Japanese car culture is renowned by car enthusiasts all over the globe for its over-the-top approach to car customization. One of the best places to get a sense of the Japanese attitude toward modified cars is at the Tokyo Auto Salon - an annual auto show dedicated to the country's massive aftermarket car parts industry, as well as Japanese motorsports.
With the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon having just wrapped up, we figured we'd see what the Japanese automotive and aftermarket industries are up to in 2020 and count down our favourite debuts from the show. Scroll down to see our picks - though be warned, not all the vehicles in this list will be sold in North America, so Canadian car enthusiasts may feel a bit of envy by the time they're done reading.
5. Mazda CX-30 Appearance Package
Even sensible crossovers like the Mazda CX-30 aren't safe from a bit of Tokyo-style tuning at the Auto Salon. Mazda released a body kit for its compact crossover at the show, which consists of chrome-accented front, side and rear lip extensions. This kit is only for Japan for now, but with the automaker having already made a similar kit available for the Mazda3 hatchback in North America, we wouldn't be surprised if it eventually arrived in the U.S. and Canada.
4. 2020 Honda Civic Type R
Honda decided to debut its refreshed 2020 Civic Type R at the Tokyo Auto Salon, rather than at last year's Tokyo Auto Show. The extra-hot hatchback is largely the same as before - save for a new Boost Blue paint option and a larger front grille for improved engine cooling. The car also gets some small changes beneath the bodywork, such as stronger brakes and retuned suspension and steering. The car will now pipe fake engine noise into the car using the audio speakers, as well, similar to other sporty turbocharged cars like the Ford Mustang EcoBoost.
3. Toyota Supra GT300
We've already seen the road-going Toyota Supra, so now it's time to meet the racing version. This Toyota Supra race car will compete in the Japan-only Super GT series in 2020, where it will be fielded by Toyota team Saitama Toyopet. This car is significant, as Japanese GT racing helped establish the Supra as the icon it is today. Many Supra fans will also be familiar with this race car's predecessor: the Castrol-liveried 1995 TOM's Supra, which captured the hearts and minds of enthusiasts all over the globe thanks to its various appearances in the Gran Turismo video series.
2. Subaru Levorg STI
Many Canadian car enthusiasts may not be aware the Subaru Levorg even exists. The model is essentially a wagon variant of the Impreza and is available in Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia and other foreign markets. Subaru rolled out an STI Sport version of the new Levorg at the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon, which features some STI badging, a redesigned front fascia, STI-branded exhausts tips and a more aggressive rear diffuser. The Levorg STI concept is also the first Subaru with electronically controlled dampers and may signal the arrival of such technology on the next-generation Subaru WRX and/or WRX STI.
1. Toyota Yaris GR
By far the coolest debut at the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon was the Toyota Yaris GR Sport. This hot hatchback is a homologation model for the brand's FIA World Rally Championship car - so it's essentially a toned down, road-going rally car. Power comes from a turbocharged 1.6-litre three-pot, which is good for 268 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Drive is routed to all four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. The car also features front and rear Torsen limited slip differentials and a centre electronic differential, giving it the ability to send up to 100% of the engine's torque to the rear wheels. Aluminum body panels, a carbon fibre roof and 18-inch alloy wheels help keep the weight down. Unfortunately, this hot hatch won't be coming to North America, so Canadians will just have to make do with the Supra and 86.