Adding to the unusually high number of new car reveals at the Tokyo Auto Salon was the Daihatsu Taft Concept, which previewed a crossover-style kei car due to be introduced in the middle of the year. The latter is entering a market currently occupied by the Suzuki Hustler and should provide some decent competition.

The Taft moniker was first used on a 4×4 SUV introduced in 1974, where it stood for Tall & Almighty Four-wheel Touring Vehicle. Since this new one is likely to be offered as a front-wheel drive model (with optional all-wheel drive, as is usual in Japan), the backronym has been changed to Tall & Almighty Fun Tool.

Despite being a show car, the Taft Concept was essentially a production-friendly version of the WakuWaku concept that was shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in October. It sported a similarly buff front end, featuring octagonal headlights and a beefy bumper, plus boxy black plastic fender flares and an upright glasshouse. This particular unit also came with a grille-like chrome appliqué that gave the car a Jeep-like look.

Unlike the WakuWaku, which has hidden rear door handles and orange panelling instead of rear side windows, the Taft had regular pull handles. The leading edge of the rear windows was also slanted to add some visual drama, while the tail lights were C-shaped with triple vertical blocks that mirrored the front LED daytime running lights. Acknowledging the tuner-heavy nature of the show, Daihatsu fitted the car with some pretty serious-looking 15-inch Work Crag T-Grabic wheels.

The cubic aesthetic continued on the inside, where the Taft exhibited a blocky dashboard with vertical orange-trimmed air vents. The centre console was particularly striking, with an orange rectangle surrounding the right air vent (the left vent is horizontal) and gearlever. A touchscreen display panel sat on top of the dash, and there was also a large glass roof and what Daihatsu called a “flat, easy-to-use luggage space.”

No technical details have been released, but the Taft should use the KF range of 658 cc naturally-aspirated and turbocharged engines to comply with kei car regulations. What do you think of it?

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