fit, which is also called Jazz in Europe and other markets, receives new styling inside and out.
Since its introduction in Japan in 2001, Fit has sold more than 7.5 million units worldwide. Honda says the new Fit will be its first compact car to offer a new high-efficiency two-motor hybrid system under its e:HEV marketing strategy. The automaker plans to electrify two-thirds of its global car sales by 2030.
While its new minimalist design follows the styling trend of the new Honda e (making its Japan debut at the show), Fit gains improved torsional rigidity allowing for more narrow A-pillars resulting in enhanced forward visibility.
Honda plans to offers five models in Japan: Fit Basic, Home, Ness, Crosstar and Luxe. All are equipped with the latest suite of Honda Sensing safety and driver-assistive technologies ncluding a new short-distance collision mitigation braking system.
Fit Crosstar is a new model with crossover-style cues, a unique front grille design, lower body kit, special alloy wheels, water-repellent seating surfaces and integrated roof rails.
Fit gains a new flat-topped instrument panel, along with new-generation “body stabilizing” seats with a planar support structure for improved comfort. The rear “Magic Seat” design continues to offer a flexible design that folds-flat or flips-up.
Honda held the Japan premiere of the Honda e, the dedicated EV urban commuter that was revealed in Europe. It’s shown above with the new Honda Benly e:, a business-use electric scooter, and Gyro e:, an electric three-wheeled scooter. Both are powered by the Honda Mobile Power Pack, a portable and “swappable” battery.
In the motorcycle area, Honda staged the premiere of the CT125, a concept based on the popular Super Cub series. This “trekking Cub” features retro-inspired styling with a steel front fender, raised muffler, and high-mounted air intake.
Mazda is preparing to join the growing EV crossover market with an all-new battery electric model revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show. Called MX-30, it debuts Mazda’s e-Skyactive electric drive technology.
Styling is based on a “Human Modern” theme, expanding Mazda’s Kodo Soul of Motion design. Without the need for a radiator grille, the signature Mazda wing used on other models is replaced with a more simple look described as a “friendly expression.”
The MX-30 in Tokyo sported “Freestyle” doors with custom hinges that allow the front doors to open 82 degrees and the rears 80 degrees. In addition to providing easy entry and exit, Mazda says it also provides better access for strollers and wheelchairs.
The cabin shares the same basic cockpit design found on other Mazdas with a horizontally symmetrical layout. Yet it’s fitted with interesting touches including a floating center console and electronic gearshift. A roster of i-Activesense safety features includes Turn-Across Traffic functionality for the Smart Brake Support system, Road Keep Assist, and Emergency Lane Keeping.
The e-Skyactive drive system includes an electric motor, lithium-ion battery pack with cooling system, inverter, and DC-DC converter. Normal and rapid charging ports are located in the right rear fender. Mazda says MX-30 supports DC charging with either the CHAdeMO or COMBO standard. For added flexibility, AC charging is also supported with an onboard AC charger in the luggage area.
Mazda also showed the new CX-30 ahead of its launch in Japan. This attractively styled compact crossover that features Mazda’s Kodo design rides on a new-generation SKYACTIV Vehicle Architecture.
CX-30 offers a choice of three SKYACTIV engines, including 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gas and 1.8-liter diesel. Optional i-ACTIV AWD features G-Vectoring Control for improved cornering plus Off-Road Traction Assist.
The cabin is crafted with Mazda’s typical attention to style and detail, including a wing-shaped hood over the instrument cluster. Available safety features include a driver monitoring system, while audio options offer a 12-speaker Bose® sound system.
The new MI-TECH concept introduced by Mitsubishi is a head-turning compact SUV with futuristic buggy-type styling. It’s dressed with a signature Dynamic Shield up front and large T-shaped headlights.
MI-TECH is ready for adventure with open-top styling, huge fender flares and no side doors. Underneath, this bold concept is fitted with a new plug-in hybrid drivetrain and four-motor electric 4WD system with front and rear Dual-Motor Active Yaw Control.
This high-tech concept SUV has a Human Machine Interface that displays information on an augmented reality windshield, including vehicle behavior, terrain recognition, and route guidance.
Instead of a traditional gas engine, MI-TECH combines PHEV technology with a compact gas-turbine engine-generator that’s said to run on a variety of fuels, such as diesel, kerosene and alcohol. While this concept is unlikely to reach production, Mitsubishi says it does plan to launch new electrified compact and midsize SUVs by 2022.
Mitsubishi offers an array of Kei cars (mini-vehicles) in Japan including the popular ek series produced in a joint venture with Nissan. The Super Height K-Wagon concept that made its debut in Tokyo is said to preview the second wave of next-generation Kei cars that it plans to release by the end of this fiscal year.
In addition to SUV-like styling cues, such as fender flares, side sill garnishes, and roof rails, Mitsubishi says the concept provides “brisk performance” from its powertrain (Kei cars are limited to 660cc engines that can be turbocharged). The K-Wagon concept is equipped with e-Assist safety tech including MI-PILOT single-lane driver assistance.
And while Kei car exterior size is also restricted, the automaker says that the concept has “the largest rear door opening and rear seat legroom in its class.” The interior is trimmed with shades of brown and orange while the seats are finished in synthetic leather with diamond-style quilting.
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News sources and photos courtesy of Nissan Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Mazda Motor Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corp., and the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA)
Note: Features, specifications and launch timing for Japanese-market production models mentioned in this story are subject to change without notice
Story (commentary) © 2019 CarNichiWa.com