11 of the coolest cars at Japan Mobility Show

24th October 2023
Russell Campbell

The Japan Mobility Show is as we write yet to open its doors to the public, but many of its secrets have been spilled ahead of time. This year at what once was known as the Tokyo Motor Show, we get a look at how the next Nissan GT-R might look, as well as Mazda's next rotary sportscar, the next Toyota MR2 and many more stunning machines. Are we on the cusp of another golden era of Japanese performance cars? Let's hope so.


1. Daihatsu Vision Copen

Although we've imported plenty, the Daihatsu Copen could be one of the most recognisable current sportscars never to be sold in the UK officially. While the old model was a tiny front-wheel-drive Kei car designed to sidestep heavy taxes, the concept car seen here is actually closer to a Mazda MX-5 in size.

Like the Mazda, the Vision Copen is rear-wheel drive, while the Kei car's 658cc engine makes way for a 'meatier' 1.3-litre motor better suited to hauling along the bulkier new model.


2. Daihatsu Me:MO Concept

As well as being incredibly cute, the Daihatsu Me:MO Concept is an electric-powered Kei car that measures less than 3,000mm long and 2,955mm wide. Its modular design means the car's exterior and interior can be adapted to suit its owner's changing life and circumstances. 


3. Honda CI-MEV 

The Honda CI-MEV is a small two-seater electric city car that makes a Smart ForTwo look like the kind of hulking great SUV. It's supposed to offer 'Last Mile Mobility' from your home to a transport hub where you can continue your journey. 

Its tiny size means it'll be highly mobile, easy to park, and – if everyone had one – could free up huge swathes of parking on our city streets. It also has an autonomous mode that can deal with the cut and thrust of city driving.


4. Honda Prelude Concept

Based on little teasers and hints found in Honda's teaser media, we all thought an NSX was coming. For the moment, it seems we were wrong. With all our sights on that, we were completely blindsided by of all things, a new Prelude... Yup, the svelte Honda coupe that's been on the bench for over two decades has been exhumed, as an all-electric coupe. It looks just as elegant for 2024 as it did back in the 1990s. More at this link.


5. Honda Sustania-C Concept

The Honda Sustania-C Concept could easily be mistaken for being a Honda e with a bright new paint job, but, for once, the story here isn't the car but its construction – the majority of it is made from acrylic resin that’s recycled. 

"Resource circulation" is the idea, meaning that the acrylic resin can be used for one product before being recycled and reused for another, making the Sustania-C, as its name alludes, completely sustainable. 


6. Mazda Iconic SP Concept

Mazda dropped the ultimate crowd-pleaser for Tokyo with the Iconic SP Concept, a futuristic sportscar with timeless curves and get this, a rotary engine. *Everyone liked that*. It is a bit different to RXs of yore, though, with a two-rotor that doesn't power the wheels. It's there as a generator, charging a battery that powers an electric motor. The production car is due to split the difference between the MX-5 and RX-7 as a successor to both, offering more power but still being compact and light. For an R-EV, 1,450kg sounds pretty light to us. The only issue? On the insude, no manual shifter. A shame but what a gorgeous thing all the same. More details here.


7. Nissan Hyper Force Concept

In among the weird Nissan Hyper concepts at Tokyo was something with some familiar cues. The Hyper Force Concept is a low-slung coupe with a big wing, a 'floating roof' and circular rear lights. Could this herald the coming of another GT-R, the R36? Quite possibly. This car for all its nods to the GT-R is quite an extravagant and futuristic design. We expect the production car to be calmed down a bit. We also expect the real thing to be a V6 hybrid rather than an all-electric monster with a solid state battery and 1,370PS, as seen here. Still, cool to see the GT-R badge isn't being left to wither... Learn all there is to know about the Hyper Force Concept here.


8. Subaru Sport Utility concept

Subaru has used the Japan show to reveal its Sport Utility concept. It's a two-door electric coupe with LED headlights and a light-up badge. What's less clear is, well, everything else.

The Sport Utility evokes the "pleasure of going anywhere, anytime and driving at will in everyday to extraordinary environments", so says Subaru. So yes, like that STI that rumbles through your highstreet at annoying-oclock in the morning, this is all-wheel-drive. What it isn't, is flat-four powered.


9. Toyota Kayoibako minivan

The Toyota Kayoibako gets its name from the world of shipping, so we shouldn't be surprised it looks like a four-wheeled shipping container, albeit, an adorable one. Like many of the machines here, the Kayoibako is a mobility solution for people who don't have the space needed for a full-sized equivalent.

The Kayoibako's secret is its configurable interior that allows you to transform it from load-lugger to people-mover with relative ease. It's another EV designed to deliver last-mile mobility.


10. Toyota FT-Se concept

With Honda, Mazda and Nissan giving us looks at new sportscars that'll carry famous name tags of the past, Toyota was keen to get in on the action with this FT-se concept – better known, if Japan’s automotive media is right, as the new MR2. Toyota is banking all on new platforms and battery tech that will allow more range and lighter weight, which both lend themselves well to a revival of its daintiest sportscar for the electric age. More details here.


11. Lexus LF-ZC

The Lexus LF-ZC previews a new BEV. Its styling is striking but also very aerodynamic. At the same time, inside, you'll find an infotainment-heavy interior with AI-powered voice activation that can do clever stuff like predict your requests before you make them. How? We're unsure... The LF-ZC gets a next-generation high-density battery, which should be good for around 500 miles between charges, plus you get all-wheel drive and steer-by-wire. The saloon will arrive in showrooms in 2026.

  • Road

  • News

  • Daihatsu

  • Honda

  • Mazda

  • Nissan

  • Subaru

  • Toyota

  • NSX

  • MX-5

  • MR2

  • List

  • Japan Mobility Show 2023

  • 2024_mazda_mx5_miata_goodwood_japanmobilityshow_25102023_list.jpg


    Evergreen Mazda MX-5 updated for 2024

  • mazda_iconic_sp_concept_japan_mobility_25102023_list.jpg


    Mazda Iconic SP Concept heralds the return of the rotary sportscar

  • daihatsu-x-021-1991-main-goodwood-19042019.jpg


    Axon’s Automotive Anorak: The eight best Daihatsu concept cars