TOKYO – If there is a theme to this month's 39th Tokyo Motor Show, it has to be hybrids and hydrogen.
But the exhibition also will have its share of conventionally powered, if not conventionally designed vehicles.
Press previews begin this week and the show opens to the public on Oct. 22. Nearly 240 vehicle makers and suppliers will participate in the 16-day extravaganza scheduled to run through Nov. 6.
Here is a company-by-company roundup of what to expect:
Toyota Motor Corp.
Estima Hybrid: The concept car features Toyota's latest hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) technology and is expected to get 42.3 mpg (18L/100 km). It boasts electric 4-wheel drive and the brand's trademark Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system. The HEV could be in dealer showrooms as early as next spring and will be available only in Japan.
I-Swing: The single-seater runs on three wheels – or two when riding on crowded sidewalks. In 2-wheeled mode, it takes up about as much space as a pedestrian. The I-Swing driver supplements joystick and pedal inputs with leans to the left or right.
bB compact wagon: The production-ready concept is based on the Passo platform and geared toward the youth market, with features such as a 9-speaker digital-audio system and an interior inspired by a nightclub atmosphere, complete with flashing lights.
FSC: A cross between a minivan and sedan, Toyota calls it a ìdesign study.î
RAV4 SUV concept: A racer designed for the F1 circuit.
Fine-X: A 4-seat fuel-cell vehicle the auto maker says is as friendly to the environment as it is to its occupants.
Flagship Sedan Concept Car: Toyota's new promised sedan to be unveiled at the show. (See related story: Toyota, Lexus Unveil Wide-Ranging Fleet of Concepts )
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.
Pivo: A strong contender for the most innovative car of the show is the futuristic Pivo. It boasts a unique revolving cabin that spins a full 360 degrees and an array of advanced telematic, safety and environmental features. Included in the car is by-wire steering, braking and shifting; an ìall-around-viewî monitoring system that employs four strategically placed cameras to advise the driver of traffic flows on its futuristic dashboard display. (See related story: Nissan Showing GT-R Prototype, Electric Car in Tokyo)
A prototype of Nissan's GT-R supercar: It will mark the first time the car has a specific body style.
The Note: Inspired by Adidas, Nissan applies clothing fashion to the Note small car.
Amenio: The concept aims at taking the minivan ìto the next level,î Nissan says.
Motor Co. Ltd.
Sports 4 Concept: This is said to be the best picture yet of the auto maker's future design direction. While details still are sketchy, engineers indicate the sports sedan will be powered by a 2L 4-cyl. engine with all-wheel drive. If it comes to market, the car will be positioned slightly below the Legend in Honda's lineup.
WOW: A smart-looking passenger van that can seat up to six, plus a small dog, the WOW is built for families. It has sliding side doors and a flexible interior that allows seats to be moved around or stored under the floor. The plan is to introduce the WOW in the Japanese market within the next couple of years.
FCX Concept: The futuristic fuel-cell car features a new vertical powertrain layout that enables the same sort of packaging one might expect in a standard sedan. However, the FCX Concept is loaded with high-tech goodies, such as a ìface recognitionî entry system and ìfloating instrument panelî that changes height in accordance to vehicle speed. (See related story: Honda to Display 25 Passenger Cars in Tokyo)
Mazda Motor Corp.
Senku: Billed as a ìrotary sports car for adults,î the Senku offers hints at the auto maker's future design direction, from its ìflying wingî sliding doors to its futuristic cockpit. The car also suggests the future direction for Mazda's celebrated rotary engine technology. Powered by a direct-injected version of the 13B rotary (the base engine used in the RX-8), the Senku adds a hybrid system to help boost power output and lower fuel consumption. The car's rotary engine is linked to a 7-speed ìpower-shiftî transmission.
MPV: Undergoing its first full model change since its 1989 debut, Mazda's new MPV is scheduled to hit domestic showrooms next spring. Both sporty and functional, it features a low floor, power sliding doors for easy entry and exit, third-row seats that can be folded down electronically to create additional rear storage space, a power rear liftgate, 3-zone air-conditioning and adaptive front lighting.
Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid: This concept employs the same dual-fuel system (gasoline-hydrogen) that was developed two years ago for the RX-8 Hydrogen RE, as well as a hybrid battery and electric motor. The Premacy Hydrogen is equipped with a larger hydrogen tank than the one used in the RX-8 Hydrogen, which made its debut at the 2003 Tokyo show (and will be leased in small volume – about 10 the first year – beginning in 2006). Researchers claim the vehicle can go 125 miles (201 km) between fill-ups, double the distance of the RX-8 Hydrogen. (See related story: Mazda to Debut Senku Concept, New MPV at Tokyo)
Mitsubishi Motor Corp.
Concept-X, the likely successor to the Lancer Evolution: The sporty model, which is powered by a turbocharged 4-cyl. engine mated to a clutchless 6-speed automated manual transmission, adopts the auto maker's latest vehicle dynamic control system. Called S-AWC for ìsuper all-wheel control,î the system integrates 4-wheel drive with ìactiveî yaw, center differential, braking, steering and roll controls.
Concept D:5: The next-generation Delica van is powered by a 2.4L MIVEC engine, mated to a sport mode 6-speed continuously variable transmission. With seating capacity for six, the 186.4-in. (473.5-cm) long D:5 features an array of advanced safety technologies, including peripheral monitoring, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control.
MIEV: Based on the Lancer Evolution IX, the MIEV is a future electric vehicle. In developing the car, Mitsubishi engineers adopted a lithium-ion battery pack supplied by Litcel, an affiliated company. Four in-wheel motors, each producing 50 kW of power and 382 lb.-ft. (518 Nm) of torque, and 6-speed CVT round out the package.
Outlander: The revamped cross/utility vehicle is powered by an all-new 2.4L 16-valve all-aluminum MIVEC engine, mated to a 6-speed CVT, it hits dealer showrooms in Japan Oct. 17. (See related story: Mitsubishi Showing New Outlander, Concepts in Tokyo)
Suzuki Motor Corp.
2-seater LC: The LC is a throwback to the 1960s, when most cars in Japan were minis. The tiny concept car is powered by a 0.66L 3-cyl. engine.
Ionis hybrid concept van: It is loaded with a long list of high-tech features from by-wire steering and braking to futuristic displays on its stylish instrument panel. Measuring nearly 157.5 ins. (4 m) long, the model can seat four.
P.X concept: Designed to be a luxury van for men, the vehicle is powered by a 16-valve 2.0L gasoline engine and seats up to six people.
Mom's Personal Wagon: Based on the 0.66L MR Wagon. The 4-seater features an array of amenities aimed at mothers with children. (See related story: Suzuki to Show 2-Seater, Manly Minivan in Tokyo)