Advertisement
Opinion

'Mazda and Subaru do things differently - even bordering on the maverick'

The Japanese brands' determination leads to some fantastic cars, says Graham Hope

I’ve always enjoyed attending the Tokyo Motor Show. It’s a great chance for the Japanese brands to showcase their cars to a home audience – and there are two stands in particular I look forward to seeing. 

I’ve long had a soft spot for Mazda and Subaru, two of the smaller Japanese makers who have both demonstrated a desire to do things on their own terms that has bordered on the maverick at times. Successfully, too, as it’s led to some great cars, like the MX-5 and Impreza Turbo of the mid-nineties.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Best cars of the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show

At this year’s show, Mazda stole the headlines with the announcement of the return of the rotary engine in the RX-Vision concept. Yes, there are challenges to rotary power, not least making it more efficient, but speaking to design boss Ikuo Maeda and research and development chief Kiyoshi Fujiwara, I marvelled at their determination to overcome the obstacles and the sheer enthusiasm to retain what’s become a signature piece of technology for the firm.

I have little doubt that when the rotary engine does return in production form, it’ll be a thrilling success, and if it is housed in a body that resembles the seductive RX-Vision coupé, so much the better. 

Over at Subaru, there was another of its Viziv SUV concepts and a model that points to the next Impreza. In a chat with me, designer Hiroyuki Kobayashi on three occasions referred to the new Impreza as “solid” – an apt description for a smart-looking, but ultimately fairly generic hatchback. 

Tokyo Motor Show 2015: news round-up

Indeed, you could say the same of Subaru’s entire range – it’s serviceable, but lacking a little in star quality. The days when new Imprezas were keenly anticipated now seem a very distant memory.

Subaru might argue that this hasn’t hindered it – in the US, it’s enjoyed six years of record sales. But I for one would love a return of the quirkiness. Oh, for a Subaru that stirs the senses in quite the same way that the RX-Vision did in Tokyo last week.

What do you think about Mazda and Subaru's progress? Leave us a comment below!

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Greatest ever Mazda cars: classic and modern
Mazda

Greatest ever Mazda cars: classic and modern

We celebrate the Mazda's centenary by picking 10 hits from the Japanese firm's back catalogue
21 Jun 2020
What is Mazda SkyActiv?
Mazda CX-30 SkyActiv-X - front tracking
Mazda

What is Mazda SkyActiv?

We explain everything you need to know about Mazda’s SkyActiv range of engines, gearboxes and other technologies
24 Mar 2020
Subaru mysterious new concept electric SUV
Subaru EV concept
Subaru

Subaru mysterious new concept electric SUV

Subaru has revealed an unnamed concept SUV, which could be based on the brand’s forthcoming all-electric underpinnings
24 Jan 2020

Most Popular

New 2021 BMW iX3 SUV plugs in with 285 miles of electric power
BMW iX3

New 2021 BMW iX3 SUV plugs in with 285 miles of electric power

Electric version of popular X3 SUV lands next year with 150kW charging and long-distance efficiency promised
14 Jul 2020
New Peugeot 3008 could morph into a coupe-SUV in 2022
Peugeot 3008

New Peugeot 3008 could morph into a coupe-SUV in 2022

Peugeot’s next-generation 3008 looks set to receive a radical redesign in two years’ time, evolving into a style-focussed coupe-SUV
13 Jul 2020
Range Rover and Range Rover Sport get new straight-six diesel in 2021 update
Land Rover Range Rover

Range Rover and Range Rover Sport get new straight-six diesel in 2021 update

The Range Rover can now be specced with a new six-cylinder 48-volt mild-hybrid diesel engine and a choice of fresh special edition models
14 Jul 2020