By on September 3, 2020

FCA

It’s not the production model, but it’s the closest we’ve gotten so far to Jeep’s returning full-size SUV. Sport-utility family, to be clear, as Jeep plans to offer its body-on-frame rig in a variety of flavors.

Entry-level Wagoneer will give way to the high-zoot Grand Wagoneer — a vehicle Fiat Chrysler claims will redefine “American premium” by offering a plug-in hybrid variant and a host of “ultra-premium leading-edge features and technology.”

Alas, the real thing remains distant. Scheduled to go into production in the second quarter of 2021 at Warren Truck Assembly, the actual Grand Wagoneer is heralded by a “vision of what [the] production vehicle could be.”

Feast your eyes. (Read More…)

By on July 13, 2020

fca

There’s nothing coincidental about the timing of this vehicle’s release. Alas, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept is exactly that, a concept, though Fiat Chrysler’s off-road brand strongly hints that it will become a reality one day.

That confirmation, if it is forthcoming, will take place long after the debut of a vehicle this concept is meant to fight: the Ford Bronco. (Read More…)

By on April 7, 2020

Polestar has released details of its Precept concept, offering a reminder that this will be the vehicle that informs all future models the company produces. Jointly owned by Volvo Cars and Zhejiang Geely Holding, Polestar has morphed from the Swedish manufacturer’s partner in performance engineering into a separate brand specializing in sporting EVs.

We’ve seen the Precept before, bashing it gently in February for being a handsome sedan with a manufacturer that wasted everyone’s time (and its press release) by prattling on endlessly about green tech and sustainability. While we had hoped Polestar would remedy this in its follow-up teaser, powertrain details remain nonexistent. Considering this is a concept car, that’s not an unforgivable sin, but it’s curious a company supposedly focused on performance engineering has twice failed to discuss that aspect of the vehicle. Instead, we’re offered additional details about the model’s design — including some new photographs — as the brand continues to discuss sustainability and high-tech features.

Just enough to keep us interested. The bare minimum.  (Read More…)

By on March 4, 2020

While prophecies have a habit of coming true in films and books, they rarely come to pass here in reality. Sadly, this will probably be the case with Hyundai’s new concept EV — appropriately named the Prophecy.

Responding to a voicemail left by the God of Electrification, Hyundai has moved on what is arguably one of the best-looking concept designs since the 1938 Phantom Corsair. Black, minimalist and extremely retro-futuristic, both cars rely almost entirely on the long lines of the respective aerodynamic shells to make an impression, with small details providing additional, attention-grabbing flourishes.

Hyundai says the timeless design was intentional, yet it still manages to adhere to the brand’s “Sensuous Sportiness” design philosophy. Truth be told, we’ve had a difficult time finding a common theme among its latest concepts. Some are all angles (45 Concept) while others are all about smooth curves (Le Fil Rouge Concept). The only real through line seems to be that they all look rather good wherever they’re displayed. (Read More…)

By on February 25, 2020

While many are still under the impression that Chinese automakers will never manage to wrangle the North American automotive market, Geely’s ownership of Volvo Cars and Polestar has already proven them wrong. The Chinese manufacturer purchased Volvo in 2010, with savory bodywork and sumptuous interiors doing much of the heavy lifting with consumers. Performance-focused Polestar wasn’t purchased until a few years later, but the theme remained largely the same — move toward electrification, don’t forget about safety, and try to build the sexiest car possible while maintaining an aura of respectability.

So far, it’s worked rather well. Polestar is now eager to drive that message home via its new Precept concept vehicle. The company claims the car reveals “a vision of the brand’s future direction and a clear expression of intent.” Since we’re fluent in marketing speak, we’re pleased to tell you that sentence is not entirely meaningless.  (Read More…)

By on January 7, 2020

Sony

When it comes to forward-thinking concept vehicles, “vision” ranks among the most popular words used by automakers to convey their futuristic aspirations to the general public. Among real-world production models, the letter “S” best signifies a vehicle either at the top or bottom of its game. There’s no in-between when it comes to S; it’s either Sport, or base.

So it’s forgivable if the reader finds the name bestowed on a prototype vehicle launched Monday night at the Consumer Electronics Show to be both generic and instantly forgettable. But the Vision-S is real, and it was built by a company best known for putting music in the hands of the teeming masses, not cars. (Read More…)

By on November 20, 2019

If you’re keeping track, the Vision T Plug-in Hybrid SUV Concept is the seventh design study to roll out of Hyundai’s styling studio in recent memory. Appearing Wednesday at the L.A. Auto Show, the plug-in utility vehicle has the bad timing of debuting at the same moment Toyota unveiled a plug-in crossover you’ll soon be able to buy and drive home.

Unfortunate timing aside, the concept does give us a glimpse of Hyundai’s future. (Read More…)

By on October 23, 2019

nissan

Mazda wasn’t the only Japanese automaker to lift the sheet on an electric crossover at the Tokyo Motor Show today. Nissan got in on the game, revealing a crossover “concept” that looks ripe for the production line.

As opposed to past concepts like the IMk and IMx, this Nissan has a name — Ariya, which one assumes is pronounced “area.” The compact EV crossover also dispenses with the usual gee-whiz concept car trappings, looking very much like a vehicle bound for showrooms. Nissan leaves no doubt that the Ariya, or something almost identical to it, could soon become a reality. (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2019

Nissan plans to unveil a new concept at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. Suitable for the locale, the model is to be a fashionable EV aimed at urban commuters.

According to the manufacturer, the IMk Concept will be the best tool imaginable for that particular job. While it looks like a glitzy version of your typical Tokyo eco-box, the all-electric IMk is meant to serve as the template for the best city car ever built — likely trying its hand in markets around the world with a production version.

That said, the dimensions of the IMk will probably torpedo any ships heading to North America. At 135.2 inches long, 59.5 inches wide, and 64.7 inches tall, the model is slimmer than a Smart ForTwo and shorter/narrower than a Fiat 500. While the additional headroom will be a blessing, it’s still too small for our Rubenesque frames.  (Read More…)

By on September 18, 2019

Image: Mitsubishi

Either those fan-type objects are meant to exhaust vape clouds from the cabin (pods?), or the upcoming concept vehicle from Mitsubishi will need clearance from the FAA to visit grandma’s house. Are they speakers? Will drivers of this wildly unlikely production candidate create impromptu block parties wherever they go?

Mitsubishi isn’t saying. All we know is that the concept, bound for next month’s Tokyo Motor Show, is a plug-in hybrid, not unlike the Outlander PHEV. Interestingly, Mitsubishi opted to spell out the PHEV acronym, making the vehicle seem more futuristic than it actually is. (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2019

Audi is teasing a new model slated to debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show — an off-road specialist called the AI:TRAIL Quattro. With massive wheels and a nonexistent approach/departure angle, the conceptual crossover certainly seems ready to scurry up a mountain. But the overall design is more hyper-modern RC car than traditional baja beast.

It’s not coming entirely out of left field. Audi has shown several electrified concepts using a similarly futuristic design language, among them the AICON luxury sedan, PB18 supercar, and AI:ME city vehicle. Like the AI:TRAIL, each is designed to tackle a very specific portion of the market. All will be on hand in Frankfurt to showcase Audi’s vision of what a car could be.  (Read More…)

By on August 26, 2019

Toyota TJ Cruiser Concept

Toyota’s FJ Cruiser was big and brash — a gas-sucking, body-on frame bruiser that combined rugged off-road capability and distinctive looks with a clamshell door configuration that gives this writer goosebumps. While owners continue to enjoy high resale values, the FJ Cruiser is long dead, and pedestrian offerings like the RAV4 Adventure are not a valid alternative for true off-road minded individualists.

On paper, neither is the TJ Cruiser, a versatile 2017 concept vehicle that blends a unibody CUV with minivan trappings. It is, however, very distinctive, and it could be headed for a production line. (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2019

Hyundai is bringing a retro-future concept vehicle to the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Called the 45, the car appears to be an electrified hatchback and has the stated mission of helping the brand shape future EV designs. While we’ve only seen a single teaser image of the model thus far, we like where this is heading.

The automaker says the 45 was “inspired by looking back at the brand’s first model in the 1970s,” meaning the Ford Cortina is (and probably always was) off the table. The South Korean manufacturer is likely referencing the rear-drive Pony subcompact. It certainly appears to be the correct shape and the taillight location is similar enough for us not to rule it out. However, the total package seems to be more inspired by the DeLorean DMC-12 and 1980s concepts like the Citroën Karin or Ford Maya.  (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2019

Electric concept cars are often a snoozefest, nothing but vaporware bait aimed at the techie crowd, but a vehicle coming to Tokyo’s annual auto show in October will likely herald a production vehicle. Specifically, the Lexus brand’s first EV.

Both Toyota and its premium division plan to field a total of 10 electric models by the middle of next decade. If a report detailing the Lexus concept is anything to go on, the brand’s first electric offering might be boxy, modestly sized, and — if Lexus designers really do plan on emulating an older concept — possibly pretty ugly. (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2019

Image: Acura

Acura pulled the digital wraps off its Type S Concept two days ahead of its public debut at Monterey Car Week, heralding the Type S designation’s return to the brand’s model line. The car seen here hints at what to expect of the looming next-generation TLX and its confirmed Type S performance variant.

“Performance.” That implies something more than just a racy appearance package and maybe an upgraded brake and suspension setup, right? Ideally, yes, but in this case Acura does promise more “go” to back up the show.
(Read More…)

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