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Toyota Unveils Hydrogen Car Concept, "Fun to Drive, Again" Concepts for Tokyo Motor Show

By Jacob Brown | November 04, 2013
Toyota is adamant that it's done with building boring transportation appliances. Mind you, this is a company that sells more boring transportation appliances than anyone else, overtaking General Motors as the world's largest automaker. But Toyota still sees room for innovation and improvement. And it sees room for fun again. Just unveiled are a hoard of Toyota concept vehicles slated for the Tokyo Motor Show that'll surely provoke a little more reaction than a snooze. From a first look of the concept version of the hydrogen-powered car that Toyota plans to sell in California in 2015 to a redux of the Toyota GT86 droptop, better known to you and me as the Scion FR-S, here's a quick rundown of what this automaker is unveiling at Tokyo's show that runs concurrently with the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Toyota FCV Concept We were hoping this car would have a name by now. Alas, the first saleable hydrogen-powered Toyota will simply be known as the FCV Concept when it hits Japan. We recently drove it as a powertrain mule and have a full First Drive review available at our Automobile Magazine sister site for your reading pleasure. Needless to say, we were impressed with it. Powered by a smaller, more efficient fuel cell stack than that of the one in the FCHV-adv Highlander, the car is compact in dimensions and shares a striking resemblance to the FCV-R concept car from two years ago. We don't expect it to change a whole lot in production form, which we should see at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Toyota FV2 Concept This standing car advances Toyota' s "fun-to-drive" philosophy that it hopes to illustrate. What you need to know about it: It's a connected car, so it's mean to interact with other vehicles on the road via radio signals to make sure you don't have issues with blind spots or at intersections. It also doesn't have a steering wheel. You control it with your "mind and your heart." Lean forward and the car goes forward. Lean left, and the car moves left. It just does that. Will something like this ever come to the U.S.? Probably not. But it might benefit people who need to figure out how to get around if they have a disability, or it could just be a fun alternative to the conventional car.
Japan Taxi Concept When we were in Japan a few weeks back, we got around with Nissan Cedric and Toyota Crown Deluxe taxicabs that were designed in the 1980s and had never really been updated much. They're relics, akin to the Ford Crown Victoria that was recently discontinued in the U.S. Toyota has recognized this and has pitched the Japan Taxi concept, which looks remarkably similar to the London taxis we all know and love. Powered by a liquid propane gas hybrid powertrain, the Japan Taxi Concept may eventually enter production as an alternative to the boxy barges Japan currently uses. It certainly couldn't hurt.
Toyota Voxy and Noah minivans While not going on sale in the U.S., these minivans show that Toyota isn't completely opposed to the idea of making hybrid minivans. Scheduled to go on sale in Japan early next year, the Voxy and Noah are wide-bodied, wheelchair accessible, and the first minivans designed specifically around carrying a hybrid powertrain. They will come with either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a 1.8-liter engine with hybrid propulsion, likely the same system from the Prius. We recently drove the Alphard hybrid minivan, which slots above these, and think that the powertrain makes sense. Whether or not it makes it here is up to 'Yota.
Toyota Aqua G Sports You know it as the Toyota Prius C, but in Japan, the little hybrid hatchback is known as the Toyota Aqua. Partnering with Toyota's in-house Gazoo Racing subsidiary, Toyota will be launching a production sports version of the Prius C for the Japanese market. While Toyota has not said whether it will become more powerful, it looks like the biggest changes to the G Sports will come by way of more aggressive styling and wheel and tire upgrades in addition to a sportier suspension. Since TRD already offers performance parts for the Prius in the U.S., we don't think it's too far of a stretch for the automaker to introduce hop-up parts for the smallest hybrid it sells in the States.
And the rest... We've driven the Toyota i-Road in Japan as well and will have a writeup on it coming shortly. Additionally, We've seen the Toyota FT-86 Open concept before, previewing a possible convertible version of the Scion FR-S. Both of these concepts are slightly reworked from the last time they hit the show circuit, indicating that Toyota is likely still working on making them viable for production. We can only hope. Source: Toyota