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Suzuki Rolls Out Fanciful Concepts

Wild and traditional -- Suzuki goes both directions in Tokyo.

Suzuki was a late arrival in the U.S. market, and it’s found the going rough at times. But in Japan, it plays a larger role, always presenting interesting -- even whimsical -- concept cars at the Tokyo show.

This year is no exception. The two-seat Suzuki Q-Concept and the Suzuki Regina are the most recent examples. About as tall as it is long and as narrow as a three-wheel motorcycle, the Q-Concept has space for two, but they don’t sit side-by-side: The driver is in the front seat and the passenger is in the back. That arrangement might seem a bit funky, but the car’s semicircular swing-up doors give plenty of access to the futuristic interior, even when it’s parked close to other vehicles. The cockpit is simple, colorful and highlighted by the use of the driver’s smartphone as the key display on the instrument panel. That allows software to be updated simply by updating apps.

The Suzuki Regina offers a refreshingly traditional look that’s miles apart from the Q-Concept, and its exterior styling shows, oddly, French influences. One could imagine it bearing a Peugeot or Citroen badge instead of Suzuki. Much closer to production than the Q-Concept, it has voluptuous curves that offer rigidity to its lightweight body. Powered by a turbocharged 800cc direct-injection gasoline engine mated to a CVT transmission, the Regina promises to be more fun to drive than the typical Japanese minicar.



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