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Toyota's 2007 Tokyo treats

Published: 11 October 2007

Toyota Hi-CT Concept

It's that time again: the bi-annual Tokyo Motor Show kicks off on 24 October 2007, and we're being treated to a flood of teaser information from the Japanese manufacturers. The Japanese show always attracts some crazy cars, and it's built a reputation as one of the few shows where you see some properly out-there concept cars. Toyota won't disappoint this year... Just to whet your appetite, Toyota's theme this year is: Harmonious Drive – a New Tomorrow for People and the Planet. Hmm. Take the Hi-CT concept (above). It's an edgy urban vehicle, apparently, and is supermini sized at 3330mm long. Too mad for the road? Probably, but don't forget that boxy small cars like the Honda Element and Nissan Cube started life as motor show stoppers. The Hi-CT also packs in Toyota's latest plug-in hybrid know-how. The battery is slung under the floor, leaving the occupants sitting higher up for a better view out. And you get normal power points in the cabin, so your daughters can dry her hair on the way to the shops. Oh, and there's also a removable boot - the whole rear deck unhooks and can be used to store surfboards, bikes and other gear.

Toyota RiN Concept

The RiN is all about healthy living. That's why there's so much greenery and natural leaves in the publicity shot above, right? So there's a big emphasis on comfy seats that correct your posture, and the steering wheel reflects images to match your mood to soothe stressed drivers. Naturally, there's a humidifier and oxygen-level monitor to make sure you're breathing healthy air. Sound far flung? For sure. But don't forget that cabin filters and the pollen-cancelling devices would have sounded far-flung a few years back. Best bit about the RiN? Its styling is based on the tall-growing Yakusugi tree. Very natural. And the interior colour scheme is green and beige - to relax occupants. It even dips the headlights automatically if it detects other road users and pedestrians ahead. The RiN must be the most socially responsible car ever.

Toyota i-Real Concept

Take a deep breath, this is where it gets crazy. Yes - this is a motorised chair. And Toyota reckons it's likely to be built 'in the near future'. Yikes. Following off the back of the PM, the i-unit and i-swing, Toyota is serious about developing such personal mobility systems for lazy pedestrians. It's a three-wheeler (two up front, one at the back) and can adapt its wheelbase to take up less space in crowded shopping malls. When you're scooting along an empty street, it pivots longer to provide greater stability at higher speeds. At low, town speeds, the i-Real positions the rider at eye level of other pedestrians. Which sounds a shame, as you won't be able to hide from any mates you might bump into. Which apparently won't happen: the i-Real can detect any other people in your path and alerts you and them.

Toyota 1/X Concept

Crazy name, serious intent. The 1/X means it weighs a fraction of other vehicles in the class, apparently. Bristling with lightweight know-how, it tips the scales at just 420kg - about a third of the weight of the Prius. How so? Because the body is carbonfibre reinforced plastic. It too is a plug-in hybrid, and the petrol engine is even smaller, at just 500cc and can run on bioethanol or normal unleaded. It's all packaged under the rear seat, and it's rear-wheel drive which suggest that clean could also be fun. You can plug it in at home to charge, letting you travel further on electric-only power. Is the next Prius going to get even more interesting? Sounds like it will...

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet