The best concept cars and debuts of CES 2020

From movie-inspired concepts to electric SUVs and, yes, even a flying taxi, these are the biggest automotive debuts of CES.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
4 min read

Every year, the automotive presence at CES gets bigger and bigger. CES 2020 saw more new cars and concept than ever before, and we don't see this trend slowing down anytime soon.

A number of companies use CES to show off connected car services and new technologies, and be sure to check out a list of our favorites. But as for the brand-new cars and concepts -- from movie-inspired creations to freaking flying taxis -- these are the things that wowed us most at CES 2020.

Sony's Vision-S concept packs a number of new technologies

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Sony Vision-S concept

No, Sony is not entering the car-building business -- at least, not anytime soon. But what better way for Sony to showcase its new connected car platform than to actually put it into a fully baked vehicle.

Called Vision-S, this concept packs a number of technologies that can be used in new electric vehicles. Some 33 sensors are embedded around the car, to detect people and other vehicles, and inside, Sony's 360 Reality Audio offers an incredible sound experience, complete with speakers built into the seats.

Sony already has a number of partnerships with Japanese automakers, so it stands to reason the electronics giant could soon supply these connected car technologies, too. Either way, Sony's Vision-S was one of the most surprising debuts at CES 2020, and one we'll be following up with for months (and years) to come.

Fisker Ocean waves hello and shows off its studly form

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Fisker Ocean

Ol' Henrik Fisker is at it again, and this time, his upstart automaker is on the verge of launching an electric SUV at a very attractive price point. Officially debuting at CES this week, the new Ocean will go into production near the end of 2021, and its platform will go on to underpin two other new Fisker products.

The big news about the Ocean is Fisker's announcement of its starting price: $37,995 before federal tax incentives. Furthermore, Fisker says it only costs $250 to reserve one, and you can lease one for $379 per month. All of this makes the Ocean less expensive than a .

There's still a lot we don't know about the Ocean, like how big its battery is and how far it'll go on a single charge. Fisker estimates an 80-kilowatt-hour battery should deliver a driving range of somewhere between 250 and 300 miles, but we'll believe it when we see it. 2020 just started, so the end of 2021 is still a long way away.

Hyundai partners up with Uber Elevate, debuts air taxi concept S-A1

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Hyundai S-A1 Urban Air Mobility concept

Nothing says "the future" like flying cars. And though this isn't a textbook example of a flying car (it's not a car at all), this creation is important to the automotive space because of the two companies behind it: Hyundai and Uber .

Hyundai is partnering with Uber to build flying taxis for the ride-hailing service, as part of the new Uber Elevate urban air travel service. This S-A1 aircraft can seat five people, including the pilot, and has four electrically driven props with a vertical orientation. Think of it as a giant quadcopter drone.

All of this is part of Hyundai and Uber's vision for air travel to get around and between congested cities, ideally connecting to a whole network of autonomous pods that can move people from place to place at ground level. It's definitely one of the more pie-in-the-sky (literally) debuts to come out of CES 2020, but hey, anything's possible, right?

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR is Pandora on four wheels

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Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept

You'd be right to say this concept looks like something out of the movie Avatar. The 2009 James Cameron epic was the inspiration for this forward-thinking concept, which works to "merge" man and machine, as Mercedes-Benz says.

Inside, the Vision AVTR can read your pulse and sense your breathing, and a huge display up front shows visions of the world outside. The four wheels light up and can pivot to make the car crab walk sideways, and the back hatch is covered in 33 "bionic flaps," which can move in different directions and house cameras inside.

Does the Vision AVTR preview a new production model? Absolutely not. But it does provide a look at how a vehicle could be designed for the far-out Avatar world. There's a lot more than meets the eye here, and we had a chance to talk to James Cameron himself to get the scoop on this crazy partnership.

Jeep's new 4xe models pack plug-in power

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Jeep 4xe plug-in hybrids

Jeep will eventually offer electrified versions of all its vehicles, from mild-hybrid eTorque engines to full-on EVs. A new half step will launch later this year, called 4xe, which is Jeep-speak for a new, plug-in hybrid powertrain.

The , and will all get this new PHEV option, though we don't know anything more than that right now. In fact, we can't even say for sure if these three SUVs will all use the exact same 4xe system, or if the plug-in setup is scalable for different engine sizes.

Thankfully, we won't have to wait too long before Jeep officially spills the beans. The Wrangler 4xe is expected to debut with all its details at the Geneva Motor Show in March, with the Compass and Renegade following in April.