Made in Japan
by Peter Nunn
Japanese cars have long had a name for quality and dependability. In today’s world, however, you soon find there’s plenty more on offer besides that.
Japanese cars in 2004 can be engagingly different. Inventive, too. From the clever, compact packaging of Honda’s Jazz supermini, to the cutting edge hybrid technology of the Toyota Prius, to the zoomy, super smooth rotary engine in Mazda’s groundbreaking RX-8, Japanese cars now have the ability to push boundaries as any others around. Which is good.
The Prius, for one, is one of the most technologically advanced cars ever made with enough computing power on board to rival the Space Shuttle. On the road, its eco friendly Hybrid Synergy drive which alternates seamlessly between petrol and zero emission battery power (or both combined) is totally user friendly and official 100 mpg (or 2.82 L/100 kms) economy is not to be sneezed at, either.
Characterful design: yes,
Enthusiasts meantime need no reminding about the Subaru Impreza WRX STi and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, two high-power turbo 4WD saloon road rockets that introduce new levels of eye widening performance and g-force with each redesign.
The Daihatsu Copen, a baby sports car with retractable roof, is the absolute embodiment of the small, stylish, specialty 660 cc minicar. At the opposite end of the spectrum, off-road 4x4s don’t come more credible than
It’s a fact that Japanese cars regularly dominate independent reliability and quality surveys and factories like Nissan’s
Still, the sheer breadth of the Japanese car industry can be astounding and in a fast moving business, it just makes you wonder what the heck’s round the corner.
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