A Yamaha to haul your Yamahas and three friends

Yamaha is well known for building fun stuff like motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, outboard engines for boats, and even the occasional musical instrument or two. Now, the Japanese mega-corporation is toying with entering the compact pickup market with this, the Cross Hub Concept. It’s unique in just about every way, from its seating configuration to its cargo bed. Sadly, the project seems a bit too “concept” to make production anytime soon.

The Cross Hub Concept made its debut at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show and is billed as a lifestyle car for those splitting time between city life and the great outdoors. Yamaha says it’s “just the right size” and is designed for on-road and off-road maneuverability while still having room for “other Yamaha recreational products.” So far, this is the furthest Yamaha has gotten to building a road-going, four-wheeled vehicle. Of course, there was the time it developed and built high-strung V-6 and V-8 engines for the first three generations of Ford Taurus SHOs, and technically some of its side-by-side UTVs are road-legal, but you won’t find any rolling down the interstate. The Cross Hub, on the other hand, promises to be road-ready and built for fun.

Continue reading for more information.

Exterior

  • Outlandish design
  • Innovative cargo bed
  • Looks like nothing else
2017 Yamaha Cross Hub Concept Exterior
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The most interesting part is where the bubble-like cab meets the cargo bed

Calling it different would be the understatement of 2017. The Cross Hub Concept looks like nothing else because it’s a clean-sheet design. It’s like Yamaha raised a group of whiz-kid engineers in a closed environment, never showing them photos of a pickup truck and then asked them to design one with minimal instruction.

The most interesting part is where the bubble-like cab meets the cargo bed. The cab rounds off, enclosing itself completely separate from the bed and its satin-silver roll bar support. The cab and bed look like two separate units that have come together – like how the Starship Enterprise (NCC1701-D for you nerds out there) is designed to separate its saucer from the stardrive section.

2017 Yamaha Cross Hub Concept Drawings
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The Cross Hub’s front looks like a mix between one of Yamaha’s UTVs and a Ford Edsel

The Cross Hub’s front looks like a mix between one of Yamaha’s UTVs and a Ford Edsel. Three different lighting elements mixed with horizontal and vertical lines give the Cross Hub a busy look. Then again, it sort of works for this thing.

Like a mullet in 1985, the Cross Hub’s party is kept out back. Its cargo bed is designed to carry a Yamaha dirtbike diagonally. The tailgate extends the bed but does not keep loose items from falling out when latched since it’s not solid. The tailgate actually fits around the curved bed floor when lowered. Even more interesting, the top of the tailgate has secondary taillights for when its lowered. As for the wood planks in the bed floor, Yamaha says it choose wood as a tie-in to its line of jet boats.

Interior

  • Diamond-shaped seating layout
  • Driver controls are orange
  • Wood flooring
2017 Yamaha Cross Hub Concept Interior
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Diamond-shaped seating layout
The interior has a diamond-shaped layout with the driver in the middle, almost like the McLaren F1

As unconventional as the exterior is, things remain just as strange inside the Cross Hub Concept. The interior has a diamond-shaped layout with the driver in the middle, almost like the McLaren F1 but with an extra seat behind the driver. A U-shaped steering wheel wrapped in orange suede matches the orange driver’s seat and gauge cluster binnacle. The small screens on the dash display vehicle info and entertainment features, while the digital dash gives the driver an unobstructed view of vital stats. The orange, gray, and black interior also has aluminum fixtures like the door pulls, foot pedals, and dash supports. And like the cargo bed, the floor is wood.

Though it’s not the most practical interior ever conceived, it is certainly interesting and a big departure from anything we’ve recently seen. You’ve got to give Yamaha credit for that.

Drivetrain

  • Likely powered by four-cylinder engine
  • Most likely 4WD
  • Turbocharged
2017 Yamaha Cross Hub Concept Drawings
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There is no mention of what powers this Yamaha

Sadly, Yamaha did not make mention of the Cross Hub Concept’s drivetrain – likely because this is merely a design concept. Should something this size actually make production, Yamaha should be fully capable of designing and building its own drivetrain components. A turbocharged four-cylinder would do the trick nicely, so Yamaha could easily massage and tweak one of its many engines to fit the bill. The Cross Hub looks like it would be 4WD. Developing that system shouldn’t be harder than beefing up the 4WD systems it uses on its side-by-side UTVs. We’d bet on front-mounted, transverse four-cylinder with at least a six-speed automatic transmission and 4WD or AWD. Perhaps a hybrid powertrain could be added, too, though that would be new ground for Yamaha engineers.

Conclusion

2017 Yamaha Cross Hub Concept Exterior
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We’ve seen some strange concept vehicles over the years, but none seem as outlandish as this – especially considering it comes from a company that doesn’t build road-going cars or pickups. Yamaha is well known for being an ultra-diverse company, having its fingers in just about everything imaginable, so it’s not surprising to see the company think about a utilitarian, compact pickup made to transport its other products.

If Yamaha can make professional-level musical instruments, jet boats, and UTVs, it can surely make a truck. Of course, getting into the pickup wars isn’t an easy thing to do, especially in North America. As such, Yamaha might stick to Asian or European markets with the Cross Hub – should it even produce it in the first place.

What do you think? Should Yamaha build the Cross Hub? What do you think of the design? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Leave it
    • * Very outlandish
    • * No powertrain details
    • * Not likely to happen

References

Yamaha Sports Ride Coupe Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2015 Yamaha Sports Ride Coupe Concept.

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

Press release

Introducing the CROSS HUB CONCEPT, a new “lifestyle car” to load up the fun and link the outdoors to the city.

What would make a car uniquely Yamaha? Yamaha designs and builds all kinds of mobility products for a variety of fields of recreation, from motorcycles and bicycles to marine products and more. The “CROSS HUB CONCEPT” model was born of the desire to interconnect those many forms of fun. By bringing together and fusing some of the possibilities presented by our diverse mobility portfolio, a new take on the unique style of Yamaha was born.

The point we focused on was making everything “just the right size.” This meant finding a body size suitable for use either on- or off-road while being maneuverable in the city, and still having sufficient utility to transport other Yamaha recreational products.

In order to create a cabin seating four adults as well as a rear cargo bed that could carry up to two motorcycles, we adopted a unique process for the design and development that focused on extensive experimentation and testing of the overall package before moving to the vehicle’s styling. That was what led to the innovative diamond-shaped cabin layout. It positions the driver’s seat forward in the middle with the passenger seats surrounding it from behind, thus enabling a compact vehicle size still providing the desired cabin space and rear cargo bed capacity.

Yamaha’s “Elementalism” design approach was taken to a new level of evolution with the bold layout of the cabin, tough-looking body surfaces and the robust frame permeating the vehicle. The materials used for finer design details were also given a uniquely Yamaha character, like the wood paneling inspired by the look and feel of our boat decks.

Yamaha’s aim with the CROSS HUB CONCEPT was for it to be a “hub” connecting the multifaceted lifestyles as well as the different values people hold, linking open fields with busy urban streets, and the “active and energetic” with “premium and relaxed.”

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