Car designers all say the same thing: coming up with a concept car that immediately turns heads is hard enough.
Making one that blends elements from the past and present with design ideas for the future is harder still.
Actually showing one that says “follow us, we’re heading in a different direction”, takes some sort of commitment.
1. Citroen Cactus
Citroen has gone back to its core philosophies of comfort and simplicity. Cactus designer Mark Lloyd said: “We asked ourselves what was really important to customers. One theme that emerged was a need to reduce the stress and complexity of living with a car, our aim therefore was to simplify everything.” Evidence of Citroen’s less-is-more mentality – something it’s excelled with in the past with models like the 2CV – is everywhere on the Cactus concept. Cactus goes into production in Europe early next year.
2. Jaguar C-X17
This SUV has been 10 years in the planning, since Jaguar thankfully steered away from building one based on the Ford Explorer. The Celestial Blue paintwork hides an all-new aluminum platform that will underpin a shorter-wheelbase small saloon – a BMW 3-Series rival – from 2015 onwards, followed by a production version of this SUV. If the C-X16 (which morphed from concept car to the F-Type virtually unchanged) is anything to go by, what you see here is pretty much the production car, minus the sci-fi interior.
3. Volvo Coupe
It’s billed by Volvo as the next-generation P1800 – the stylish two-door from the 1960s used by Roger Moore in TV’s The Saint – and is the first of three show cars showing Volvo’s new design language. The long bonnet, curve to the tail and glazed area pushed back towards the car’s rear are all inspired by the old model. The Coupe also provides clues as to the look of some next-generation Volvos. The large, flat shape of the bonnet is set to become a brand hallmark, as is the floating grille with its enlarged iron mark logo.
4. Kia Niro
The Niro continues Kia’s rich vein of form in the design department, headed by ex-VW Group star Peter Schreyer. Niro designer Gregory Guillaume says the inspiration behind the small crossover was the Paris-Dakar rally-winning Porsche 959 from the 1980s: “I love the idea of a supercar on stilts, and the Niro has the same super-dynamic look at the Dakar-winning 959.” The styling follows family form, featuring a tiger-nose grille, wide-set headlights and cube-shaped quad-LED daytime running lights taken from the Kia Cee’d GT.
5. Audi Nanuk
The concept “opens a new chapter in the Audi design language,” says the carmaker. Some of its design themes are set to feature on its next SUVs and the next-generation R8. It is shorter than an Audi Q5, wider than a Q7 and just 85mm taller than an R8. The Nanuk’s body is built from aluminium, while anything painted red on the exterior is made from carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP). It is a fully functioning prototype, sporting a new V10 diesel engine behind the driver’s head, delivering 410kW/1000Nm.