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2019 L.A. Auto Show: All the Concept Cars

Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport R

The 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show brought out some futuristic concept cars for a world decades from now, and also some hints at the design direction some automakers are going to take in the nearer future. Some of these concepts are making their global debuts, while others are simply on the Los Angeles leg of their world tour.

Related: More 2019 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

It’s probably not a surprise that electrification continues to be a significant trend in concept cars (and production cars) given that these days, a significant portion of the world is, you know, literally on fire at any given moment. Let’s check out what automakers put on display in L.A. to show you their vision of the future.

Acura Type S Concept

Acura Type S Concept

One of the non-debutants and a near-future look at what Acura might do with a performance lineup that goes beyond its current A-Spec trim level, the Type S Concept will … [Maury Povich voice] … not be mass-produced. Which is a shame, because it’s one of the best-looking Acuras I’ve ever seen. The good news about the impending return of Type S models is that they have typically involved actual performance-boosting upgrades instead of just styling upgrades that are all show and no go. According to Acura, the first of its models to get the Type S treatment will be the TSX sedan.

Hyundai Vision T Plug-In Hybrid SUV Concept

Hyundai Vision T Plug-In Hybrid SUV Concept

Total electrification isn’t necessarily an option for every potential buyer — lots of us don’t have the ability to charge an electric car effectively at home. With that in mind, Hyundai gave us a plug-in hybrid concept that offers electric power with an internal combustion engine for longer drives. The Vision T Concept doesn’t come with a lot of powertrain details but, based on its dimensions and design, it does hint at what the next Tucson compact SUV might look like. The active grille design and fanciful lighting elements might not make it to production, and a production Tucson is also likely to have side mirrors and door handles, but we won’t quibble for now.

Kia Seltos X-Line Concepts

Kia Seltos X-Line Active Trail Concept

The Seltos is (finally) here! It’s a production car! But the clever folks at Kia decided that the Seltos, like the Telluride before it, needed some concepts to show that it’s really a capable SUV and not a high-riding hatchback. The one pictured here is the X-Line Trail Attack concept, which features a 2-inch lift, off-road tires wrapped around custom 17-inch wheels, a hidden winch, eight off-road lights and a custom roof rack. Also at the show is the X-Line Urban Concept, which features many similar upgrades but ditches the off-road tires in favor of street rubber. It also gets a custom hood with a functional air intake. While the Trail Attack is designed to do some light off-roading and trail driving, the Urban concept is supposed to take over the city streets and fear no pothole. Mostly they just look pretty cool; hopefully Kia will offer official accessories or encourage a vibrant aftermarket community for it.

Volkswagen ID. Space Vizzion

Volkswagen ID. Space Vizzion

The Audi RS6 Avant was possibly only the second-coolest station wagon in Los Angeles thanks to this all-electric concept from Volkswagen. With a potential 300 miles of all-electric range and an estimated 5-second 0-60-mph time, the ID. Space Vizzion has a lot of promise as a production vehicle. It also features an interior upholstered in a vegan material partially made from apple juice production leftovers. The augmented reality head-up display is maybe a bit far-fetched for immediate production, and the electric longboards stored inside are probably best left to a dealership’s accessories department in favor of extra storage for whatever the customer wants, but my bet is we’ll see something like the ID. Space Vizzion sooner rather than later.

Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport R

Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport R

Volkswagen is returning to the Baja 1000 endurance race with this extraordinarily wide Atlas Cross Sport R racer, which shares little in common with the new Atlas Cross Sport beyond its name. Developed in conjunction with Tanner Foust and Rhys Millen — two guys who are paid to be much better drivers than you could ever dream of being — the Atlas Cross Sport R will have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that Volkswagen says is capable of producing 600 hp. For the sake of reliability over the grueling desert race, the engine will be detuned to a measly 480 ponies. The engine comes from VW’s WRC and rallycross factory race programs. VW says the Baja racing program will be carbon-neutral because of a carbon-offset initiative that will plant over 1,000 trees.

Karma SC2 Concept

Karma SC2

Could the Karma SC2 concept become a production car? Sure. Will it? That depends on the long-term survivability of Karma Automotive. I hope it can survive, because the SC2 might be the best-looking car at the entire auto show. Even the ostentatious winged doors look just right on this sleek, long-nose coupe. And if looks aren’t enough, the SC2 boasts a dual-electric motor setup, one on each axle, that produces what Karma says is 1,100 hp and 10,500 pounds-feet of torque. That gives the SC2 an estimated 0-60-mph time of 1.9 seconds. Inside is a bevy of futuristic gadgetry and safety tech, including the necessary bits for what Karma calls “a safe and realistic autonomous future.” (But why anyone would cede driving control of their 1,100-hp hypercar to a computer is beyond me.)

Vision Mercedes Simplex

Vision Mercedes Simplex

The third car on this list to use some form of “Vision” in its name, the Vision Mercedes Simplex from Mercedes-Benz is an extremely funky and futuristic car inspired by the 1901 Mercedes 35 PS, one of the first cars to look, well, like a car and not just a horseless carriage. Mercedes-Benz considers the 1901 model the moment the brand was birthed. The all-electric concept features a digital “radiator grille” that displays vehicle status information, while inside, “The driver is only shown precisely the information they actually require in the specific driving situation” thanks to a minimalistic user interface.

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