Suzuki Air Triser

This is what we gave up when Suzuki left the North American market.

Well, not really—this will definitely stay in Japan if it's ever made. But it gets a pass not only because it looks epic, but because it's one of those few new cars that really appeal to me. Suzuki always pulls out all the stops when the Tokyo Motor Show rolls around, and this year, the company will show this better-than-Bulli design.

It's fun to talk about ugly, crap, fibreglass one-offs from the past, but I'd be doing you a disservice to ignore the neat things that may be placed on our roads…in the future. Or never.

The Air Triser's front doors slide forward, and the rears slide backwards; once open, they reveal a beautiful-looking interior that emphasizes space and calm above all else. For drivers who spend most of their time in the city, how would this not be the ideal environment in which to get around?

Obviously, this is no sports car. About as long as an Audi TT, it's astounding to wonder where exactly its 1,373-cc 4-cylinder engine and hybrid system are located. It's also all-wheel-drive. So in a footprint two inches shorter than the Kia Soul, Suzuki has managed to pack in an extra row of seats…and damn good-looking ones, at that.

Japanese mini-MPVs are surprisingly spacious—I've sat in a few, including the Honda N-Box Slash, and interior space and comfort really is just fine for a 6-plus-foot dude such as myself. That said, Japanese safety regulations don't need to take into account a loaded-with-gravel Ford F-350 barreling through a stale yellow light… 

Would I rock this? Absolutely. Would I be anal enough to keep its wood floor clean? Definitely. 

Doesn't it hurt your heart that miserable, glorified knockoff Tupperware containers like the GMC Terrain are churned out by the tens of thousands, and little jewels like the Air Triser face an uphill battle to even enter production?

Sources