The Most Impressive Japanese Cars From the Detroit Auto Show

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Even though the Detroit Auto Show will technically be open until next Saturday, January 26, we’ve already seen coverage of every single vehicle that the show has to offer. Monday and Tuesday were for press, yesterday and today are reserved for industry professionals, and then the floors will be opened to the public starting this Saturday.

Naturally, now that we have seen the newest and best vehicles that our favorite Japanese manufacturers have to offer in 2013, the next step is picking out the cream of the crop. Below you will find the top three Japanese cars that made the best first impressions with the press. Even though you or I may not personally agree with each and every one of these picks, these are the most popular Japanese cars of the 2013 Detroit Auto Show:

#1. Toyota Furia Concept

While there is a general wariness that next-gen Corolla will end up a far cry from the spicy Toyota Furia Concept we saw this week, there’s no doubt that Toyota hit this one out of the park. The Furia was everything the brand made it out to be and more; there’s no denying that the carbon-fiber-wearing, LED-touting Furia looks pretty dang sweet.

The looming wariness may be nothing more than the residual impact that decades of “beige” and “tan” have wrought on the Corolla’s image, but still… Toyota’s executives could’ve at least TRIED to assuage our worries. Instead they said nothing more than that “the Corolla Furia Concept is an early indicator of where our compact car design may lead in the future.”

#2. Infiniti Q50 / Lexus IS

Here we have the two Japanese luxury sedans that both made waves at the Detroit Auto Show. If you asked 10 people which one is better and why, you would get 11 different answers. The fact of the matter is that these two vehicles are not targeted towards the same audience, so comparing them is somewhat futile.

Chances are that if you live outside the States, then the Lexus IS will be the more appealing sedan because of a hybrid option that will be available to international buyers. On the other hand, if you have an eye for cool technology, then you will appreciate the completely electric steering featured in the Q50 – there are no mechanical connections between the steering and the wheels. The Lexus IS probably has a more innovative styling, but the Q50 has a superior interior, and the exterior design will definitely appeal to classicists without being too stale.

#3. Nissan Resonance

Last but not least, the Nissan Resonance concept was by far the most compelling new design at the Detroit Auto Show. Again, because this is a concept car we don’t actually know how many of the futuristic elements will make it into the final production model. But, I think that we are all desperately hoping that, if nothing else, the “floating” roof makes it to the streets.

Nissan tells us that, “When the designers were first working on the Resonance, they were inspired by scientific advancements in technology and material innovations.” This would explain the sci-fi inspired holographic center console, as well as the “V-Motion” exterior styling.

Honorable Mention – Honda Urban SUV Concept

Even though several industry insiders weren’t personally impressed by the new Honda concept, coverage of the SUV was on the whole promising. Apparently several top executives from competing manufacturers (cough, BMW, cough) were observed ogling at the Urban SUV concept from afar, trying to figure out how their own models stacked up. That’s got to mean something, and I’m sure Honda is satisfied with their presentation.

Well, with that we will conclude our coverage of the Detroit Auto Show without even once mentioning the new Corvette.

Whoops! Oh well.

With over 50 vehicles on display at the NAIAS, even the four days we’ve spent covering exclusively Japanese cars seems crunched, but hopefully you’re appetite for car-candy has been satisfied. It was the first big auto event of the year, and it was a good one for Japanese car enthusiasts… Now let’s turn our attention forward and watch these concepts turn into production vehicles over the course of 2013!

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