Mitsubishi shows five concepts headed to the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon

Jonathon Ramsey

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Mitsubishi will storm the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon with seven concepts, five based on production models getting early previews. This year's haul more than doubles the trio of concepts Mitsubishi took to this year's Tokyo Auto Salon, and it's obvious the company put more effort into all of them as well. The wildest among the five could be the Delica D:5 imagined by Japanese director, producer and writer Teruo Ito. With the idea to rework the Delica into the idea of embodying charm "like a dog or a member of a family," Ito threw out the van's rectangular headlights, working with Mitsubishi designers to replace them with large round units inset like eyes. The anthropomorphic face is so important that the concept is apparently called the "D:5 eye," according to Google Translate. The van wears a "light army green" hue from its roof to its MLJ Daytona wheels, the interior done up in a olive tartan pattern.  

Right behind it in the "Look at me!" stakes is the eK Cross Wild Beast Concept, a contrast to the "Cute Beast" that is the standard eK kei car. Drenched in yellow, with gray X graphics, a contrasting black roof and tailgate, black cladding, mud flaps, chunky rocker panels, roof rack and basket, and all-terrain tires, this one is meant to evoke a "playful outdoor image." In case the striking livery doesn't convey the message, the command to "Play the Nature" appears on the hood, roof rack and fuel filler cap. Inside, all-weather floor mats and a load bay mat stand ready to protect the interior from mud. Or Play-Doh.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV NERV is the widest combination of real and imaginary usefulness. Re: the latter, NERV is the fictional Japanese paramilitary organization that battles creatures called Angels in the "Neon Genesis Evangelion" anime. Warfare between the Evangelion units and the Angels tends to destroy a lot of animated real estate, hence the usefulness of a disaster relief vehicle like the Outlander PHEV, coordinated by the Gehirun Corporation that's also in the anime. For real-world service, designers installed a KYMETA u7 planar satellite antenna that can pick up signals from Sky Perfect JSAT Corporation — a Japanese-based satellite television and Internet company, and the Asia-focused Michibiki emergency broadcast and GPS service. The PHEV powertrain can be used to provide power in disaster areas, while the Crimson Lycan wheels in Toyo Open Country tires are just for looking good. 

The best near-production possibility is the Eclipse Cross Weekend Explore, dressed in light overland spec with a funky suspension by Air Force Japan that can be raised and lowered remotely, via a smartphone app and remote control. Rays provided a set of slick Team Daytona M9 wheels, shod in more Toyo Open Country tires. To help drivers use the Weekend Explore's potential, a web portal provides ideas about where to go and and what do, while Weathernews provides climate info that feeds three navigation skins, "Natural seascape," "Classic superb view," and "Reiwa sunrise," Reiwa being the official name for Japan's present Imperial era that commenced on May 1, 2019.

Finally, in the already-produced category, there's the Delica D:5 All Blacks. Japan hosted the Rugby World Cup this year, this van used as a support vehicle for New Zealand's globally famous national rugby team. Emerald Black Pearl Paint is set off by the All Blacks logo and fern leaf emblem in Eiger Gray Metallic, with black Advan Racing RZII wheels and Yokohama Geolander tires. The All Blacks could only manage third place this year, but Mitsubishi is a ride-or-die fan, offering an All Blacks package for retail buyers on the Delica D:5, Eclipse Cross, and Outlander PHEV, each purchase coming with a 3D sculpture of the chosen vehicle with the All Blacks logo inside a block of crystal.