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A Concept Too Far Or Our Automotive Future?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  Tokyo Motor Show

A Concept Too Far Or Our Automotive Future?

Geoff Maxted
November 11, 2013

Lexus LF-CC Mazda SkyActiv CNG
Japan's car manufacturers will go futuristic and local at this year's Tokyo Motor Show, with far-out concept cars. We’ve already seen on these pages the three aggressively styled concept hybrid vehicles and the three-seat Nissan BladeGlider; but there‘s going to be a lot more to see.

Toyota Motor Corp. will show a wave-styled hydrogen fuel cell saloon and a pod-like mini-car. Honda and Daihatsu will display sporty, convertible mini-cars geared solely for their domestic market.

Lexus will unveil a near-production version of its long-awaited sports coupe, a four-seater dubbed the RC that fills a big void in the luxury brand's line-up. The car's styling draws from the LF-CC coupe concept shown at the 2012 Paris auto show (seen above), with a gaping spindle grille and wide-set side air intakes.

It gets a rounded roof silhouette and sharply creased rear bumpers. It's L-shaped rear combination lamps and headlamps were inspired by the LFA sports car that ended production last year. The car will come with a traditional 3.5L petrol engine or a hybrid system that uses a 2.5L engine. Lexus is calling the RC a production prototype.

Mazda are not exactly pushing the boat out this year, offering only the Mazda3 Skyactiv-CNG Concept (below), which can run on either compressed natural gas or regular fuel. Vehicles running on CNG can cut emissions 20 percent compared with similar cars running on petrol, so the company says.

Subaru will unveil a new sports tourer concept, a wagon-shaped preview of a production model coming to market next year. Dubbed the Levorg - which we reported on a while back - the prototype foreshadows a car that is expected to sit below the Legacy. Whether it will be available outside of Japan is yet to be revealed. The car gets Subaru's next-generation EyeSight pre-crash braking system and a newly developed 1.6L direct-injection, turbocharged engine.

Subaru also plans another global debut: the Cross Sport Design Concept. That vehicle has a compact body for easy driving and seat access. The company states that it encapsulates the brand's future direction in urban crossovers. There’s going to be plenty from other manufacturers too.

So, it’s all very exciting. Or is it? As time goes on car makers around the world are showing and demonstrating more and more remarkable automotive achievements and design concepts, but what about the real world? I am personally very interested in design but even I think it’s all getting a bit silly. Just because you can make it doesn’t mean I want it. Most drivers, I suspect, just want proper cars - however propelled - that are comfortable, fun, economical and reasonably priced. The Ford Fiesta springs to mind.

In an environment where the car is increasingly being automated and our intelligence is being insulted by having driving decisions are taken from us like so many naughty children, what’s the point?

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