The design studies of today; the bestsellers of tomorrow.
Though auto shows are understandably where the latest and greatest motoring wares are showcased before appearing in showrooms and dealership forecourts, they’re not the only cars being displayed. More often than not, one-off concept cars are revealed as well, in a bid to test the water before putting design language tends and model types into production. It’s quite an old trend, this, dating back to the 1930s with the Buick Y-Job – so, it’s very fitting that all the Detroit 2016 concepts we know of so far have all been designed in the United States.
Since they’re all unofficially home-grown concept cars, we’ll start off this design study run-down with the one from Acura (a brand that first launched in North America, less we forget). As with many concept cars, we don’t have a huge amount to go on at the moment, but Acura has at least provided us with a solitary teaser image for us to prune and infer details from. Acura’s also been kind enough to reveal that the concept car will be called the “Precision”along with stating that it’s a preview of the firm’s future design language (not that we can tell much from the picture, mind).
The bits of the body shape that can be deduced from the picture, though, does indicate that Acura is planning on expanding its SUV model line-up (an understandable move if true, considering how much money can be made if Acura gets the formula right). Specifically, the sloping roofline that can be seen in the picture suggests a coupe-SUV in the pipelines – not too dissimilar to the old ZDX, and potentially meaning Acura is cooking up an MDX-based rival to the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE. What the other styling bits are won't be known until the Detroit Auto Show's opening day next week. Acura's gotta keep something behind to surprise us with, after all!
Keeping with the SUV theme, Kia is also bringing a luxury 4x4 design study to this year's Detroit Auto Show, albeit one that appears to be far more conventional. Unlike the Acura Precision Concept, for instance, the Kia SUV looks incredibly boxy - though that isn't too much of a surprise, given it comes out of the same studio that gave us the Kia Soul. At least Kia's kept the name of this SUV under wraps for the time being, and has been pretty open with the fact that this design study is trialing the popularity of a large, premium SUV from Kia. Plenty of "advanced technology" will be featured too, though what it is won't be known until next week.
Finally, Audi is set to unveil its own concept car, though what it will be exactly is totally up in the air at the moment. Other than saying it will be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell system, we have no idea what this design study will be. The word is, though, that this fuel cell concept (which will almost certainly be referred to officially as an "h-tron" model by Audi) will be an evolution of the hybrid e-tron quattro SUV design study that was first revealed at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show.