We’ve already covered the biggest reveal of the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, and it was a doozie. But it wasn’t the only thing to see at the wild and wonderful event that showcases what the automakers we know and love are working on. Let’s take a tour, shall we?
After a 12-hour flight out of LAX, another hour to get through the baggage claim and customs, and another two hours to get to our hotel in Monzen-Nakacho, we were pretty beat. Except that we still shot up like a bolt after a mere hours of jetlag-interrupted sleep. Might as well head to Tokyo Big Sight.
The first booth we came across was Subaru‘s, and though the big reveal was supposed to be the Levorg wagon, Fuji Heavy’s gave us a different wagon to drool over. No specs were given for the Cross Sport Concept, which appeared to be a BRZ nose with an Impreza WRX badonk, but there was one clue given: it’s rear-, not all-wheel-drive, meaning it’s basically a BRZ shooting brake.
The actual Levorg, on the other hand, is a handsome four-door wagon that splits the difference between Impreza and Legacy in size. It starts with a base 1.6-liter turbo boxer, but enthusiasts will no doubt opt for the 2.0-liter turbo good for 295 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
We’ve always loved Legacy wagons, but the latest incarnation lost the model a lot of fans when it debuted due to its bloated size and alien-bug styling. The great news is that the Levorg is almost identical in size as a third-generation Legacy longroof, and its handsome design is more befitting of the Legacy, er, legacy. It will go on sale next year in Japan. Hopefully it’ll come to the States as well.
In 1924 Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering licensed kits of this 1.5-ton truck from Great Britain’s Wolseley. The Wolseley CP was assembled in Fukagawa and used as an official vehicle of the Japanese military.
This particular truck was displayed at the National Science Museum until 1991 when it was returned to the originating company, now called Isuzu. It was restored and put on display alongside a huge display of modern dump trucks and buses.
Of course, the main reason we at the show as the unveiling of the Nissan IDx so we shuffled off to secure a front-row seat at the Nissan booth. The 80th anniversary part was still going strong and the Grand Prix-winning, record-setting Prince R380 was waiting for us. Keep in mind that at this point no one knew that the IDx would be revealed in less than two hours Shinichiro Sakurai’s Porsche fighter was distracting the crowd.
On the other side of the stage stood a 1935 Datsun Type 14, another symbol of how far Nissan has come.
Elsewhere at the booth symbols of Nissan’s heritage abounded. A wall of Nissan emblems started with an example of the Datsun “dashing hare” hood ornament.
Instead of real cars, Nissan showed the breadth of its 80 year history with milestone vehicles in diecast form. Nearly any real car you could think of was represented. We could barely believe that a scale model of the Nissan EX-A Pulsar existed.
The Blade Glider had been officially released weeks before the show, and most assumed that it and the NISMO GT-R wold be it for Nissan’s reveals. I kept telling Skorj it was called the Blade Runner, but I think my brain was glitching to the super-future architecture we were surrounded by (and lack of sleep).
The electric sports car featured a Leaf powertrain matched with an extreme aerodynamic shape based on the Nissan ZEOD RC race car, which was in turn based on the Deltawing. Because of its narrow front track seating is a McLaren F1-like 1+2 configuration.
We were two hours early, but sometimes you can guess what might be happening by looking at the positioning of items on the stage. There was obviously something hidden behind the black curtain. Was it the concept we’d been waiting for? And there was a third turntable in the center. Hmm… for the NISMO GT-R perhaps?
We planted ourselves in the front row an hour before the conference started, right next to Carlos Ghosn’s speechwriter. There was no way we were going to miss the unveil. And it was good thing we did. By the time it was ready to begin, the Nissan booth looked like Shibuya crossing at rush hour.
At precisely 10:22:52, the countdown began. Why? because 7:08 is the new Nürburgring lap record set by the 595hp NISMO GT-R. A full run of the ring king played out the wraparound screen. As Godzilla’s roar crescendoed during final straight, a door behind the black curtain opened and the GT-R rolled out.
But instead of taking the spotlight, Nissan immediately sidelined the GT-R by parking it stage left while the IDx Freeflow was driven onto center stage. Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn stepped out of the passenger seat and introduced the car you now all know.
At the same time, the black curtain lifted to expose the IDx NISMO. That’s right, folks. Nissan put the two 510-inspired cars front and center, ahead of its halo legend that had just become the new volume production record holder of the Green Hell.
As soon as the conference ended, we ran back to the media center to file a report, which soon became the most commented on article in JNC history. The chief designer of the project even chimed in and had a conversation with JNC readers about the design. We’ll have more on this later.
With the main event over with, we wandered the massive Tokyo Big Sight halls to see what other manufacturers had to offer. Mitsubishi‘s been on the rocks for the past few years, but they’re not about to let one of their winningest race lineages die out. The GC-PHEV is a hints at a possible direction for the next Pajero. The petrol-powered half of its drivetrain is a 3.0-liter supercharged V6, but as the alphabet jumble in its suggests, it’s also a plug-in hybrid.
The Toyota FJ Cruiser may be no more, but at least a tribute of it will live on in the newly introduced Suzuki Hustler. Suzuki may have withdrawn from the US market but its presence in Japan is as strong as ever, where nearly 40 percent of new cars sales are kei cars. The Hustler, available in AWD, is meant for outdoorsy types and comes with a rubber cargo area that you can hose down and an optional tent attachment for the rear hatch.
It wouldn’t be the Tokyo Motor Show without some strange kei concepts, and on that from Suzuki did not disappoint. Most kei cars try to maximize space by being a large, tall box, but the Crosshiker is the company’s foray into making it beautiful as well. To us it looks like an underwater creature of some sort, but at least it’s interesting.
At the other end of the spectrum is the X-Lander, whose purpose is pure utility. Suzuki says it was inspired by the Jimny, the cult car Americans know as the Samurai. We don’t see much Jimny in its design, but the go-anywhere attitude is a niche that needs filling.
The Tokyo Motor show isn’t just about cars. Japan’s bike manufacturers show off their latest concepts as well, and the craziest thing we saw was the Kawasaki J. The three-wheeled electric bike looks like something straight out of Akira, which you ride by controlling handlebars attached to each of the two front wheels. Tetsuo!!!
We’ll have more coverage from Day Two of the Tokyo Motor Show coming soon, so stayed tuned.