Automotive

Suzuki teases Microbus-like van for Tokyo

Suzuki teases Microbus-like va...
The all-new Air Triser concept bears a striking resemblance to the Volkswagen Bulli
The all-new Air Triser concept bears a striking resemblance to the Volkswagen Bulli
View 11 Images
Suzuki will premiere the Air Triser and other concepts at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show
1/11
Suzuki will premiere the Air Triser and other concepts at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show
The Mighty Deck is a sporty minicar concept
2/11
The Mighty Deck is a sporty minicar concept
Inside, the Air Triser has three rows of flexi-position seating
3/11
Inside, the Air Triser has three rows of flexi-position seating
The dual sliding doors provide a large entryway
4/11
The dual sliding doors provide a large entryway
The all-new Air Triser concept bears a striking resemblance to the Volkswagen Bulli
5/11
The all-new Air Triser concept bears a striking resemblance to the Volkswagen Bulli
The 2015 Suzuki Mighty Deck concept
6/11
The 2015 Suzuki Mighty Deck concept
The Air Triser's seats can be rearranged to relaxation mode ...
7/11
The Air Triser's seats can be rearranged to relaxation mode ...
... and lounge mode
8/11
... and lounge mode
In the Air Triser driver's seat
9/11
In the Air Triser driver's seat
Inside the Mighty Deck
10/11
Inside the Mighty Deck
The Mighty Deck includes an open load deck and retractable roof
11/11
The Mighty Deck includes an open load deck and retractable roof
View gallery - 11 images

The 2015 Tokyo Motor Show gets underway later this month and automakers are busying themselves revealing and previewing planned premieres. We've seen vehicles of various shapes and sizes from Honda, Nissan's idea of what the digital generation might want to drive and now a couple of intriguing concept cars from Suzuki, including a roomy minivan that clearly borrows some inspiration from the Volkswagen Bulli.

Because of its short nose and red-and-white color scheme, it's hard to look at the new Suzuki Air Triser concept and not think of the 2011 VW Bulli Concept, or even the original VW buses, like the Splittie that recently posed with the all-new T6.

That's not meant as a criticism, because if Volkswagen is going to keep giving us Plain Jane Transporters, someone else might as well step in and offer something as cool as the old-school Microbuses. The Air Triser isn't necessarily that immediately iconic, but its shape definitely offers a cooler, more distinct look than the average commercial van box or soccer team-hauling minivan.

... and lounge mode
... and lounge mode

It's not just the exterior that makes the Air Triser cool, either. Suzuki calls the AT a three-row compact minivan concept, and it's designed to pack a comfy, flexible "private lounge" inside a modest set of dimensions. When parked, the rear seats can be set up to face each other in "relaxation mode" or configured into a U-shaped sofa in "lounge mode." While lounging and relaxing, occupants can play content from their mobile devices on the built-in digital display.

With all that seating flexibility available from the get-go, the Air Triser is fully ready to follow its spiritual relatives from VW in being converted into a cozy camper van. We could see it easily becoming a mini-camper similar to some of the designs we saw at the Japan Camping Show earlier this year.

If you prefer the authentic Volkswagen bus, or would rather see your minibus in all-electric specification, some good news might be on the horizon. Word has it that Volkswagen is developing a new all-electric bus concept for the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in January. According to an Autocar report on the matter last month, the new concept will preview a production model and feature battery technology borrowed from the Audi R8 and Quattro concept e-tron models.

Of course, past rumors of a revived Bulli have all led to disappointment, and Volkswagen has a new chairman and more important issues to worry about. In fact, Bloomberg reported yesterday that the automaker is shelving all non-essential projects to deal with the financial fallout of its diesel scandal. If there's one thing that screams "non-essential project!" (from an automaker's perspective), it's an all-electric revival of a decades old van design. Hopes are dropping right back down to Earth.

The Mighty Deck includes an open load deck and retractable roof
The Mighty Deck includes an open load deck and retractable roof

Back on the topic of Suzuki and the Tokyo Motor Show: The Air Triser will be joined in Tokyo by a smaller new concept car. The Mighty Deck is Suzuki's take on a fun, urban/outdoor-inspired minicar. Features like the retractable canvas top and flexible open load deck aim to "free people to move between contrasting situations and mindsets", such as city/nature and work/leisure.

Sources: Suzuki, Autocar, Bloomberg

View gallery - 11 images
9 comments
Derek Howe
Hmm, that's pretty good looking. inside & out.
Craig Jennings
Certainly looks cool, the transforming interior is also neat. The zero lateral support seats means I hope it never gets infront of me on the road :)
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that is a really nice design. It would be neat if they made it and sold it here in the US.
JerryStroud
Is Suzuki trying to corner the hideous looking car market? It is extremely ugly! And I though the Scions were ugly but this design beats them hands down!!
wanderkip
Suzuki had developed sort of a "Mini-NSX" sportscar in the 90's that sounded promising and actually became a cult car domestically. Let's hope their designers can at least better that effort with any new concepts. http://www.roadster-nc.com/2013/09/autozam-az-1.html
LordInsidious
Love seeing different designs like this to give actual options to people. Most minivans here are pretty much the same, this is much different and could be more useful to some.
Michael Crumpton
If VW were to revive the Microbus with an electric powertrain, that would do a lot for their rep. An iconic VW vehicle with indisputably green cred is just what they need.
Bruce H. Anderson
Kia had a concept vehicle that "celebrated the box." It was the gull-wing KV7. It looked like a bigger version of the original Scion xB, and I hoped they would go somewhere with it. This Suzuki is in the same vein, but we shall see. I doesn't look like VW will do anything soon.
Simons Engineering
I really hate "teasers"... I love my Suzuki SX4. Its an amazing snowmobile here in the Rockies. If they put a turbo 2.0L or 2.4L engine mated to their impressive AWD system in that micro-bus, I'd be the first in line. Its ability to haul bikes & gear for camping trips while still being commuter friendly would make it a instant success here in Colorado.
Make the damn thing...
Oh yeah... Suzuki needs to re-open in the US first. Maybe they could go with a dealer-less business model this time around! Great prices & semi-custom online ordering would definitely create a buzz in the US.