We’ve already recapped our favorite economy cars, hybrids and SUVs. Now it’s time for the concept cars to take center stage. This auto-show season carmakers were remarkably frugal in debuting new concepts. A stagnant economy and rocky financial situations for many of the major players might have had something to do wtih that, but we don’t like excuses. Those that brought the goods get our praise. Here are the concepts we’d most like to see go into production.
David Thomas: Land Rover LRX
While I’d really like to see more interesting hybrids on the market, like the Toyota A-BAT, Honda CR-Z and GMC Denali XT, the only concept that floored me with how cool it and had a possible segment to conquer was the diminutive Land Rover. If Land Rover could come out with a miniature all-wheel-drive hatchback before Mini, I think it could bring in a lot of folks looking to downsize while retaining functionality and capability in their car.
Kelsey Mays: Kia Koup
Odds are better than even that Kia’s Koup concept will see the light of day, and I’m excited about that prospect. This is what Honda Civic coupe owners wish their car looked like: crisp overhangs, a succinct tail, gorgeous two-piece wheels and a confident face. The turbo four-cylinder holds interesting possibilities, though sky-high mileage probably isn’t one of them. All the same, if the next Spectra looks anything like this it might be able to gain traction against some well-established opponents.
Mike Hanley: Buick Riviera
Buick needs a true flagship car to knock some of the dust off the marque, and GM has one in the Riviera concept. This car’s level of style and sophistication could be the starting point to make the Buick brand attractive to a new generation of buyers.
Joe Wiesenfelder: Hummer HX
There were many concepts this season that are likely to become real products, so I chose among those that aren't a sure thing. The LRX knocked me out, too, but I'm not sure if the market calls for it. The Hummer HX, however, would be an interesting twist for the brand. To date it’s had the big Hummer, the other big Hummer and the small Hummer, but many people can't tell one from the other. The HX is distinctive, sporty and capable-looking, and it would better compete with the likes of the Wrangler Rubicon.