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10/25/03-11/05/03 **** LESS WACKY AND MORE GREEN

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Oct 26, 2003

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


By Contributing Editors CHRISTOPHER MERLO and CHUCK DAPOZ Photos by JAMES KUBIK and CHUCK DAPOZ 2003 Tokyo Motor Show - Part 2B Japanese Big 3


Nissan Effis It is said that good things come in small packages. Meet Effis, an urban commuter car concept that seeks to be good to the environment and city congestion. Less than 10 feet long, it is a R&D project to explore the application of an ultra-small, lightweight fuel cell design. Powered by the newly developed Super Motor and compact lithium-ion battery with a fuel cell stack, this concept vehicle demonstrates Nissan's continuing commitment to both the environment and future needs. Both the fuel cells and battery are located under the floor, a design solution that frees interior space while maintaining an overall package that is compact. Another innovative feature is an interior that can be reconfigured to accommodate from one to three-and-a-half passengers. With just one person on board - the driver - the rotational instrument panel extends into the front passenger space to provide a side table for the driver. With two people, the instrument is pushed forward and the rear seatback is folded down to create a luggage area. To seat three people, the instrument panel is pushed forward even more, the passenger seat slides forward, and the rear seat back is raised for the third passenger. Additional room remains behind the driver's seat for either an adult of small stature or a child. NISSAN FUGA

Nissan Fuga Fuga hints at Nissan's new direction in luxury cars by extension the Infiniti line. (The Infiniti brand is not marketed in Japan). Built on the rear-wheel-drive platform known as the FM (Front Midship) Package - the same used on the Nissan Z and Infiniti G35 models - the Fuga's long wheelbase makes for a roomy interior. The flow of the Fuga's sleek streamlined exterior suggests sporty performance while its high roofline makes for ease of entry and exit. Look for it to be sold next fall as the successor to today's Infiniti M45, making it a true competitor to the BMW 5 Series. NISSAN C-NOTE

Nissan C-Note C-Note is another small car study that may well be the new shape and package of future compacts at Nissan. The four-light greenhouse emphasizes the roominess of the interior. Indeed, the "C" is for comfort in both interior space and amenities. The high roofline and suitable hip point make for ease of entry and exit.


Nissan Cube3 + Conran & Partners Looking to explore new design themes for the Cube3 (Cube Cubic) - a three-row, seven-passenger minicar - Nissan collaborated with world-renowned design studio of Conran & Partners to create the Cube3 + Conran & Partners. The result is a fusion of East and West - the calm of the Shadow Grey exterior gives way to the lively and intense DD Red color of the interior. Another Conran design theme is the circle as seen in the grille, turn signal lights and wheel covers. On the inside, the circle theme is applied to the air vents, shift lever, speaker grille and steering wheel. TOYOTA FINE-N

Toyota Fine-N The Toyota Fine-N (Fuel cell INnovative Emotion-Next generation) is similar to General Motors' Hy-wire, with the fuel stacks and other system components, such as a high-pressure hydrogen tank, spread out under the vehicle. This lowers the center of gravity and allows for a flat interior floor. With a long wheelbase and short overhangs, the Fine-N is as long as a Corolla yet offers more interior space than a Lexus LS 430. Four in-wheel motors - each producing 34 hp and 81 lb-ft - require no mechanical linkages. Steering is drive-by-wire. A driver authentication and personalization system uses face-recognition technology to unlock the car. With the owner in the driver's seat, fastening the seat belt automatically adjusts the driving position, including pedals, steering wheel, A/C and even audio system settings. TOYOTA NLSV

Toyota NLSV The Toyota NLSV (New-Life Support Vehicle) is a small, two-door, five-passenger car with minivan-like features. It has a flat floor just 13 inches from the ground and a high ceiling, giving enough room for a bike standing up. On the driver's side is a conventional door. On the passenger side is a large, wireless electric sliding door. The interior gives a sense of spaciousness because of a glass roof, and the front passenger seat slides all the way back to the rear seat. The engine is a 1.3L in-line four. TOYOTA SU-HV1

Toyota SU-HV1 (hybrid) The Toyota SU-HV1 is a five-passenger hybrid SUV - an update of the one shown earlier this year at the New York Auto Show - and we assume it's a preview of the hybrid Lexus RX 330 scheduled for introduction in August next year. A 3.3L V6 produces 200 hp, coupled with a 160-hp front electric motor and a 67-hp rear electric motor. Toyota's Vehicle Dynamics Management coordinates control of the hybrid system as well as an electronically controlled brake system, yielding a total output of about 270 hp, compared with 230 hp for the RX on the road today. Wheels are 20-inch aluminum, compared with 17-inch wheels on the current RX. TOYOTA CROWN

Toyota Crown Concept For nearly 50 years, the Crown has been Toyota's top-of-the-line luxury model in Japan. The Crown Concept represents a radical shift, from conservative to sporty. Under the hood is a new 3L V6 with a six-speed sequential shift transmission. Safety features include Lane-Keeping Assistance, which adjusts steering to keep the car in its intended lane, radar cruise control and a radar-based Pre-Crash Safety System that automatically brakes and tightens the seatbelts in anticipation of a collision. Toyota calls the Crown Concept the ideal for a next-generation luxury sedan. TOYOTA PM (Reviewed in the introduction under Most-Notable Vehicles)

Tokyo Part 3: Other Japanese brands Daihatsu D-Bone (660 cc mini engine) Daihatsu ai (660 cc mini engine) Daihatsu UFE-II (660 cc mini engine) Daihatsu XL-C (660 cc mini engine) Daihatsu E3 (660 cc mini engine) Daihatsu Mira Selfmatic (660 cc mini engine) Mazda Ibuki Mazda Roadster Turbo Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE (hydrogen engine) Mitsubishi SE-RO (660 cc mini engine)

Tokyo Part 3B: Other Japanese brands Mitsubishi CZ2 Cabriolet Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR Suzuki Mobile Terrace (fuel cell) Subaru B9 Scrambler (hybrid) Subaru R2 (660 cc mini engine) Suzuki Concept-S2 Subaru R1e (electric) Suzuki S-Ride (660 cc mini engine) Suzuki Landbreeze (hybrid) Suzuki Twin my style

Tokyo Part 4: Non-Japanese brands Hyundai NEOS-II (Mercedes-Benz F 500 Mind is reviewed in the introduction under Most-Notable Vehicles) Jeep Treo (fuel cell or hybrid)

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