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By definition, a concept car is a prototype vehicle made to showcase radical new technology and design. They are exhibited at motor shows to elicit (and gauge) critic and consumer reaction which may or may not equate the vehicle being mass-produced in the future.
The most recent run of international auto shows unveiled some pretty cool Toyota concepts. In fact, Toyota has long been known for delivering the most eye-catching technological marvels in concept car history. Seemingly whimsical and out of this world, some will serve as nothing more than eye-candy and inspiration, while others may line our dealership lot either in the next decade or beyond. Today, we take you into the future with a look at some of the top Toyota concepts in recent memory.
The ski-like experience comes from the independently synchronized (up and down / left and right movement) front wheels that respond to the driver's steering. The electric vehicle automatically selects the optimal lean angle when cornering and the result is a sense of being at one with the machine. The ultra compact (870mm wide) body enables handling in confined spaces and provides the convenience of a motorcycle or scooter when it comes to navigating lanes, parking, and storage. With Toyota currently promoting the vehicle as "an icon of Toyota's future" we an only draw the conclusion that the i-Road will be seen in the very near future, on a road near you.
The "FT" stands for Future Toyota and the acronym is an apt one. Unveiled at the 2014 North American International Auto Show, the FT-1 immediately drew comparisons from predecessor concepts such as the FT-HS in addition to the Supra. The front engine rear-wheel drive 2-door sports coupe is a pure performance, track-focused sports car. It's gorgeous, but does it look even more familiar? Well, this is where concept becomes a reality because there is no denying the similarity between the FT-1 and the recent Scion FR-S coupe transition into the 2017 Toyota 86. Will we ever see the fruition of a true FT-1 on the mass market? With Toyota asking you to sign-up for FT-1 updates one can only assume that we haven't heard the last of this fast lane concept car.
Let's kill the suspense right here and now. Toyota has promised the CH-R for production and is now in Toyota Canada's Future Vehicles line-up. The unique 2-door compact crossover SUV was unveiled as a concept car at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, followed up with an updated version at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show and appeared again at the 2015 LA Auto Show. With the CH-R quite possibly becoming a reality in 2017, we'll let the video below do the talking. Be sure to tell your friends you found out about the CH-R first, and right here.
Ever wish you could drive your mobile device? The iiMo may be the closest thing to doing so, touted by Toyota as a "smartphone on four wheels". The iiMo was first introduced at the 2011 Toyota Motor Show and known as the Fun-vii. It then evolved into the Toyota diji at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, and received yet another upgrade and name change at the next Paris Motor Show to the iiMo, a moniker that remains today.
Aside from its cruisy get-low appearance, the other thing that makes the iiMo stand out is customizable tech. The interior colors of the iiMo alter to suit the driver's mood creating a mobile mood ring of sorts. In fact, the entire exterior of the car can be used to digitally display a design of choice. Navigational assistance is provided by a custom 3D avatar that is projected from the dashboard. And of course, most of the wirelessly charged electric vehicle's features can be controlled by a smartphone. Once again, only a video can truly convey this futuristic Toyota vehicle.
Last but not least is the most recently released (2015 Tokyo Motor Show and 2016 NAIAS) Toyota concept car. The Kikai makes a statement. Contrary to the sleek iPhone-esque surface of the iiMo, the Kikai bucks the trend of hiding technology behind a glossy surface. Reminiscent of a Kustom Kulture rat rod the Kikai's machinery is displayed on the outside of the vehicle for all to see. It's as if Toyota is emphasizing the fundamentals, the tried and true technology that actually makes cars function. In a day where it's so easy to get caught up in all of the bells and whistles Toyota has taken a stance with this concept to remind us all what it truly means to drive.