2015 Suzuki Mighty Deck Concept
The Tokyo Motor Show is one of the more entertaining in the automotive world. The show concentrates primarily on the Japanese domestic market, so although the cars shown there might not be especially relevant to the rest of the world, they are a great way to see something different from the kinds of concepts that we’ll be seeing, say, at the Detroit Auto Show. We also get to see some cars from manufacturers that sell cars in North America, of which Suzuki is now one. The carmaker will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020, and it brought a handful of concepts to the Tokyo show what is planned for the next 100 years.
One of these is the Mighty Deck concept, a utilitarian supermini named for its useful, if quite small, rear deck. The name and design of the car are heavily influenced by the old Suzuki Mighty Boy, a hilariously named kei car built from 1983 to 1988. The design was updated, and a substantial amount of wood was added inside and out, but it is obvious where the idea came from. The Mighty Boy was never a huge success, hence the short production life, but there was a charm to it, and in turn to the new Mighty Deck.
Continue reading to learn more about the Suzuki Mighty Deck Concept.
2015 Suzuki Mighty Deck Concept
0-60 time:12 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:85 mph (Est.)
The Mighty Deck stays truer to the original design than most retro concepts. The ’80s boxiness of the Mighty Boy has been softened a bit, and LED lighting is now used for the exterior, but the shape is practically identical, including the big, flying buttress-type C-pillars. Where the old car was cheap to the point of being aggressively so, the concept includes a number of pricier touches.
It was built to conform to Japan's kei car standards
The most obvious of these is the wood used in several sections, including the deck. The deck also has an automatic raise/lower function, something you definitely wouldn’t have found on the Mighty Boy. There is also a retractable cloth roof, and although this isn’t a terribly expensive touch, it is still new for the concept. The car is obviously very small, just as the original one was. This is because it was built to conform to Japan’s kei car standards, a set of rules for a small class of city vehicles that receive a much lower pricing for insurance and taxes than bigger vehicles.
As vehicles have become more fuel efficient, kei car regulations have allowed for bigger vehicles, and the Mighty Deck could quite possibly be bigger than the Mighty Boy was, although not by a whole lot. The car is still likely to only be about as wide as a Smart ForTwo, but regulations will allow it to be as much as three feet longer.
Since there are very serious weight limitations for kei cars, the interiors tend to be incredibly simple and basic. This is true of the Mighty Deck as well, but there are some cool concept-y touches to it too. For starters, there is a ton of wood. It’s used on the top of the dash in such a way that it resembles a boat deck. It adds to the deck-ness from which the car takes its name, and it really looks pretty good.
The two-tiered dash is something that Honda tried to mixed reviews in the past
It’s unlikely to ever see production even if Suzuki decides to build the car, but it’s a nice look for the concept. The two-tiered dash is something that Honda tried to mixed reviews in the past, but Suzuki committed to the idea more fully, and here it completely replaces the usual gauge cluster. It’s less busy here, and blends with the rest of the dash design better, but it will still no doubt find detractors.
The center stack is a high tech bit of concept design. It appears to be plausible as a functional part of a production car, but also surely be quite expensive for a kei car.
Suzuki didn’t include any drivetrain details for the Mighty Deck, but there are some educated guesses that can be made. A lot of concepts these days are electric, and what with Suzuki promoting this as a plausible production vehicle for the future, that would be a pretty logical choice. The problem with the electric drivetrain is that batteries are very heavy, and with the weight restrictions for kei cars, it would be impossible to fit a battery pack that would allow for much of a range at all.
It is possible that the Mighty Deck isn’t really a kei car, and only looks like one because of the retro styling borrowed from the Mighty Boy, and an electric drivetrain is still a possibility. But that’s pretty unlikely; a kei car is much more about necessity than fashion statement. So with current kai car regulations, that means an engine displacing no more than 660cc and producing no more than 63 horsepower. It’s true that it wouldn’t weigh any more than 771 pounds, but it’s still not going to be the most exciting car of all time to drive.
The Mighty Boy might never have been much of a success in Japan, but it still has some pretty die-hard fans. These fans would no doubt be overjoyed if Suzuki decided to put this concept into production, and the updates look good enough that it might even be a hit this time. On the other had, it is widely believed that it wasn’t a lack of charm that held the original back, but rather a lack of usefulness. Sadly the concept isn’t much of an improvement in this area. Still, it looks cool and a lot of the design touches are things that it would nice to see on other cars, say something we can have in North America.