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Toyota is planning to show no less than eight concept vehicles at the Tokyo Motor Show
later this month. Under the theme "Harmonious Drive - a New Tomorrow for People and the Planet", the Japanese manufacturer aims to introduce new efficient vehicle packaging and the 'essential emotional appeal' of cars themselves.
Rumours of a Supra replacement just won't go away, and Toyota has done anything but quash the speculation by bringing along its cool FT-HS concept
. The rear-wheel drive 2+2 coupé features a 3.5-litre V6 petrol unit coupled to Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system that aids fuel consumption and lowers CO2
emissions whilst offering quiet cruising. If you don't want to cruise around though, you could always make use of the 400bhp said to be on offer.
Not in power, but in looks, the tiny iQ concept
will surely draw another big crowd as it did at Frankfurt in September
. The ultra stylish Smart rival is only 2,980mm long and has a curious 3+1 seat layout, but what really makes it stand out from the crowd are its curvy flanks and highly racked windscreen, as well as its shimmering pearlescent paint and bold rear headlamps. Best news of all is that Toyota plans to build the iQ, which is scheduled for Europe in 2009. If it retains its appealing looks, the Japanese manufacturer could have a little winner on its hands.
On a slightly larger scale is the 1/X (pronounced "one-Xth"), which aims to redefine an 'environmentally considerate' vehicle. Weighing just 420kg, the Prius-sized concept owes much of its lightness to an ultra-strong carbon fibre reinforced plastic body frame. From pictures, the 1/X has a somewhat spartan interior, but look closer and under the rear seat peeks a mid-engined hybrid motor. Using FFV (Flexible Fuel Vehicle) technology and a 500cc plug-in hybrid powertrain, an additional battery pack will surely give massive miles per gallon and guilt-free CO2
But it's not all about low emissions and big mpgs. Toyota has considered not the planet this time, but the driver in the Rin concept. The car uses posture-enhancing seats and a mood-training steering control to enhance your psychological disposition - the first steps toward vehicle mind control we wonder? The Rin uses special light-filtering glass that reduces ultraviolet and infrared light in the cabin, enhancing interior light clarity. What's more, an oxygen-level conditioner and dehumidifier do their best to maintain a stable breathing environment. Unfortunately, more thought went into what the Rin does than the way it actually looks. Rather than base the car on a sleek and intriguing animal, spirit or piece of technological marvel, the Japanese decided to take inspiration from, a tall-growing tree. Hence the green...
Other concepts on the Toyota stand will be the one-seater, personal mobility vehicle, the i-Real, as well as the Hi-CT concept, which uses a plug-in hybrid wrapped in an 'edgy' urban vehicle body with two-seats and takes on new dimensions for a road-going vehicle (to us - a box on wheels).
Toyota will take on the minivan market with its ultra modern FT-MV concept that features second row seating complemented by luxurious ottomans. The six-seater uses red interior lighting and a sleek metallic centre console holding an automatic gearshift. Finally, in a more conventional saloon form, the Crown Hybrid Concept showcases a two-speed motor reduction device known as THS II, which helps to deliver smoother acceleration as well as lowering the overall carbon footprint of the car. The Crown Concept makes use of Toyota's own active steering control and a slick TFT LCD "Finegraphic Meter", which displays important vehicle information to the driver.
We'll be at the Tokyo Show next week to see if Toyota springs a surprise or two.
Kyle Molyneux - 15 Oct 2007