Going “Beyond The Motor” in the best way possible

The bi-annual Tokyo Motor Show has once again come and gone, bringing with it a flurry of new rides to ogle and admire. While the production side of the debuts was a bit light in the overall offerings, especially for U.S. consumers, the batch of fresh concepts on display was practically overflowing. And that’s fitting, considering this year’s theme was “Beyond The Motor,” giving us a futuristic, forward-thinking look at the automotive world yet to come. Out of this mix, we’ve assembled the best debuts to hit the Tokyo limelight in 2017, giving you, dear reader, a glimpse at the good stuff on offer from the Land of the Rising Sun.

Whether they offer drop-dead gorgeous exterior styling, innovative technology, or we just wish it was sold over here on these shores, the following vehicles have been carefully picked for your enjoyment. If you want a more in-depth look at what the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show has to offer, check out our complete and updated Visitor’s Guide. Otherwise, click on and join us as we drool over the best of the best from Japan.

Continue reading for the full story.

Mazda Kai Concept

2017 Mazda Kai Exterior
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2017 Mazda Kai Concept

Heading our list for Best In Show is this stunning four-door hatchback from Mazda. This isn’t the first time we’ve been floored by the Zoom-Zoom brand’s design chops – indeed, models like the RX-Vision from the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show have kept us on the edge of our seats waiting for the next lovely looking concept, and now we’ve got it. This thing has flawless proportions, with a long hood line and low roofline, pulling the eye towards a rounded, wide tail thanks to sleek, smoothed-out body panels and a curvaceously molded profile. Plus-sized wheels fill the fenders, while drawn-out lights in front and back add a nice dose of aggression. The central intake in the nose is large, but not overbearing, while the interior is a sumptuous blend of luxury and function. To sweeten the deal, this Mazda comes equipped with an upcoming SkyActiv engine under the hood.

Word has it the Kai Concept previews the next-generation Mazda3, and if that’s true we couldn’t be happier.

Read our full review on the 2017 Mazda Kai Concept

Honda Sports EV Concept

2017 Honda Sports EV Concept
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Honda Sports EV Concept

Performance electric concept from Honda? Yes please. As the follow-up to the Urban EV Concept that dropped earlier this year at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the Sports EV gets similar black-and-white styling cues, with large, solid shapes that combine with a minimum of seams to form a cohesive, singular shape. The profile gets a cab back profile, adding girth to the rear end while emphasizing the length of the extended hood line. The rear end is a squared-shape black insert with a pair of square stop lamps, while a single piece of black glass curves up and out towards the nose. In the corners are large plus-sized wheels, while digital displays outside the car relay pertinent information and messages.

No word on exactly what’s going on in terms of power production, but we propose a few ideas in the full review linked below.

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Sports EV Concept.

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept
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2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

We’ve seen a variety of Subaru’s Viziv concepts in the past, but this one is undoubtedly one of our favorites. It’s got all the stuff we like to see from the Six Star brand, including flared fender arches, big and bold bodywork, a low and wide stance, and the requisite hood scoop as well. Long story short, this is a preview of what the next-generation Subaru WRX might look like, and while it’s totally fair to point out Subaru’s penchant for revealing incredibly good looking concepts that never actually make it to production, we can’t help but add it to our list of favorites. We just love that chunky front end, down to the carbon fiber splitter and C-shaped headlights, while the little winglets over the wheels and rear-facing fender vents certainly do the trick as well. Even the rear end, with its trailing trunk spoiler, carbon diffuser, and quad exhaust, have us clamoring for more. Just slap some license plate brackets on it and call it a day, Subaru.

Read our full review on the 2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept.

Mazda Vision Coupe Concept

2017 Mazda Vision Coupe Concept Exterior
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2017 Mazda Vision Concept

While the Kai concept was definitely our favorite design study from Mazda at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, we just had to mention this larger four-door coupe concept as well. It’s got similar styling as the Kai, with long and wide proportions and sleek body panels, but rocks a more traditional body style compared to the white-hot hatch Kai. Thing is, the Coupe Concept is just a bit too much like the RX-Vision we saw in 2015, not to mention the Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 we saw at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2016. But that’s no biggie – if you think about, it’s not exactly a bad thing to be compared to those two lovely vehicles.

Read our full review on the 2017 Mazda Vision Coupe Concept.

Honorable Mention – Toyota Century

2018 Toyota Century
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2018 Toyota Century

We had to toss this one in as well, because as we see it, you can’t have too many Japanese luxury sedans in the lineup. Now entering its third generation, the Century is both longer and wider than the model it replaces, and we’re digging the Century’s aesthetic. It’s like a big Japanese extravagance box, filled with the right stuff to stay comfortable while out and about on the town. You’d be forgiven for calling it old school, but under the hood, there’s something fresh lying in wait – a hybrid V-8, which trades spots with the outgoing model’s 5.0-liter V-12 to produce nearly 400 horsepower.

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Century..

References

2017 Tokyo Motor Show – Visitor's Guide
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Read more Tokyo Motor Show news.

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