Nerd’s Eye View: LA Auto Show 2014: Part 1 – Street Cars and Show Stuffings


Toyota had this i-ROAD personal transportation thing on display. I expect to see more vehicles of this type in the future for urban commuting as they take up little space and use little energy; you can fit two of these things in the space of a Fiat 500 which is already a small vehicle. Here in the US, you could fit four in the space of your typcal soccer mom SUV. Common in dense European cities are semi-enclosed scooter type vehicles, so the i-ROAD is just an evolution of those. Steering is achieved by the rear wheel and the whole vehicle leans in the corners.
This is the rear tire and there’s not too much to see as the bodywork covers up most of the mechanical bits. What we can see is the single coil over that even has an adjustable spring perch.
A pair of skinnier front tires are used as compared to the single fatter tire in the rear. Keep in mind this vehicle does not weigh too much, so wide tires are not required to handle load. Plus, skinnier tires have less rolling and aero drag for better efficiency. I think the wheels are mounted at the end of a pivoting arm that allows for vertical articulation to absorb bumps and allow the i-ROAD to lean in the corners. Thin solid brake disks are used up front. Again, this thing does not weigh much so big vented disks are not required.
My buddies and I made a quick stop to test drive Toyota FT-1 concept. First shot out however, the game settings had all the auto brake, shifting, and traction control stuff on which really threw me off. Once we turned all that stuff off, the car was better though the handling balance was more on the cautious side with the tendency to push.
This is under the hood of the new Subaru STI with the familiar EJ25 making around 300hp. As Mitsubishi has done with the Evo X MR, the STI has gone upscale to compete with cars from BMW and Audi from what I can tell. Just looking at the engine bay, check out the liner things on the sides of the engine bay by the fenders. Also look at the bottom of the hood and you can see more liner stuff. Their purpose should be to reduce NVH. From my point of view, they just add weight and cost. The new STI does ring in around $40k like the Evo X does when optioned out. Oh yeah, the interior is all cushy and stuff with full power seats with seat heaters. I haven’t checked out the STI options, but I hope they still offer a cheaper, lighter, racier version with non-powered and non-heated seats. Anyways… the intake deisgn is standard OEM practice with a snorkel grabbing cold air from up front. Look to the left of the intercooler and you can see a little black cylinder with a tube going to the intake. I guess that’s some emissions related air pump.

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