Suzuki debuts a duo of too-cute concepts at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show

The world could use more cute cars -- and Suzuki delivers.

Craig Cole Former reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
Craig Cole
2 min read
Suzuki WAKU SPO concept
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Suzuki WAKU SPO concept

Retro? Good. Adorable? Also good.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

may no longer sell vehicles in North America (man, we wish the Jimny was still around), but it's still a significant player in the global automotive industry. The Japanese automaker, which makes cars, motorcycles, outboard boat engines and probably plenty of other things we're not even aware of, debuted two concept vehicles on Wednesday at the Tokyo Motor Show.

According to Suzuki, the theme of its display this year is, "Waku Waku Switch for Everyone: Excitement for you, excitement for everyone." Confused yet? So are we.

As for the actual concept vehicles that will be unveiled, the first one is called the Waku Spo. An A-segment two-door car with some cool retro touches, it's billed as a compact personal plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Its two-tone paint, fender-mounted side-view mirrors (though with this design study they more likely house cameras), nearly filled-in wheel faces and truncated rear make for an undeniably charming package. According to the announcement, "With this one car, the family can share fun and excitement across generations, for daily use as well as for pleasure."

The Waku Spo also features a body that can change shape, alter the front mask and even switch up the content shown on its dashboard. It can "transform to meet each and everyone's fun and excitement."

Suzuki's Waku Spo concept is retro cool

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Hanare is the name of the second design study Suzuki is showing in Tokyo, its name apparently meaning "detached cottage" in Japanese. It is, arguably, more interesting that the Waku Spo. Described as a self-driving mobile room, this autonomous vehicle prioritizes comfort and efficiency. Ostensibly, its interior is sprawl-out spacious.

Looking essentially like a box on wheels, this concept car also appears quite retro, like an oddly proportioned bus of decades past. The front end has been almost comically minimized and the wheels pushed out to the extreme corners of its body, likely in a bid to maximize cabin space.

The Hanare could bring "new delight in owning a car." As a lounge space on wheels, it could also enable passengers to enjoy their vehicles in new ways, ways that don't involve driving.

Suzuki Hanare concept thinks outside the box

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Originally published Oct. 2.
Update, Oct. 23: Adds live photos from the Tokyo Motor Show.