They may or may not make production, but they sure are cool.
Concept cars are extremely fun to look at. Automakers use these to push the boundaries of style and tech, using huge wheels, crazy doors, and completely impractical interiors. It's pretty easy to spot when a concept car has no chance of making it to production, but a common theme of this year's LA Auto Show seemed to be concepts that will actually go on sale. Here are the five we think have what it takes to end up at dealership lots in the near future.
There were several SUV concepts at the show, and the Subaru Viziv-7 Concept was one of the most interesting. The Viziv-7 previews a seven-seat SUV, which would be completely new ground for the Japanese carmaker. Subaru is focused on increasing its sales around the world, and an SUV like this is crucial to its sales in the US. This new model could be a future rival for the Volkswagen Atlas, and with those looks, we bet it could succeed. Unfortunately, Subaru has a habit of under-delivering on its gorgeous concepts, so the finished project may not look this good. Either way, Subaru needs a seven-seat SUV to cater to the US market.
Some concept cars looks more production-ready than others, and the Passat GT is definitely one of these. In fact, it looks like it could already be on sale, and we certainly hope that Volkswagen does decide to sell it. Amazingly, this concept doesn't use any fancy turbochargers or hybrid technology. Instead, the Passat GT utilizes one of our favorite Volkswagen engines of all time, the VR6. Specifically, the concept uses a 280-hp 3.6-liter TSI VR6 mated to a 6-speed DSG transmission. The VR6 was one of the sweetest-sounding V6 engines ever made, and we would love to see it come back to prominence in the VW lineup.
The SUV trend was certainly a common theme at LA, but so was electrification. The I-Pace shows that Jaguar is completely in tune with what US consumers seem to be demanding. The F-Pace already showed that Jaguar can build an awesome SUV, and the I-Pace will show that the company is ready to go toe-to-toe with Tesla. The I-Pace is an all-electric SUV with 395 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque and 220 miles of range. If Jaguar can figure out how to make it reasonably affordable, we think that this concept has a lot of potential to spawn future electric Jaguar models.
The Hyundai Ioniq doesn't look like much, but it could be one of the most important concepts at the LA Auto Show. You might not be able to tell by looking at it, but the Ioniq is Hyundai's attempt to make self-driving affordable. It comes equipped with forward facing radar, as well as three cameras that detect pedestrians, lane markings and traffic signals. It also has a GPS antenna, high-definition mapping data, and blind spot detection. All of these systems combine to allow the Ioniq to drive itself on real roads. Tesla's Autopilot is close to autonomous driving, but Hyundai wants to make this feature more affordable in the future.
The Ram Rebel TRX was one of our favorite concept cars at the show. This concept is powered by a 575 horsepower 6.2-liter HEMI V8 and would be a major competitor to the Ford F-150 Raptor. Ram has created some incredible concepts in the past, and none of them have ever measured up to the name and prestige of the Raptor. This Rebel TRX is the best example of a complete package that has incredible looks, as well as a nice interior. We don't know if this truck will ever reach production, but it would be very cool. Hopefully the Hellcat engine finds its way into a production pickup truck soon because the combination is just so awesome.
Honorable mention goes to the Cadillac Escala. Having already seen the Escala at Pebble Beach, we were equally excited to see it again at LA. With an elegant five-door liftback design and one of the most opulent interiors we've ever seen, the Escala is what Cadillac desperately needs to be considered a world-class luxury automaker again.