Category: ‘Diesel cars’

2017 Toyota Land Cruiser Facelift Leaked

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 29th, 2015

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser

This just in: Toyota’s flagship SUV, the 200 Series Land Cruiser, looks like it’s getting a major overhaul next year. The news comes from a set of the leaked images that originated from a Japanese automotive magazine. Along with the images came the photo you see at the top of this post, which depicts the allegedly next-generation Land Cruiser.

That being said, this main image appears to be a semi-digitized rendering. Those with a keen eye for Photoshop will notice that the depth of field right on the corner where the right-side headlamp wraps above the wheel is a little too two-dimensional. In fact, most of the grille and bumper looks tampered with, and those alloys definitely look copy+pasted into place. So we’re skeptical that this is an actual product photo leak for the next-gen Land Cruiser.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Spy Shot 3

But, even if the image at the top of this post is more rendering than spy shot, the other photos seen here, which were posted by a Twitter user with handle @Hamad1two, appear to be real. In the other photos, we see what looks like a dealership training manual highlighting the differences between the current Land Cruiser and the upcoming model.

Thus, from these images, we can see that even if the primary photo shown at the top of this post is a rendering, it at least portrays the gist of the upgrade.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Spy Shot 4

The biggest update to the Land Cruiser’s design seems to be the front-end, which appears to get a completely overhauled design. It looks like the SUV will get a set of new dual-projector lights and restyled LED DRL’s, plus a new grille design and similarly restyled taillights and bumper in the back. It also looks like the crossover will be getting some new treads too, although they may not be quite like what we see in the image above.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Spy Shot 2

Inside, these spy shots depict a revised interior trim, with new chrome accents and an updated instrument cluster. It also looks like they’ve added in some new entertainment options via rear-seat TV screens.

Finally, if you could read Japanese, you’d see that these leaks claim that the new Land Cruiser will run on a 2.7 L turbo diesel with 174 horsepower paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. That would mean that SUV would probably get the same engine recently revealed for the new Toyota HiLux.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Spy Shot 1

Either way, we will likely see the facelifted Land Cruiser before the end of 2015, so stay tuned for the next round of auto shows this fall for more details.


2016 Toyota HiLux is Better in Every Way

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 22nd, 2015

2016 Toyota Hilux blue

After a whole bunch of spyshots and some very revealing unofficial spoilers (plus an accident involving a trailer carrying two brand-new 2016 models for debut), Toyota has finally unveiled the official all-new 2016 Toyota HiLux – the eight-generation model for the 47 year-old pickup.

2016 Toyota Hilux

If you’re reading this in the US, chances are that you’ve never heard of the Toyota HiLux pickup truck… That’s because it’s not sold in the States. But, it’s one of Toyota’s most well-known and beloved models in other markets, like Australia and Thailand.

The old Toyota HiLux has been on the market in its current form for at least a decade. The new model is better in literally every way. It’s bigger, it looks better, it’s more fun to drive, it can hold and tow a lot more weight, it’s more efficient, it’s got a larger cabin and it even holds more gas with a massive 80L fuel tank.

2016 Toyota Hilux rear

Under the hood, Toyota says that they’ve expanded the model’s “legendary prowess” with a substantially stronger frame, two new high-torque turbocharged diesel engines (expanding the powertrain options to four) and improved body rigidity for better on-Road toughness and improved steering response. Toyota has used high-tensile steel to keep the truck agile without sacrificing strength and toughness.

2016 Toyota Hilux interior

As for those two new engines, Toyota says that the turbo-diesels are “notable for their low-end punch and develop substantially more torque than the current model’s 3.0L unit”. This is especially impressive since both new engines are of a smaller displacement than the outgoing model. One is a 2.4L outputting 400 Nm, the other is a 2.8L outputting 450 Nm of torque, while both plants have about 10% improved fuel economy. Depending on which engine and trim you go with, Toyota says the new HiLux’s towing capacity has increased up to 3.5 tonnes (~7,700 lbs) and 1,240 kg (~2,700 lbs).

2016 Toyota Hilux interior dash

Inside the cabin, Toyota’s goal was to make the new HiLux feel more like an SUV than a pickup without sacrificing the model’s rugged, simple cabin appeal. You’ll find that the larger eighth-gen model has allowed Toyota to create a much more spacious and comfortable cab, with more room for all occupants, luxury seating, and better quality materials used throughout. They’ve also updated the interior to match the conventional tech. amenities found in today’s most popular SUVs, including a crisp audio system and a massive, vibrant multi-touch control screen.

Toyota says that we can expect the 2016 HiLux model in showrooms in early October. You can read the full press release here for more information.


Isuzu D-Max Blade Pickup is Here to Stay

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

2015 Isuzu D-Max Blade Pearlescent White

In 2014, Isuzu introduced a special edition version of their D-Max pickup truck called the D-Max Blade. The truck launched with the tagline “Even nightmare jobs are no match for a pick up professional,” which makes a lot more sense after you watch the intro video below:

The tagline isn’t really relevant to today’s article, but we really liked that little short and have been looking for an opportunity to get it into a blog post since the special edition truck made its debut at the end of last year. So, there you go.

The Isuzu D-Max Blade was a huge success for the small Japanese automaker, Isuzu. In fact, it was enough to set a sales record for the 2014 model year – they managed to sell a full 5,500 units last year, and had to build twice as many D-Max Blades as planned to satisfy customer demand. So, they’re listening to demand in 2015 and beyond… The D-Max Blade will now be a permanent addition to Isuzu’s UK lineup, with deliveries starting later this month.

Even without the special Blade edition, the D-Max is a great truck. It doesn’t have the biggest engine in the world with a twin-turbocharged 2.5L diesel under the hood which only outputs 160 horsepower. However, don’t let the low power fool you – with 295 lb-ft of torque, this truck can tow a full 3.5 metric tons, which is about 3.8 short tons for our US readers. If it’s hauling you need, the D-Max can handle up to 2,345 lbs.

2015 Isuzu D-Max Blade Cosmic Black

On top of that, the D-Max gets excellent fuel economy with a manufacturer estimated 38.7 mpg combined. Four-wheel drive is standard, and the powertrain can be mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic for a bit extra

The D-Max Blade is set apart by the unique ‘Shadow’ style front grille, the black mirror caps and door handles, and of course you can’t miss those 18” ‘Shadow” alloy wheels fitted with Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires. The Blade is available in either Cosmic Black or Pearlescent White.

2015 Isuzu D-Max Blade interior

The interior is even better with Blade-only piano black accents, bespoke scuff plates, a 6.1” Pioneer touchscreen, a booming 8-speaker audio system, and of course the rear backup camera. You’ll also get built-in satellite GPS, heated leather seats and special Blade floor mats.

All in all, we love to see smaller Japanese car makers finding success with innovative offerings. The Isuzu D-Max Blade isn’t the biggest or the strongest pickup in the world, but it’s the perfect example of an automaker giving customers what they want. We hope the Blade continues to boost Isuzu sales in 2015 and beyond, but sadly the model will only be sold in the UK.


2016 Mazda CX-3 Makes European Debut as a Diesel

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

2016 Mazda CX-3 in action

Mazda has been on the upswing lately, so we were anxious to see the newest addition to their lineup at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. That car is the all-new 2016 Mazda CX-3 subcompact crossover, which is already on sale in Mazda’s home market of Japan at the time of this writing.

2016 Mazda CX-3 silver

The Mazda CX-3 made a good showing at Geneva despite sharing the stage with similar offers from other big-name automakers like Nissan, Ford and, to a lesser extent, Suzuki. What makes the Mazda CX-3 different from most of the other crossovers at Geneva though is that (A) it’s a production-ready vehicle and (B) it’s powered by a diesel engine.

In fact, even though diesel cars accounted for less than 3% of all new cars sold in Japan during 2014, Mazda’s CEO Masamichi Kogai told Reuters that they would only be offering the diesel version of the CX-3 in the domestic market. He apparently believes that Japan is positioned where Europe was a few years ago. Today, half of all new cars sold in Europe are diesel-powered, so it’s clear that at least some of today’s drivers somewhere are beginning to get curious about diesel.

2016 Mazda CX-3 red

The Japanese version of the Mazda CX-3 will be sold with a new 1.5L SkyActiv-D turbocharged four-cylinder engine… You may find it interesting that this is simply a smaller version of the 2.2L SkyActiv-D that Mazda hopes to adopt in the US Mazda6 as soon as it meets their own self-set emissions and performance standards.

To briefly look at the new 2016 Mazda CX-3’s aesthetics, it follows closely in the steps of their other Kodo designed models, with the Mazda CX-5 bearing the closest resemblance. No surprise there since the cars share the ‘CX’ moniker! It has a boldly aggressive snout with an overall lively stance, but it’s been refined and simplified to appeal to a wider audience.

2016 Mazda CX-3 interior

New drivers will be able to choose from five trim levels of the new Mazda CX-3. Those trims are SE Nav, SE-L, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav. However, you’ll get a few standard features regardless of trim. For example, you’ll get 16-inch alloys, a 7-inch touchscreen interface, DAB radio and Bluetooth, standard airbags, cruise control, and several newer safety features like Tire Pressure Monitoring, Dynamic Stability Control and Hill Hold Assist… All regardless of trim.

A few noteworthy trim-specific features are:

  • 18-inch diamond-cut gunmetal alloys with chrome body accents and LED headlights at the Sport Nav trim
  • Lane Departure Warning & Smart City Brake for the SE-L and Sport Nav trims
  • Rear-parking sensors for all models above and including the SE-L trim
  • Bose surround sound, keyless entry and Mazda’s HUD system – Active Driving Display – in the Sport Nav trim

US sales of the new Mazda CX-3 are expected to start by summertime of this year, although we will only get access to the 2.0L petrol powertrain. Sales in Europe will likely start at a similar time, complete with the diesel option that Mazda is currently offering in Japan.


Japanese Car Auction Find – 2014 Mazda CX-5

Posted by Stephen On Friday, February 20th, 2015

Yesterday we talked about the GC-PHEV Concept that Mitsubishi re-brought to the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. That car supposedly holds styling cues that will be seen in the upcoming Mitsubishi Outlander facelift. However, while the Outlander and Outlander Sport have both suffered from weak sales in the past five years, another car in the same segment has surged in popularity. That car is the Mazda CX-5, a 2014 model of which is pictured here:

2014 Mazda CX-5

Honestly, even though this car is a year old, you could compare it admirably to just about all of today’s 2015 models. And there’s a reason it sits #2 on US News Best Affordable Compact SUVs list – it’s a well-made SUV with the best of all worlds. It’s sporty; it’s efficient; it’s fun and stylish… It’s everything! And believe it or not, the 2014MY actually got higher editorial ratings than the 2015MY, mostly because it was still relatively new at the time.

But let’s take a closer look…

2014 Mazda CX-5 Liquid Silver

What we have here is a Liquid Silver 2014 Mazda CX-5 4WD XD. This particular find is one of the higher trim models with an upgraded 2.2L two-stage turbocharged SKYACTIV-D diesel engine, which can be driven with either 147 bhp or 173 bhp, depending on driving mode. Yes, a diesel! Diesels are very unusual in Japan, but the CX-5 is an exception with its very clean Skyactiv tech. Its upgraded engine is paired with an optional six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

As a 2014MY, this would be the second year that Mazda’s incredibly potent SKYACTIV technology suite was on the market. The engine listed above allows the Mazda CX-5 to achieve the best non-hybrid fuel economy in the compact crossover segment, with up to 52 mpg for the front-wheel drive version of the car. As an AWD model, the CX-5 showcased here will do a bit worse in the efficiency department in favor of a more reliable drive.

2014 Mazda CX-5 interior

It’s plain to see why the SKYACTIV-D Mazda CX-5 won the 2012-13 Japan Car of the Year Award. Its exterior styling is standout, and it’s incredibly efficient. The black cloth interior is a little plainer, but it’s spacious and rich with all the standard amenities needed for a crossover to thrive on today’s market. One-touch power windows, built-in navigation and infotainment on a 7-inch touchscreen, USB connection and automatic air conditioning, just to name a few.

This 2014 Mazda CX-5 is a particularly well-Japanese car auction find with a B-grade interior and exterior and an overall rating of 5. For more details, keep reading below the auction sheet for a full translation:

2014 Mazda CX-5 auction sheet

“Interior B, exterior condition B, first registered May 2014, XD model, 4WD, FAT, AAC, one owner, original navigation system witn digital TV and rear view reversing camera, smart city braking support, interior rear view mirror blind spot monitor, HID headlights, AFS, cruise control, parking sensors at front and rear, diesel engine, LDA emissions code, interior grime, scratches and dents and light scratches, marks as per map”


Detroit Debut of 2016 Nissan Titan & Toyota Tacoma

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

To wrap up our coverage for the 2015 Detroit Motor Show, we’re going to showcase the two new Japanese pickup trucks that hit the stage at the event.

2016 Toyota Tacoma

2016 Toyota Tacoma

There’s no doubt that the old Toyota Tacoma was a truly impressive vehicle. It’s been on the market in its current form for over a decade, and yet it claimed a full 66% market share in 2014. However, while that’s certainly an impressive stat, Toyota knows that a big reason they’ve sold that many of their aging Tacoma trucks is due to a lack of competition. This year, that’s changed as GM has re-entered the compact pickup scene with two brand-new models.

Now, Toyota is updating their mighty Tacoma to maintain its status as the best pound-for-pound pickup in its class. Toyota says that the new 2016 Tacoma is the most powerful and fuel-efficient Tacoma ever… The ultimate lifestyle vehicle for today’s most active drivers.

2016 Toyota Tacoma on the road

With the Tacoma’s debut, Toyota revealed specific powertrain specs we’d been waiting for. The new compact pickup will offer drivers a choice between a 2.7L four-cylinder or a 3.5L Atkinson cycle V6, both of which will deliver power to the wheels via an off-road-ready six-speed automatic transmission.

But, the powertrains won’t be the only distinguishing factor between the Tacoma and its new American competition. Toyota has unleashed a bevy of new technology in the Tacoma to make it stand out from the crowd.

2016 Toyota Tacoma rear view

For example, this will be the first compact pickup ever to have what Toyota calls “crawl control”, which basically allows the truck to take over acceleration and braking while the driver devotes their undivided attention to steering through rough terrain.

Another new technology is the Tacoma’s multi-terrain system, which allows optimal throttle and brake responses depending on the specific off-road terrain you’re driving on. There are modes for rocks, mud and sand.

2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited

Finally, since there’s only so much aesthetic appeal that can be designed into a truck, Toyota has made sure theirs has an interior that truly stands out. From the new sound-absorbing materials in the roof and floor to the GoPro camera mount on the rearview mirror, every minute detail of the Tacoma’s interior serves a purpose, whether that be for fun, comfort or utility.

2016 Nissan Titan XD

2016 Nissan Titan XD

Moving up a weight class, the 2016 Nissan Titan is arguably just as impressive as the new Tacoma. Powered by a Cummins turbocharged 5.0L direct-injection V8 diesel, the new Titan XD will offer a hefty 310hp and 555 lb-ft of torque – enough to make this behemoth one of only two half-ton diesels on the market. The other is Ram’s EcoDiesel, which, as you can probably infer from the name, doesn’t offer near the same ‘oomph’ as Nissan’s new Cummins-powered pickup will.

2016 Nissan Titan XD woods

As you can see, the new 2016 Titan XD features a very rugged design with and an enormous front-end and eye-catching alloys.

2016 Nissan Titan XD interior

The interior is where things have really stepped up, though, with Nissan’s new NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats, a 12-speaker surround sound system from Rockford Fosgate, and of course Nissan’s latest Nissan Connect infotainment technology. You’ll also get standard safety features like Around View Monitor, rear-view display, and moving object detection.

All in all, both pickups look to be slated for success, but we’ll have to wait until later in 2015 to get full details on both models as neither automaker revealed fuel economy numbers or pricing.


Subaru Viziv Vision GT Concept Teased for Gran Turismo Anniversary

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Subaru Viziv Vision Gran Turismo Concept teaser

Today we have a really cool teaser to help us pass time before doors open to the LA Auto Show next week. It comes from Subaru, and it’s a contribution to the ever-expanding Vision Gran Turismo garage – a selection of theoretical cars that automakers can use to showcase futuristic designs and performance. Several automakers like Nissan and Mitsubishi have already made their contributions; this is Subaru’s.

Subaru’s Viziv GT Concept is the their iteration of their Viziv Concept, which was shown as the VIZIV Concept at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and, fittingly, as the VIZIV 2 Concept at the 2014 Geneva show. For this version, Subaru has created their take on the classic grand touring sports car to celebrate Gran Turismo’s 15th anniversary. This explains why the Viziv GT is stands apart from the previous two Vizivs… It’s not meant to be the same Vision-Innovation for a crossover.

Chances are we won’t see a full reveal of the video-game-only Subaru Viziv GT Vision Gran Turismo until the official Downloadable Content Pack with the model included becomes available. Still, the teaser video gives us a good feel for what Subaru has done with the model. Enormous racing wheels; sleek wraparound LEDs; an ominous trapezoidal grille reminiscent of the BRZ; extremely aggressive line work; all these features fit perfectly in line with what we’ve seen from other Vision GT concepts.

Subaru Viziv Vision Gran Turismo Concept grille

Of course, there’s always a little bit of sadness that goes along with concepts like this one, since there is absolutely no way we’ll ever get behind the wheel in-person. For one, it’s a concept, which in and of itself distances it from production. For two, it’s a digital-only study, which means any actual VIZIV that ever sees production will be a totally different car.

Auction Find – 2013 Subaru BRZ S (aka. BRZ Limited)

2013 Subaru BRZ Auction Find

It’s hard not to think of the Subaru BRZ when the topic of Subaru sports cars comes up. This new teaser got us curious about the available BRZs currently up for auction, and a quick search in the Integrity Exports auction system led us to this little gem.

Subaru BRZ interior auction find

This particular find is a premium BRZ S trim, known as the Limited in NA, which gets you that sweet rear spoiler. It also includes:

  • Alcantara and leather seating
  • Illuminated vanity mirrors
  • Fog lights
  • Keyless entry & ignition
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control

While the Viziv Concepts are said to run on a hybrid diesel powertrain, the BRZ is known for its staunch 2.0L boxer engine. This particular find is the S model with the performance package by STi. All in all, a pretty neat find to make up for not getting to drive Subaru’s new Viziv GT Vision Concept.

Keep reading below the auction sheet for more details:

2013 Subaru BRZ auction sheet

“Interior A, first registered January 2013, DBA emissions code, BRZ S model, FAT, AAC, power steering, original AWs, power windows, original TV, original navigation system, airbag, one owner, original 7 inch wide navigation system with TV and color rear view reversing camera, 7120KM, original body kit, original 17 inch AWs, 2 x smart key, xenon lights, non-smoker’s car, STi performance package, leather steering wheel, push button starter, original floor mats, minor scratches on trim, minor rust underneath, light scratches on right front door, other marks as per map”


New Nissan Micra Cup Gets You Racing For Under $20K

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

2015 Nissan Micra Cup

Thanks to Nissan, there’ll be a new way for Canadian motorsport enthusiasts to get their first genuine racing experience in 2015. The opportunity comes thanks to the inaugural 2015 Nissan Micra Cup, which will start next May. As you may be able to guess from the circuit’s title, it’ll be a one-make racing series sanctioned by Auto Sport Quebec in which all the drivers pilot tuned up Nissan Micra hatchbacks.

At first glance, this idea may seem a little drab. But think about it… The regular commercial Micra may be an entry-level model, but it’s a sturdy little car and anything can be tuned up for track performance. See for yourself in the video below:

To make a car for the series, Nissan is partnering up with JD Motorsports to augment a batch of Micra 1.6 S hatchbacks (not available in the US) with a variety of performance upgrades. Those upgrades include NISMO’s S-Tune suspension kit, high-performance brake pads, a custom sports exhaust, a built-in safety cage, and custom Fastwheels with Pirelli’s low profile + high performance tires. Under the hood you’ll find the stock engine for the Nissan Micra 1.6 S, which is a 1.6L DOHC four-cylinder with duel fuel injection. The engine will be paired with Nissan’s Twin CVTC system and the Micra’s rugged stock five-speed manual transmission.

Of course, there’ll also be the standard motorsport safety features including a fire extinguisher, driver protection net and a five-point harness, along with front and rear towing hooks.

The best part about this is that Nissan will make all of this available under $20,000. In fact, at just $19,998 for the sport-tuned model, the Nissan Micra Cup is officially the cheapest motorsport entry point in Canada. And it’s fun to drive too! Jean-François Demoulin, a well-known Canadian racer, was invited to head-up the track-tuned Micra’s testing, and he was surprisingly pleased. “I really enjoyed every minute I spent testing the Nissan Micra… For a car which is still almost stock, it’s quite fast and so much fun to drive!”

2015 Nissan Micra Cup 2

Nissan tells us that they aim to have more than 25 Micras competing in each race weekend, and each driver will get a solid two hours of on-track racing time. That’ll come from a preliminary 30-minute trial, a 30-minute qualifier, and then two 30-minute races. Sounds like a ton of fun!

We have to say, this is a really smart marketing move on Nissan’s part to introduce the Nissan Micra Cup in Canada the same year that they’re launching the Nissan Micra NISMO. Every motorsport enthusiast should mark their calendar for next May when the series opens. And if you’re one of our Canadian readers with $20,000 burning a hole in your pocket, you can learn more about the Micra Cup at Nissan Canada’s official site.


All-New Mazda2 Claims Japan’s Car of the Year Award

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

2015 Mazda2 Demio

Thanks to the recent Paris Motor Show, we’ve spent the past two weeks talking about all the new Japanese cars we can expect to see over the next couple of years. Today, we’re going to continue in that direction by celebrating the newly announced recipient for the 2014-2015 Japanese Car Of The Year award.

This year’s recipient?

The all-new 2015 Mazda2, otherwise known as the Mazda Demio in the automaker’s home market where the hatchback has already launched.

This is excellent news for rogue Japanese automaker, Mazda. Their newly redesigned supermini hasn’t even hit European or American shores yet, and already it’s winning awards thanks to its simple-but-efficient SkyActiv technology and suave Kodo – Spirit of Motion design language.

Japan’s Car of the Year was decided at the National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation in Tokyo Bay.

Throughout the day, it was looking like the Mercedes C-class would come out on top, but in the final stretch Mazda’s city car managed to pull ahead with 423 points compared to Mercedes’ 404. Both cars came out above the third place BMW i3, which ended the day with 340 votes, and the top three were all head and shoulders above the rest… The fourth place Subaru Levorg had just 124 votes then polls closed.

Here’s how the judging works:

  1. 60 automotive experts and journalists from around Tokyo Bay are given 25 points to vote with.
  2. Each judge must give their first choice 10 points, and no more than 10 points can be allocated to any choice.
  3. The car with the most points at the end of the day wins!

Fun fact: Some quick math will tell you that 600 is the maximum points a car can receive. The closest any car ever came to getting max points was last year when the VW Golf got 504/600.

2015 Mazda2 Demio Interior

For those who don’t remember, this is the second time in three years that one of Mazda’s new SkyActiv cars has won Japan’s prestigious Car of the Year award. In 2012, the Mazda CX-5 won the award over the Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT-86 twins. It was the first-ever car Mazda released with their SkyActiv suite and Kodo design language.

Of course, Mazda knows what they did right to win the award yet again. At the event, Mazda EVP Kiyoshi Fujiwara said, “With the Mazda 2, we have rewritten the rulebook for compact cars. Our new SkyActiv technology, excellent mileage, reasonable pricing and unique design all contributed to our victory today.”

Consider this a reminder to keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming 2015 Mazda2 when it hits North American and European shores early next year.


New Suzuki Vitara SUV Hits the Floor in Paris

Posted by Stephen On Friday, October 10th, 2014

2014 Suzuki Vitara Concept

Today we have yet another Juke-rivaling compact crossover from the ongoing 2014 Paris Motor Show. It’s the new Suzuki Vitara Concept, based on the Suzuki iV-4 Concept from this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Those of you with a long memory will remember the Suzuki Vitara SUV from over a decade and a half ago.

Let’s take a look, shall we? Here’s the official video promo:

This concept is a pre-production study for a smaller incarnation of the long-dead Vitara name. As such, Suzuki’s goal with the design of this Vitara Concept was to express their styling heritage with a strong, solid design. At the same time, what we see here is likely pretty close to the eventual production model.

The trapezoidal front-bumper insert in particular is meant to evoke a sense of sturdiness; a visual representation of the driving stability offered by Suzuki’s ALLGRIP system. However, strong and solid doesn’t have to mean plain and boring, and the Vitara Concept showcases a wide combination of body colors and custom design details, such as the colored wheel inserts you may remember from the iV-4 Concept.

With such an intense focus on strength, it’s no surprise that the new Vitara has the highest road clearance of any compact crossover we’ve seen in Paris. This makes for plenty of off-road potential, and a big selling point for Suzuki’s ALLGRIP system is allowing the driver to choose the best driving mode for any given road surface.

2014 Suzuki Vitara Concept rear

Unlike many of today’s stereotypical off-road SUV’s, the new compact Suzuki Vitara maintains a relatively light curb weight without sacrificing off-road performance. This is thanks to advanced high-tensile steel that makes the crossover simultaneously light on its feet and able to take a punch. Suzuki says that this and other weight-saving measures allow the Vitara Concept to achieve CO2 emissions of just 111g/km.

Of course, we can’t talk about emissions without mentioning the crossover’s 118bhp 1.6L diesel, the cleanest of the engines offered. Emissions jump to 123 g/km with the 1.6 L petrol, and even more if you opt for an automatic transmission. Keep in mind, though, that all of these figures are with a four-wheel drive system, which Suzuki says it’s been able to incorporate into the Vitara without sacrificing fuel efficiency.

Inside, you’ll find the Suzuki Vitara Concept has a relatively plain design with the exception of the custom colored accents that can be matched to the driver’s preferences. There are a few neat amenities like an analog clock and an optional sunroof, but it doesn’t stand out from some of the other interiors we’ve seen in Paris (even if this one is the most realistic).

Of course, plain doesn’t mean ill-equipped, and there’s plenty of technology to be had in the Vitara’s quiet cabin. You’ll notice the touchscreen at the center of the dash, and the concept boasts smartphone connectivity and adaptive cruise control, along with safety features like pre-collision automatic braking.

Suzuki says they plan to begin production of the new Vitara crossover sometime in early 2015. It’ll launch in Europe soon after, and be exported globally later in the year.