Automotive

Toyota storming Tokyo with triple concept-car offensive

Toyota storming Tokyo with tri...
Toyota at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show
Toyota at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show
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The S-FR features light, compact design, independent suspension and a manual transmission
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The S-FR features light, compact design, independent suspension and a manual transmission
Toyota designed a simple interior to convey the S-FR's light, sporty nature
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Toyota designed a simple interior to convey the S-FR's light, sporty nature
The new S-FR could be a look at a future small sports car
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The new S-FR could be a look at a future small sports car
Toyota S-FR closeup
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Toyota S-FR closeup
Toyota S-FR closeup
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Toyota S-FR closeup
Toyota S-FR closeup
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Toyota S-FR closeup
Toyota S-FR closeup
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Toyota S-FR closeup
No automatic or paddle shift here, the S-FR has a six-speed manual
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No automatic or paddle shift here, the S-FR has a six-speed manual
Inside the new S-FR concept
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Inside the new S-FR concept
Inside the new S-FR concept
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Inside the new S-FR concept
Toyota sees the S-FR earning cult-like status among drivers and customizers
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Toyota sees the S-FR earning cult-like status among drivers and customizers
The S-FR concept will make its world premiere later this month
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The S-FR concept will make its world premiere later this month
Toyota has given the S-FR a long hood and curvy profile
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Toyota has given the S-FR a long hood and curvy profile
The S-FR measures in about 10 in shorter than the Scion FR-S
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The S-FR measures in about 10 in shorter than the Scion FR-S
The rear-end continues the curvaceous theme
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The rear-end continues the curvaceous theme
Toyota previews the S-FR concept
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Toyota previews the S-FR concept
Toyota previews the S-FR concept
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Toyota previews the S-FR concept
Toyota previews the S-FR concept
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Toyota previews the S-FR concept
Toyota previews the S-FR concept
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Toyota previews the S-FR concept
Inside, the FCV Plus has strange, organic rear seating
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Inside, the FCV Plus has strange, organic rear seating
A futuristic car wouldn't be complete without a focus on infotainment tech
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A futuristic car wouldn't be complete without a focus on infotainment tech
Toyota FCV Plus
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Toyota FCV Plus
A peek inside the all-new Toyota FCV Plus concept
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A peek inside the all-new Toyota FCV Plus concept
Toyota FCV Plus concept
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Toyota FCV Plus concept
Toyota FCV Plus concept
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Toyota FCV Plus concept
Toyota imagines the FCV producing electricity for both commuting and community
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Toyota imagines the FCV producing electricity for both commuting and community
The Toyota FCV Plus has four wheel motors
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The Toyota FCV Plus has four wheel motors
The FCV Plus can connect to an external hydrogen source and deliver power to the grid
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The FCV Plus can connect to an external hydrogen source and deliver power to the grid
Toyota previews the FCV Plus before its Tokyo Motor Show premiere
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Toyota previews the FCV Plus before its Tokyo Motor Show premiere
The Kikai's open rear exposes the engine, exhaust system, suspension and fuel tank
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The Kikai's open rear exposes the engine, exhaust system, suspension and fuel tank
Those outside can appreciate the Kikai's mechanical workings, and those inside can enjoy views of the outside through the rounded windows, which extend into the roof
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Those outside can appreciate the Kikai's mechanical workings, and those inside can enjoy views of the outside through the rounded windows, which extend into the roof
A unique fuel gauge
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A unique fuel gauge
A playfully retro cockpit
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A playfully retro cockpit
The defining features of the interior are the window panels that let the driver watch the tires, suspension and road below
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The defining features of the interior are the window panels that let the driver watch the tires, suspension and road below
The upper control arm extending off the small hood attracts attention to the suspension system
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The upper control arm extending off the small hood attracts attention to the suspension system
Inside the Kikai concept
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Inside the Kikai concept
Toyota Kikai sketch
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Toyota Kikai sketch
Toyota Kikai
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Toyota Kikai
The Kikai is like an automotive version of a wristwatch with exposed inner workings
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The Kikai is like an automotive version of a wristwatch with exposed inner workings
The Toyota Kikai concept will make its world premiere in Tokyo later this month
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The Toyota Kikai concept will make its world premiere in Tokyo later this month
Toyota Kikai
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Toyota Kikai
Toyota Kikai
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Toyota Kikai
Toyota Kikai
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Toyota Kikai
Watch the front suspension in action
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Watch the front suspension in action
The Kikai concept has a three-seat layout
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The Kikai concept has a three-seat layout
Toyota at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show
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Toyota at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show
View gallery - 46 images

Japanese automakers are all bringing their A games to their home auto show this year, and Toyota is an early favorite for an unofficial "best in show" award. It will premiere three all-new concepts at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, and each is pretty radical in its own way. There's a compact, entry level sports car, a futuristic fuel cell commuter and a retro cruiser with open mechanicals.

We were already getting pretty excited about the Tokyo show based on the sneak previews we'd seen from Suzuki, Nissan and Subaru, and Toyota has really ratcheted that excitement up to a higher level. This should prove to be one of the most interesting shows of the year in terms of concept cars.

S-FR sports car

The S-FR measures in about 10 in shorter than the Scion FR-S
The S-FR measures in about 10 in shorter than the Scion FR-S

The car we're most excited about, and the one that could conceivably be approved for production, the S-FR is a look at an FR-S baby brother, something that's been rumored for quite some time. The quick flip of an S from the Scion FR-S, which stands for "Front-engine, RWD, Sport," doesn't seem to tell us much on its own because "Sport, Front-engine, RWD" is really the exact same thing. However, if we take that S to mean "small," it's much more insightful.

Toyota describes the S-FR as an entry level model, and with an overall length of 157 in (3,990 mm), it's close to 10 inches shorter than the Scion FR-S (166.7 in/4,234 mm). The S-FR has 3.2 inches (81 mm) less width at 66.7 in (1,695 mm) but stands 1.4 inches (36 mm) higher at 52 in (1,320 mm). Its wheelbase is set at 97.6 in (2,780 mm) versus 101.2 (2,570 mm) on the FR-S.

Believe it or not, while the S-FR body looks like it could only possibly hold two seats inside, this is actually a 2+2. We're pretty sure most people older than 8 would never want to squeeze into those rear two seats, but they could come in handy for shopping bags and the like.

Toyota hasn't yet revealed the power plant under the curvy hood, but it does explain that the car was designed for smooth, responsive handling and superior man-machine connection. Its front-mid engine position helps to optimize weight distribution, which sharpens cornering capabilities with help from the independent suspension. The six-speed manual transmission only enhances the driver's fun.

Toyota designed a simple interior to convey the S-FR's light, sporty nature
Toyota designed a simple interior to convey the S-FR's light, sporty nature

Even if it wasn't neon yellow, the S-FR is the type of concept that catches the eye, no matter how many other cars surround it in an auto show hall. It has a simple, curvaceous style that recalls classic Japanese sports car designs like the Datsun 240Z and, more importantly Toyota's first sports car – the Sports 800. We think Toyota's done a good job of creating design that's simple, distinct and sporty, but the concept's look has been polarizing based on some of the early comments we've read. The styling may not attract a whole lot of buyers on its own, but we'd say it's strong enough that it wouldn't deter young, enthusiastic drivers looking for a fun, affordable sports car.

Toyota describes the S-FR as a continuation of its lightweight sports car design heritage and envisions it as a product that could "make a whole new generation fall in love with driving." It sure sounds like this car could make the trip to production, where it would take on the Honda S660. Toyota hasn't confirmed it publicly yet, but Car and Driver is already talking about a potential late-2016 production start. Here's to hoping!

Kikai concept

The other two cars on Toyota's Tokyo world premiere slate fall on the opposite end of the "production likelihood" scale. The Kikai concept car reminds us a little of a grown-up version of Toyota's ongoing Camatte toy car project. While the various Camatte models were designed to give children an appreciation for and understanding of the automobile, the Kikai does the same for adults. Its body work has been peeled away to reveal the inner parts at work, including the mid-mounted engine, fuel tank and suspension hardware.

The Kikai's open rear exposes the engine, exhaust system, suspension and fuel tank
The Kikai's open rear exposes the engine, exhaust system, suspension and fuel tank

"The concept was designed to explore and emphasize the fundamental appeal of machines: their fine craftsmanship, their beauty, simplicity, and their fascinating motion," Toyota explains. "It reminds us of the appeal of the physical and tactile in a digital age.”

The three-seat Kikai interior features window panels set near the feet of the centrally situated driver. These windows reveal the rush of the road below, as well as working parts like the tires and suspension, inviting the driver to develop a closer connection with his car and the road. Hopefully, that hypothetical driver will still pay attention to the big window at eye level, though.

FCV Plus fuel cell car + portable generator

The FCV Plus can connect to an external hydrogen source and deliver power to the grid
The FCV Plus can connect to an external hydrogen source and deliver power to the grid

Just under a year after launching the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, Toyota has skipped a few years ahead with its vision for a future-generation AWD fuel cell vehicle. The FCV Plus is driven by four in-wheel electric motors powered by the fuel cell stack mounted between the front wheels. That stack is fed by compressed hydrogen in a rear-mounted tank. Toyota envisions the car also capable of being hooked up to an external hydrogen source so it can feed electricity into the home and community grid when it's not out on the road.

Joining these three all-new concepts will be the world premiere of the Kirobo Mini, a new companion robot based on the original Kirobo, and Frankfurt-revealed models like the new Prius and CH-R concept. The Tokyo Motor Show opens to the media on October 28.

Source: Toyota, Car and Driver

View gallery - 46 images
9 comments
CAVUMark
SF-R a 240Z reincarnated. I loved mine.
Tom Lee Mullins
I think the fuel cell vehicle is the best looking of the three.
I think the S-FR sports car has a weird looking grill.
The Kikai looks half naked. It looks like it is only partly dressed.
GordonJames
FCV: Would have a range of 5 miles, with all the gear needed for fuel cells and hydrogen tanks Kikai -a (really) bad joke S-FR -As ugly as a Mirai and as impractical as a Miata
owlbeyou
The S-FR and the Kikai concepts are quite original, cute as hell, and have an enormous fun factor. The 6-speed S-FR blows homely-looking mini cars like the Fiat 500 out of the water, and the Kikai (great name) should be a two seater. Having the driver in front of the passengers looks like a lonely arrangement. Maybe having moveable seats would be a flexible alternative. It's inner workings exposed makes it like a mini hot rod. Lots of potential there from Toyota.
Stephen N Russell
favor FCV type with longer range, Id be super to drive.
eric@karich.net
Those are some of the ugliest designs I have ever seen. The only one with a hint of good design is the S-FR, which looks like it simply knocked off some of the nice looking features from a Porsche 911.
Alm480
Couple of great little concepts, some might have some thought provoking styling but that's the point of a concept. The only thing the S-FR shares with a Porsche 911 is 4 wheels, two doors and a raking roof line (which can be found on any 2 door sports coupe)
Nice to see something a bit different.
And GordonJames, the Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell vehicle which is a production car has a range of 500km.
Tom Phoghat Sobieski
Imitation being the most sincere form of flattery, the S-FR looks Maserati-ish, The Kikai looks like a VW Dune Buggy
Bob Flint
Do any of the Toyota engineers, or so called designers actually drive anything else than a scooter in summer time?
The see through windows to watch the suspension would get dirty, and damaged in the first kilometer, the hydrogen vehicle & especially the open effects wouldn't survive a Canadian winter.
The S-FR is a fat squat constipated mini..