Our Favorite from the Tokyo Motor Show was not Japanese (GALLERY)

Renault DeZir - AkihabaraNews.com

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A bit of a surprise, we felt; not a whole lotta design risks being taken at this year's show. The dominant themes were connectivity amongst a range of eco/green vehicles, and correspondingly, most of the cars seemed a version of a semi-morphed, slightly squeezed or widened Prius; or too close to a racecar to be practical; or very small with questionable utility.

Tokyo Motor Show: Video from GaijinPot, Photos from AkihabaraNews 

Now, that's not to diminish the slick sexyness of our winner, but as concept cars go, there wasn't a lot of inspiration to be found at this year's show. Taken in sum, among the hybrids, among the all-electrics, with the Toyota-powered high-grade melodrama pushing beleaguered promises of the hydrogen auto, and all the one-person commuters intended for nobody knows whom, the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show was, this is the word: sober.

And that's okay, because by and large it was a beautiful spectacle and a great experience for all ages. Of course there were the cars, bikes, and big trucks, a wide range of auto-related peripheral tech, there was an array of small auto startups (e.g., Terra Motors), and the ambitious Smart Mobility City was doing the whole future-projection stuff. In very subdued tones, that is. But, there was a standout, and it was so both for it being a conspicuously unique vehicle itself, and also because it was French!

GPod Episode #3: Two Technodorky Guys Walk into the Tokyo Motor Show...

Our Favorite: the Renault DeZir All-Electric Concept Car - Local Gallery - Full-Res at Flickr
Looking a whole lot like the Matrix's red pill, with doors that are just totally bananas, the lovely & sensual, all electric, fantastically impractical Renault DeZir was our favorite car of the show. That this car is actually three years old... well, that should sorta reinforce the above point on the show's aggressive mundanity.

The thing is, no other vehicle so stirred a familiar yet long-dormant childhood wonder - something quite different from the mid-level executive's joy at finally getting that Porsche. See, this thing looks like a spaceship on wheels, the seats look like they might try to romance you, and the doors are ridiculous; yet, as was so much more possible as children, our suspension of disbelief kicks in upon first glance. Win.

Where are the specs? Well, no, we don't even really care about the performance and battery and all that. Renault's very competent, so undoubtedly it's all good. This selection is much more about aesthetics, and heart, and risk, all with hints of practicality (take note, Nissan, with your probably undrivable wedgie BladeGlider).

Renault S.A.
Although Renault is not well-known in Japan or North America, it's actually the 9th largest automaker in the world; when combined with Japanese wondertwin Nissan, they form the 4th largest auto group on the planet. Here's what they have to say about the DeZir:

“DeZir stands out as an illustration of the brand's commitment to more emotional styling. DeZir's sensuous lines and bright red finish express passion. Powered by an electric motor, DeZir is proof that environmental concern and a love for cars are by no means incompatible.

This approach coincides with the introduction of a new Renault design language that takes its inspiration from the three keywords which communicate the brand's vision, namely "simple," "sensuous.' and 'warm'."

Okay, whatever - nice marketing speak. We just like you concept car. We made galleries. Click through for the shiny!

See AkihabaraNews' full-res DeZir gallery on Flickr:

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Images: Reno J. Tibke

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