Motoring: Visionary concepts in Tokyo

Mitsubishi is to relaunch the Mirage nameplate in the form of a small car that replaces the current Colt hatchback and will unveil the new model at the Tokyo motor show later this month.

And Suzuki is following a similar course with plans to unveil three concept cars there, including a new compact hatch called the Regina.

The Mitsubishi nameplate was last used on three- and five-door models here in the 1980s, when the car was one of the country's best sellers.

The new five-door hatchback packs a 1-litre three-cylinder engine with stop/start and a continuously variable transmission.

Joining the new Mirage on the Mitsubishi stage will be the Concept PX-MiEV II, a plug-in hybrid crossover that joins the i-MiEV electric car and the Minicab-MiEV light-duty commercial vehicle in an expanding portfolio of electric vehicles.

A 2-litre four-cylinder engine is coupled to a pair of 60kW electric motors to drive all four wheels through the Lancer Evo's S-AWC traction system to deliver comparable power to a 3-litre V6 while offering improved emissions and fuel consumption figures.

In addition to the usual battery-only and internal combustion generator modes, the PX-MiEV II also enables outdoorsy types to run portable appliances off the vehicle's battery packs.

Suzuki's Regina is a vivid green small car which is said to show the company's vision for a compact hatch.

It will also show off the Swift EV Hybrid, which features a range-extending hybrid engine, and a two-seater city car called the Q-concept.

The Regina weighs just 730kg, has a small-capacity petrol engine, semi-covered rear wheels and flush alloys to aid aerodynamics, and a sleek, almost Citroen-style shape.

Suzuki says the Regina has a drag co-efficient 10 per cent lower than Clockwise from top left; Mitsubishi Mirage, Honda EV, Honda AC-X and Mitsubishi's Concept PX-MiEV II.The Suzuki Q-concept is a Renault Twizy-style electric tandem quadracycle. It is said to be ideal for journeys of around 10km.conventional hatchbacks. As a result, it claims fuel economy for the car of 3.2 litres/100km (88mpg) and CO2 exhaust emissions of 70gr/km.

The Swift EV Hybrid features an engine-driven generator and Suzuki claims it can be driven for between 20 and 30km on electric power alone.

The Suzuki Q-concept is a Renault Twizy-style electric tandem quadracycle. It is expected to be battery powered and is said to be ideal for journeys of around 10km.

Although it is only 2.5m long, it can be configured with an adult seat in the front and a two-child rear seat or instead with a rear storage area.

On Honda's stand will be the Small Sports EV Concept and the AC-X sedan.

Possibly previewing the next-generation S2000 sports car, the EV Concept is a compact mid-engine two-seater that has been branded by Honda as a "next-generation compact EV sports model", suggesting it will inspire a production model.

The AC-X is the five-door family car of the future. It features a plug-in hybrid powertrain, with an "engine drive mode" for enthusiastic driving, or an "automatic drive mode" for more relaxed journeys.

Bringing up the rear is the Micro Commuter Concept - a tiny electric city car that bears a passing resemblance to the Nissan Pivo 3 concept, also set to make its debut in Tokyo.

Slotted inside is a detachable two-wheel EV called the Motor Compo, which features a detachable battery that can used as a power source for other tasks in everyday life.

- Hamilton News

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