Yamaha is well known for building fun stuff like motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, outboard engines for boats, and even the occasional musical instrument or two. Now, the Japanese mega-corporation is toying with entering the compact pickup market with this, the Cross Hub Concept. It’s unique in just about every way, from its seating configuration to its cargo bed. Sadly, the project seems a bit too “concept” to make production anytime soon.
The Cross Hub Concept made its debut at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show and is billed as a lifestyle car for those splitting time between city life and the great outdoors. Yamaha says it’s “just the right size” and is designed for on-road and off-road maneuverability while still having room for “other Yamaha recreational products.” So far, this is the furthest Yamaha has gotten to building a road-going, four-wheeled vehicle. Of course, there was the time it developed and built high-strung V-6 and V-8 engines for the first three generations of Ford Taurus SHOs, and technically some of its side-by-side UTVs are road-legal, but you won’t find any rolling down the interstate. The Cross Hub, on the other hand, promises to be road-ready and built for fun.
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- Outlandish design
- Innovative cargo bed
- Looks like nothing else
"The most interesting part is where the bubble-like cab meets the cargo bed"
Calling it different would be the understatement of 2017. The Cross Hub Concept looks like nothing else because it’s a clean-sheet design. It’s like Yamaha raised a group of whiz-kid engineers in a closed environment, never showing them photos of a pickup truck and then asked them to design one with minimal instruction.
The most interesting part is where the bubble-like cab meets the cargo bed. The cab rounds off, enclosing itself completely separate from the bed and its satin-silver roll bar support. The cab and bed look like two separate units that have come together – like how the Starship Enterprise (NCC1701-D for you nerds out there) is designed to separate its saucer from the stardrive section.
The Cross Hub’s front looks like a mix between one of Yamaha’s UTVs and a Ford Edsel. Three different lighting elements mixed with horizontal and vertical lines give the Cross Hub a busy look. Then again, it sort of works for this thing.
Like a mullet in 1985, the Cross Hub’s party is kept out back. Its cargo bed is designed to carry a Yamaha dirtbike diagonally. The tailgate extends the bed but does not keep loose items from falling out when latched since it’s not solid. The tailgate actually fits around the curved bed floor when lowered. Even more interesting, the top of the tailgate has secondary taillights for when its lowered. As for the wood planks in the bed floor, Yamaha says it choose wood as a tie-in to its line of jet boats.
- Diamond-shaped seating layout
- Driver controls are orange
- Wood flooring
"The interior has a diamond-shaped layout with the driver in the middle, almost like the McLaren F1"
As unconventional as the exterior is, things remain just as strange inside the Cross Hub Concept. The interior has a diamond-shaped layout with the driver in the middle, almost like the McLaren F1 but with an extra seat behind the driver. A U-shaped steering wheel wrapped in orange suede matches the orange driver’s seat and gauge cluster binnacle. The small screens on the dash display vehicle info and entertainment features, while the digital dash gives the driver an unobstructed view of vital stats. The orange, gray, and black interior also has aluminum fixtures like the door pulls, foot pedals, and dash supports. And like the cargo bed, the floor is wood.
Though it’s not the most practical interior ever conceived, it is certainly interesting and a big departure from anything we’ve recently seen. You’ve got to give Yamaha credit for that.
- Likely powered by four-cylinder engine
- Most likely 4WD
"There is no mention of what powers this Yamaha"
Sadly, Yamaha did not make mention of the Cross Hub Concept’s drivetrain – likely because this is merely a design concept. Should something this size actually make production, Yamaha should be fully capable of designing and building its own drivetrain components. A turbocharged four-cylinder would do the trick nicely, so Yamaha could easily massage and tweak one of its many engines to fit the bill. The Cross Hub looks like it would be 4WD. Developing that system shouldn’t be harder than beefing up the 4WD systems it uses on its side-by-side UTVs. We’d bet on front-mounted, transverse four-cylinder with at least a six-speed automatic transmission and 4WD or AWD. Perhaps a hybrid powertrain could be added, too, though that would be new ground for Yamaha engineers.
We’ve seen some strange concept vehicles over the years, but none seem as outlandish as this – especially considering it comes from a company that doesn’t build road-going cars or pickups. Yamaha is well known for being an ultra-diverse company, having its fingers in just about everything imaginable, so it’s not surprising to see the company think about a utilitarian, compact pickup made to transport its other products.
If Yamaha can make professional-level musical instruments, jet boats, and UTVs, it can surely make a truck. Of course, getting into the pickup wars isn’t an easy thing to do, especially in North America. As such, Yamaha might stick to Asian or European markets with the Cross Hub – should it even produce it in the first place.
What do you think? Should Yamaha build the Cross Hub? What do you think of the design? Let us know in the comments below.
- Innovative Design
- Diamond-shaped interior layout
- Fits motorcycles in its bed
- Very outlandish
- No powertrain details
- Not likely to happen
Read our full review on the 2015 Yamaha Sports Ride Coupe Concept.
Read more Tokyo Motor Show news.