At the 2007 Detroit Auto Show, we found the most outrageous concepts on display. These are cars that aren't likely to hit the road in anything like their present form.
In its post-RSX world, Acura explores a new sports-car design for its lineup. Smooth surfaces cut by long lines give the Advanced Sports Car a markedly flowing look, while the bubble canopy would seem at home on an aircraft. Although it shares some attributes with the Acura Advanced Sedan concept launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Advanced Sports Car is much better looking.
Mazda continues its exploration into its flow design style, originally seen at the Los Angeles Auto Show with the Mazda Nagare. The Mazda Ryuga's exterior is similar to the Nagare's, with striations that mimic the way sand looks when water flows over it. The Ryuga includes a more realistic interior design than the Nagare's single seats down the center.
The organic shapes of the Ryuga's interior mimic the external design style, incorporating the concept of flow. The Ryuga's interior is marred only by the rectangular LCD in the middle of the dashboard, which doesn't adhere to the design concept.
ChangFeng had this little truck on display at Detroit. The UU-CT3 is powered by a 1.4-liter in-line four-cylinder engine. It has room for two, with a pickup truck bed in back. ChangFeng expects to start selling trucks in the U.S. within two years.
The Chevrolet Volt shows off the capabilities of new composite materials from GE and GM's new E-flex drivetrain. The car is driven by motors that get electricity from a lithium-ion battery pack. A gas engine generates electricity for the battery when it needs a charge.
From the Nissan press kit, the Bevel seems designed to be a mobile toolbox for retired men. Pictures of woodworking suggest the Bevel could be used as a utility truck to build a cabin. Its shape gives it plenty of cargo space, and it includes a set of cargo latches integrated into the roof.
The steering wheel of the Bevel uses an aircraft-style yoke. Instead of an instrument cluster, a screen in the dashboard can show speed while under way, pictures while relaxing after a hard day's work on the cabin, or the controls for the remote control glider stowed in the display vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show.
Ford teamed up with trailer-maker Airstream to build the concept Airstream. Ford says the Airstream is designed as a crossover vehicle, an SUV on a car platform, although it looks more like a minivan to us. All the doors on the Airstream use different shapes.
The interior of the Airstream is inspired by the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. The dashboard has touch controls, and the seats have a podlike shape. Fortunately, the Airstream doesn't have a pod bay door.
The Airstream uses an electric drivetrain currently under development by Ford. The HySeries Drive uses lithium-ion batteries to power drive motors. A fuel-cell stack converts hydrogen to electricity to recharge the batteries as needed.
The Lincoln MKR is a very nice-looking sedan design that mixes futuristic elements with the practical. Although unmistakably a Lincoln, its lines are smoother than those of any production car. Lincoln has specified a twin-turbo V-6, dubbed TwinForce, for the MKR, which puts out 415 horsepower. This engine will appear in future Lincoln production models.
Lincoln places an oversize version of its star logo on the back and front of the MKR. The car also gets a clear roof canopy, an element that has appeared on two other concepts recently. The taillights are made of a single strip of LEDs running across the tail.
Lincoln shoots for a luxurious and futuristic look for the interior. The dashboard is designed on two levels, while the console floats over the transmission tunnel. Recycled wood covers the dashboard and console.
Taking a severe departure from Jaguar's high-cabined S-type sedans, the C-XF takes a cue from last year's new XK coupe design. The result is a sedan with unprecedented svelteness and an aggressive hood that signals power. The four doors are smoothly integrated with the sides of the car, but rear-seat headroom looks to be in short supply.
With the FT-HS, Toyota set out to design a midpriced, ecologically sound, high-performance sports car. Toyota calls its design theme "subtractive mass," which involves making the car look as light as it is. The FT-HS uses a 3.5-liter V-6 paired with a hybrid system to drive the rear wheels, giving it about 400 horsepower and a 0-to-60mph time of less than 5 seconds.
The FT-HS can seat four people with the top up, or two when the top is retracted and stowed. With its hubless steering wheel, the speedometer can be adjusted closer to the driver, so less eye travel is required to look at the speed while driving.
Kia designed the Kue as a crossover vehicle, but with more sporty intent than practical. The Kue has giant 22-inch wheels, all-wheel drive, and a big 4.6-liter supercharged V-8, producing 400 horsepower.
Kia focused on simplicity for the interior, putting driver controls and gauges in a pod in the center of the steering wheel. The pod and center stack use motion- and touch-sensitive controls for adjusting the stereo and climate.