Standout Cars from the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show

November 28, 2022

Car shows are always a festival of crazy ideas and outlandish concepts. For Japanese car companies, the most significant platform to unveil those wild rides is the Tokyo Motor Show. The Tokyo Motor Show is always home to the craziest car concepts of the year. The 2017 Motor Show featured a number of zany concepts, as well as a few practical car developments which could be on the road in the very near future. Here is a slideshow of the standout cars and concepts from the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.

Mitsubishi E-Volution

Car shows are a great place for a car manufacturer to put the past behind them. For Mitsubishi, the recent past has been nothing short of horrifying, with the company staggering from one scandal to another with revelations about shoddy safety standards and falsifying emission standards. Mitsubishi came to the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show with a new corporate structure and a fresh new car: the electric concept “E-Volution.” While unlikely to become a production vehicle, the “EV” offered a bold approach to building a performance SUV. With three engines and all-wheel drive, it would be the performance, not the electricity, that would make the driver's hair stand up. This car indicates Mitsubishi is back to building exciting vehicles and not doing damage control on scandals.

Toyota Century

The highest echelons of luxury are reserved for the purveyors ultra-refinement, companies like Maybach, Bentley and Rolls Royce. Those luxury brands are notably old, established, prestigious and European. A company you would not typically put on such a pedestal is Toyota, and yet Toyota arrived at the Tokyo Motor Show with one of the most surprising concepts at the event, the Toyota Century, an ultra-luxury land yacht. The Century was designed to take on the cushy European luxury liners, offering feature for feature and capably going toe to toe with the biggest and plushest on the road. Another twist? The Century will be a production vehicle, but it will only be available in Japan.

Toyota GR HV Sports Concept

The Century was not Toyota’s only fascinating offering; Toyota came prepared to make a statement in Tokyo. Toyota also unveiled the Toyota GR HV, a hybrid version many believe is based on Toyota’s popular Toyota 86. Other than good looks for a sports coupe, the car also has a highly sophisticated hybrid electric engine designed based on Toyota’s Le Mans challengers in the WEC. The real show-stopper was a slick automatic/manual gearbox which can be switched back and forth; buttons on the control cluster give drivers the option for drive, park, reverse, etc., while a gearbox would allow drivers to take direct control of their driving experience.

Lexus LS+

Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, also came prepared to the Tokyo Motor Show, showing off their new LS+ concept, a fully autonomous version of their already renewed LS brand. The two general trends of cars in the future will be fully electric and entirelyautonomous. With one concept, Lexus showed us how they intend to build a high-brow luxury car that can drive its passengers from place to place in style and comfort. The LS+ offers more than a cushy ride, though, with designers of this concept touting its performance specs. Lexus is hoping to have this car on public roads by 2020.

Mazda Kai

The Mazda Kai is one of the most interesting concept cars because it is extremely plausible. Mazda has always developed their vehicles independently, and the Kai is no exception. Rather than the usual outlandish futurism, one would expect at a car show; the Kai appears to be a realistic approach to the next generation of Mazda’s highly popular three series hatchback. Featured in a striking red paint, the Kai has appealing looks, with sleek, flowing lines. The interior offers style, but no outlandish technology; if anything, it looks like the Kai could be on the road within the next few months.

Subaru Viziv

Subaru is known for its quality, not for being exciting. If someone wrote a pros and cons list about Subaru, they would probably include words like practical or reliable in the pros section, and would likely draw a stick figure napping in the cons. Yet Subaru showed up to the Tokyo Motor Show with an eye-popping Viziv concept that showed the company is interested in mixing things up and adding a few white-knuckle drivers into their lineup. The Viziv is roughly the same size as the WRX, and while technical details were scarce, designers of this concept talked up their success in World Rally Racing as an inspiration for this beauty.

Nissan Leaf Nismo

While the fully electric Nissan Leaf is already in production and on American streets, the Nissan Leaf Nismo is an interesting spin on the compact electric. Nismo is the performance branch of Nissan, and the Leaf Nismo promises to have a ton of zip. This all-electric sport compact vehicle boosts the output of the electric engine up to a respectable 147hp but 236lbs of torque, which will get this hatchback off the line in a hurry. New bodywork produces less drag, giving the Leaf even more speed. While Nissan has not said they want to produce the Leaf Nismo, experts agree that this concept might actually see production in the next few years.

Honda Sports EV Concept

Not to be upstaged, Honda showed up to Tokyo with a bevy of exciting vehicles. Among them was the Honda Sports EV Concept, a fully electric sports compact vehicle that Honda produced for the show. This genuinely gorgeous vehicle dropped jaws at the show. Low slung and rounded with a panoramic roof; the EV Concept also offers a futuristic redesign of everything from side mirrors to front headlights. The EV was based on a similar concept (the Urban EV) that was a dominating presence at the Frankfurt Auto Show earlier in the year. It is unlikely that the Sports EV will see production, but many of its concepts will likely filter into Honda’s models in the near future.

Suzuki XBee

With looks straight out of a 50s surfer movie and a notably small stature, Suzuki’s XBee seems like a perfect car for a fuel-efficient trip to the beach. Given its size, the XBee would likely be an excellent choice to for the narrow roads of city streets. Surprisingly zippy with a direct injection turbo engine, the XBee (pronounced ‘cross bee’) is designed to be capable of going off-road. A small and easily missed detail is the wood paneling on the side. Though never intended to be sold in America, the XBee is likely to hit streets in Japan and Europe, likely by the end of 2018 at the absolute least.

Suzuki E-Survivor

At long last, it looks like the circus has come to town. The Suzuki E-Survivor looks like some kind of madcap Hot Wheels car come to life, but that isn’t exactly true; throughout the world, the Jimny has been in production and on (and off) roads for many years now. The E-Survivor has a number of interesting features, such as four electric motors over each of the four wheels, glass doors and an open top. While the e-Survivor might look like some glorified dune buggy, Suzuki is eagerly promoting this vehicle as a potential blueprint for compact SUVs of the future.