The Concept Vehicles of this Year’s NAIAS in Detroit
Photos by Megan Green and Derek Mau
While we understand that not everyone enjoys surprises as much as we do, it’s always a little disappointing to arrive at an auto show and realize that most of the vehicles scheduled to be introduced have already actually debuted over the internet. For whatever reason, automakers just can’t wait until the actual show to unveil their latest models anymore. It seems, however, that they tend to be more patient with the introductions of their concept vehicles—teasing us with the only the tiniest glimpses of the soon-to-debut concepts in the days leading up to each show. As always, there were a number of impressive concept vehicle introductions at NAIAS this year. If you weren’t lucky enough to attend the show, however, here’s a brief overview of the concepts that were on display.
Promising “a glimpse into future Hyundai premium vehicle design,” Hyundai introduced its HCD-14 concept on the first day of NAIAS. With an elongated, Maserati-like roofline and highly stylized headlights framing a blunt front end, Hyundai says the HCD-14 concept will inspire the next generation of the Genesis sedan. Though it’s unlikely that all of the futuristic features of the HCD-14 will find themselves in the next Genesis, we were particularly impressed by its eye tracking and gesture-comprehending technology.
Of all the concept cars making their debuts in Detroit, perhaps least was known in advance about the Toyota Furia. Upon its reveal at NAIAS, however, we learned that the sporty Furia is a concept of the next generation Toyota Corolla. The dramatic styling of the Furia hints at big changes for the upcoming Corolla, which Toyota hopes will impress with an intense, curb-appealing design and an assortment of technological advancements.
Honda Urban SUV
Honda is hoping to expand its North American lineup heading into the 2013 and 2014 model years, and one of the ways they are planning on doing so is with a Fit-based crossover. The small crossover, which will fall in Honda’s lineup below the CR-V, was previewed in Detroit with the Urban SUV Concept. Featuring both a short front and rear overhang, the concept’s styling was unfortunately as run-of-the-mill as the Fit’s. Thankfully, however, the Urban SUV Concept appeared to have taken most of its cues from Honda’s CR-V in terms of capability and comfort.
Ford Atlas F-150 Concept
Not one to be outdone by the likes of General Motors, which brought its redesigned 2014 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra to Detroit, Ford previewed the future of the F-150 pickup at NAIAS with their 2015 Ford F-150 Atlas Concept. Scheduled to launch in the fall of 2014, Ford says the next generation F150 will lose 700-750 pounds and gain a 20% increase in fuel efficiency. The Atlas Concept impressed with a sculpted hood and redesigned headlights, which both nicely complimented the F-150’s traditionally prominent grille.
Currently marketing only five vehicles, Ford’s luxury arm previewed its sixth model in Detroit with the Lincoln MKC Concept. Though the automaker said the MKC will be largely based on the Ford Escape, the concept’s design was distinctly “Lincoln.” Split in the center by the brand’s logo, the unique two-part grille featured on the MKC was particularly well received—as was its panoramic roof and its taillights, which span the entire width of the crossover.
With only a few days to spare before NAIAS, Nissan announced that it would be bringing its Resonance Concept to Detroit. Described as “the latest in a series of envelope pushing crossover designs,” the Resonance offered a peek at what the next generation of the Nissan Murano could look like. Highlighted by a deeply creased front end and pinwheel-inspired rims, the concept’s design was one of the more futuristic on display at NAIAS.
BMW 4 Series Coupe Concept
Though BMW brought the 4 Series Coupe to Detroit in concept form, it really wasn’t too far off from what a lot of automotive experts are expecting the production model to look like. Intended to preview the replacement of BMW’s 3 Series Coupe, the concept was merely a larger, more aggressively styled version of the outgoing model. Scheduled to begin production later in the year, we’ll have to wait and see how much of the concept’s styling and size it will retain.
Acura NSX Concept
Originally introduced at the 2011 LA Auto Show, the next evolution of the NSX Concept revealed a number of many true-to-life features—some of which stand in stark contrast its forerunner. Namely, the concept is hybrid and all-wheel drive, unlike the iconic rear-wheel original. This employs Acura’s latest technology, using a two-motor electric-drive unit that can vary torque to the front wheels during cornering. There’s also a dual-clutch transmission with a built-in electric motor that’s said to aid acceleration.
Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept
Developed specifically to appeal to North American consumers, Volkswagen introduced its CrossBlue Concept at NAIAS. With a body style reminiscent of a less boxy Ford Flex, the CrossBlue is powered by a 2.0-L turbo diesel engine and two additional electric motors. Working together, the powertrains are able to make-305hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. If Volkswagen decides to produce the fuel efficient CrossBlue, it will be in the form of a brand-new model.
# # #