Generally speaking, automakers debut two types of concept cars: either a bold, attention-grabbing vision of the future, or an advanced teaser for a production car arriving a year or two hence. But sometimes manufacturers produce a concept both daring and workable. The company could produce that car, and if they did, it would, inevitably, be awesome. But that’s about the time when the bean counters become involved and shift the discussion back toward a new compact crossover.
Here are eight great concepts from the 2010s that fit that mold. They turned heads and got people talking…yet for whatever practical reason, none of them made it into production. Yet, at least. Let’s not give up hope.
Mini Rocketman (2011)
Mini produced an array of goofy-looking crossovers during the 2010s. The Rocketman concept was the precise opposite: a fun little city car that was about the size of the original Mini, used space innovatively and looked great,.
Toyota FT4x (2017)
Toyota isn’t joining Land Rover and Ford’s retro off-roaders with an FJ40 reprise; they already tried that. But the rugged little FT4x — a box with decent ground clearance and clever use of its cargo footprint — would have been a fun, practical affordable car for on-the-go millennials.
Buick Avista (2016)
Buick unveiled a stunning, RWD sports coupe Avista concept with 400 horsepower at the Detroit Auto Show in 2016. It won awards. Everyone loved it. Then Buick cast it aside for the…uh…Encore GX?
Volkswagen I.D.Buggy (2019)
VW built a modern, all-electric take on the awesome Meyers Manx dune buggy to show the things the company could do with its versatile MEB platform for electric vehicles. But it, sadly, won’t be among the things VW will actually be doing with said platform. (Fingers crossed we at least get the EV wagon.)
Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato (2019)
Lamborghini jacked up and retuned a Huracan Evo to make it into an absurd 640-hp rally monster. It’s stupid and decadent — but stupidity and decadence is why Lamborghini exists. Here’s hoping this concept still makes it to production…
Jaguar C-X75 (2010)
The C-X75 was a hybrid supercar concept Jaguar built with the Williams F1 team and designed by Ian Callum. The gorgeous concept called for jet turbines to power a quad-motor electric powertrain putting out a combined 778 hp. It had swan doors, and was fit for James Bond (or at least one of his bad guys). Jaguar, however, scuppered a planned limited production run.
Mercedes-Benz Vision Ener-G-Force (2012)
Mercedes stuck with traditional styling for the latest G-Wagen. But the Ener-G-Force said “screw it” and wondered what a G-Class would look like with radical, futuristic styling appropriate for the then-far-off year of 2025. The future looked muscular and awesome, apparently.
Nissan IDx Nismo (2013)
With the IDx, Nissan built a simple, RWD sports car for the tuner crowd. The IDx concept looked fantastic, packed 200 horsepower, had a six-speed manual — and would have gone head to head with the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be.
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