Currently reading: Suzuki Waku: retro-styled PHEV concept revealed at Tokyo show
Ultra-compact car, designed for family sharing and fun, features a switch that lets users customise exterior and interior design elements
James Attwood, digital editor
2 mins read
23 October 2019

Design features of the retro-styled Suzuki Waku SPO, such as the front headlights and virtual side mirrors, could make production in future Suzuki models.

The Waku SPO, a plug-in hybrid concept featuring design elements which can be switched according to personal preference, was unveiled at this year’s Tokyo motor show. It is described by Suzuki as an A-segment personal compact PHEV, intended for use by a family to “share fun and excitement”. Suzuki has not yet disclosed any technical details of the plug-in hybrid powertrain.

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When asked whether the car could make production, its designer Takafumi Ogiso told Autocar: “It is a concept car. It is not decided [what features will make production] but I would like to see some of the friendly features, such as the headlights and mirrors. Also, it’s design which isn’t too angular.”

The firm said the model features a ‘Waku Waku’ switch that can customise the car by allowing users to “switch its body shape, front mask and content shown on the dashboard”, so the car “can transform to meet each and everyone’s fun and excitement”. 

The car’s rear morphs from an estate-style car to a coupe by retracting the estate section of car. Ogisu said: “At first, it is a wagon model., but then it changes to a coupe model. If it is a coupe model, you can enjoy driving, if it is a wagon, then rear seat space is much bigger.”

The ultra-compact Waku SPO is joined on the Japanese firm’s stand by an autonomous ‘mobile room’ concept called the Hanare. The two machines are designed to showcase Suzuki’s efforts in developing future technologies. Suzuki’s stand is themed around the concept of ‘Waku Waku’, a Japanese term that means excitement in English. 


The Hanare – a Japanese term for a small dwelling built to the side of a home – is an autonomous pod-style vehicle designed for an “efficiency-centric future”. Suzuki says the machine would allow users to work or rest during long journeys, with the Hanare capable of being customised for different uses and to the requirements of different users.


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2 October 2019

Be great to see a fully electric version zipping around in cities, small battery, quick charging under £20k.

2 October 2019
Superb concepts. The Hanare proves that even the efficient electric transport boxes of the future can be chic and cool.

2 October 2019

Hmm...the Waku is a reheated 1999 Ford 021C concept, with a bit of Fiat 128 in the mix.

2 October 2019

Shame Ford can't do something similar with a modern take on the Escort MK1.

I'd love a manufacturer to bring out a good looking little 2 door saloon / coupe with an electric motor providing a decent range and strong performance for a sensible price.

Car manufacturers that still entertain the ideas of what makes car enthusiasts happy, but not necessarily killing the planet at the same time, need to be applauded.

2 October 2019

 Waku?!, what , where did that name spring from?

7 October 2019


3 October 2019

I wonder where they got the idea from. Maybe they've been paying attention to their compatriots.

Very cool all the same. Be great to see electric cars take on retro looks.

3 October 2019

When 'retro' isn't about homage, it turns into caricature or parody.

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