Japan Mobility Show 2023 - Top 5 Concept Car Highlights

Lionel Kong
Japan Mobility Show 2023

CarBuyer Singapore checks out the sights at Tokyo Big Sight, the site of Japan’s first major automotive show since Covid-19 put things on pause after 2019


First up, the traditional Tokyo Motorshow has been renamed. Gone is the motor-only aspect, and it’s no longer just about Tokyo. To emphasise that it’s about all types of self-propelled vehicles, the 11-day, multi-hall exhibition of new cars and automotive concepts is now called the Japan Mobility Show. It runs from 26th October 2023 to 5th November 2023, and here’s a recap of what we think are the most interesting concept cars to roll out, and this time it’s a show filled with them. 

Lexus LF-ZC

Japan Mobility Show 2023

Like its distant Toyota cousin the BZ4X, the Lexus LF-ZC features a name that’s a jumble of letters that this time stands for Lexus Future Zero emission Catalyst. The concept car itself is a lot sleeker than its name, and is expected to move on to a series production version in 2026.

As is expected at this stage, little is know about the car’s possible drivetrain, but is said that it will use a further evolution of the Lexus RZ450e’s electric all-wheel drive system. It’s part of the brand’s gradual step towards a fully electric lineup by 2035, and it’s been revealed that the brand intends to have the series production version be fitted with next-generation prismatic batteries.

This, in theory, should give the cars a range of approximately 1,000km per charge.

As a concept car it features many design elements that we think will stay as concepts for now, including the fact that many of the vehicle’s functions are consolidated into digital touchpads. Meanwhile, the front passenger gets a separate digital display for entertainment and applications directly in front of them, similar to the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53’s massive hyper screen.

Mazda Iconic SP Concept

Japan Mobility Show 2023

The automotive world may have almost all gone EV-crazy, but Mazda is showing that it has lost none of its mojo with the sleek two-seater sports coupe concept. It features an interior built with sustainable and recycled materials like in the series production MX-30. However, the powerplant is all ICE with a twin rotary engine and a claimed power output of 370 horsepower.

The engine can use carbon neutral fuel, but the Mazda design team is tight-lipped on whether or not the concept has been developed to work with a hybrid or electric powertrain in mind.

Japan Mobility Show 2023

What is clear is that the car carries many intentional design callbacks to classic Mazda sports cars like the Cosmo Sport, RX-7, and RX-8. This includes the slimline pop-up headlights, something that used to be seen in almost every 1980s sports car before rising pedestrian safety standards pushed them to extinction. Mazda says that the Iconic SP features them in a low profile configuration and is working to see if this can be safely made on a series production vehicle. Still, considering how the old RX-8 coupe made it to production with very little change to the concept, the Iconic SP could be a strong indication of something brewing at Mazda. 

Japan Mobility Show 2023

Nissan Hyper Force Concept 

Japan Mobility Show 2023

You can say it, beneath the dramatic Gundam mecha lines of this concept is the genesis of the next-generation Nissan GT-R. This EV concept is the high point of Nissan’s series of five all-electric Hyper concept cars, and claims a power output of 1,341 horsepower (1,000kW) with a solid-state battery, all-wheel drive, and a lightweight body made of high-strength carbon.

It’s all just an idea at the moment so Nissan can quote whatever radical figure it wants for now, but it also states that the car’s target audience are “racing enthusiasts and gamers who crave the adrenaline rush of the racetrack but are also eco-conscious.”

A car for the gaming age, then.

Japan Mobility Show 2023

We also need to remember that the present-generation Nissan GT-R went through more than one concept design cycle before arriving at series production, so even though this concept car has clear GT-R inspired design cues it may not be the basis for the next-gen Nissan GT-R.

Suzuki Swift Concept

Japan Mobility Show 2023

It’s called a concept, but this is practically the next-generation Suzuki Swift. Suzuki has alway been very efficient with its concept designs, as seen in many of its cars including the Suzuki Swift from the last two generations. Those had concepts that almost translated directly into the series production car and we can expect more of the same this time.

It’s expected to go into production in early 2024, but the powertrain options have not yet been confirmed. Historically the Suzuki Swift has always been a very versatile car going from basic runabouts to the fun little Swift Sport, so this is likely to go on sale with a variety of petrol and mild hybrid powertrains depending on which country it is being sold in.

Toyota Kayoibaiko Concept

Japan Mobility Show 2023

As expected, Toyota arrived at the Japan Mobility Show with plenty to roll out. The Kayoibaiko, or KB concept, is part MPV, van, campervan, family transport all into one package. An EV that uses a modular, configurable body, it can form the basis of many styles of vehicle.

Toyota states that the car “embodies a mobility future with the freedom to lead the life you want, anywhere, anytime.”

Japan Mobility Show 2023

Toyota’s drive-by-wire Neo Steer system concept is making itself seen in a big way at the show with demonstration booths running Sony Playstation 5’s Gran Turismo 7 games. Inspired by motorcycle controls, the control system removes pedals from the car entirely, and uses control levers on the steering yoke to manage the brakes and motor power. The plan is to roll the system out on next-gen EVs, but will driving without pedals catch on with the mainstream public?


concept car japan mobility show Lexus concept EV mazda iconic sp Nissan Hyper Force suzuki swift toyota KB

About the Author

Lionel Kong

An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.

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