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2013 Tokyo Auto Show: The Highlights

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author photo by Doug DeMuro December 2013
  • Several important debuts took place this year in Tokyo
  • One major unveiling was the sporty, rear-drive Lexus RC
  • Other debuts preview cars likely to reach U.S. shores

While we were busy covering this year's Los Angeles Auto Show, a second important auto show was going on halfway across the globe. That was the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show, and it included several major debuts and exciting concept cars from a long list of automakers. We've summed up a few of the highlights in case you missed it.

The most important debut at this year's Tokyo Auto Show was the 2015 Lexus RC 300h, a hybrid sports coupe that brings some new excitement to the Lexus lineup. Unlike most other debuts in Tokyo, this one isn't a concept car: Lexus says it'll go into production sometime next year.

That's good news for drivers interested in an upscale sports coupe, as the rear-wheel-drive RC fits the bill perfectly. Based on the brand's GS sedan, the RC offers handsome styling, flared wheel arches and a choice of two powertrains: a 215-horsepower 2.5-liter hybrid V6 (in the RC 300h) and a more muscular 314-hp 3.5-liter V6 (in the RC 350). While Lexus hasn't announced when the RC will go on sale, we'd expect to see it sometime next year.

Another major debut in Tokyo was the all-new Toyota Harrier. While Toyota doesn't offer the Harrier in the U.S., Lexus sells it as the RX crossover. As a result, the updated Harrier gives us a good idea of what the next Lexus RX will look like -- which is a big deal, since it's the most popular model in the Lexus lineup.

On the outside, the Harrier boasts completely new styling, including updated front and rear ends, redesigned wheels and new headlights. It still boasts the classic RX design language, however, with a sloping window line and a large rear pillar. Inside, updates include a new dashboard and a revised center control stack, though the crossover's luxury appointments clearly remain.

Subaru also made headlines in Tokyo with its new Levorg Concept, a thinly disguised preview of the upcoming Legacy wagon. While Subaru doesn't offer the Legacy wagon in the U.S., the highly popular Outback is heavily based on the Legacy. As a result, the Levorg Concept shows us what to expect from the next Outback, assuming it adds raised ground clearance and some lower body cladding.

The final big news from Tokyo came from Toyota, which released a convertible concept version of its popular FT-86 sports coupe. That model is sold as the Scion FR-S in the States, where it has earned strong sales and near-unanimous praise. While the convertible hasn't been confirmed for production, the concept proves Toyota is at least open to the idea of expanding the popular car's model lineup.

Other big debuts in Tokyo primarily involved concept cars. Some of the headliners included the Nissan IDx (a handsome small sports car), the hydrogen-powered Toyota FCV Concept and a Toyota Prius c convertible.

What it means to you: While it's usually full of bizarre concept cars, this year's Tokyo Auto Show yielded a few important debuts.

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2013 Tokyo Auto Show: The Highlights - Autotrader