Concept vehicles are dream-inducing machines, which provide a window into possible automotive futures. They’re also often the vehicles that foreshadow new design and technology trends among the manufacturers.
Many are design studies pushed to extremes and conceived mainly to draw attention to the know-how of the automakers’ design teams. Others are more reality-based creatures, created to check the pulse of consumers. And some are virtually production-ready models, just a step removed from the assembly line, dealerships and ultimately your driveway.
In all cases, designers and engineers at the car companies are to be saluted, because these prototypes reflect the enormous, near-lightning-speed progress being made in the automotive domain and in our society at large, in terms of our relationship with the motorized vehicle. Recent years have seen vehicles become increasingly connected – the ultimate expression of the Internet of Things concept, in a sense – and become comprehensive mobility, work and entertainment solutions.
After a busy, creatively vibrant year in the industry, the team at Auto123.com undertook the exercise of determining which concept vehicles most stood out in 2017. We looked back over the year’s main auto shows – Detroit and Los Angeles, Montreal and Toronto, Chicago, Geneva, Shanghai, Frankfurt, Tokyo and even Las Vegas (for SEMA) – and dug around our own reporting to come up with our list. Choices were plentiful and difficult to make and our restricted list had no room for quality models like the Audi Q8 Sport, Nissan IMx, MINI Electric, Subaru VIZIV Performance, Rinspeed Oasis and Toyota’s FT-4X and FT-AC utility concepts.
Here are the ten that ultimately made the cut; our top 10 concept vehicles of 2017, in no particular order, are:
Its so-so name notwithstanding, this radical self-driving concept car (no steering wheel, no pedals, no dials) has a lot of irresistible qualities, starting with its downright fantastic exterior and interior design, which is highly personalizable to boot. It can cover 800 km on a single full charge. The high end of Audi’s lineup looks to be taking a truly exciting direction!