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Automotive Concept Cars

Concept cars is a term that the majority of car owners or drivers know nothing about. I had always thought that a concept auto was the clay model that is made for a new car style. That’s nowhere near close, because concept cars are actual real cars built and ready to drive. A concept vehicle is a show car or prototype meant to be driven around to showcase a new concept, style, technology, etc.

Concept vehicles are usually shown at the big motor shows throughout the world. They’re shown to consumers to gauge their reactions to radical design changes or concepts. The idea of the concept or show car was developed by the GM designer Harley Earl. The concept auto is a real car, but it never goes into production directly. It would have to changed for safety, practicality and costs to be a production vehicle instead of just a concept vehicle.

Concept cars have extreme or radical engines, designs, materials, layouts, doors or things not found on production cars. Most concept cars never get past the scale model or computer drawings. A small numbers of concept vehicles are actually fully functional and some can’t even move faster than 10 mph safely. After the concept vehicle is done being used, the cars are usually destroyed but some survive in company museum or in storage. The 1954 concept car Lincoln Futura was in a custom car shop for years until it was used as the Batmobile in the Batman TV series in 1966.

There are some concept cars that are well known for one reason or another. The Buick Y Job was designed in the 1930s by Harley Earl and is considered to be the first concept vehicle. The General Motors Le Sabre built in 1951 introduced the 12 volt electrics and aluminum 215 ci V8. The 1959 Cadillac Cyclone was one of Harley Earl’s last designs. Chevrolet Volt is one of the first plug in hybrid electric vehicle concept cars.

A concept vehicle that I would never want to see in production is the Ford Nucleon, a nuclear powered car. MIT worked with Frank Gehry to develop the MIT Car concept vehicle. Pontiac’s Bonneville Special was Pontiac’s first two seater sports car and debuted in the 1954 Motorama. Another Pontiac is the Club de Mer an all stainless steel sportscar from 1956. The Lancia Megagamma was the prototype for the current minivan. Volvo’s YCC was the first car designed entirely by women.

Nissan Displays Its Pathfinder Concept at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show

Nissan has recently displayed one of its latest vehicle models and this is what the company is referring to as the “Pathfinder concept” at the 2012 Detroit auto show. Although Nissan is considering this vehicle as the concept of their next-generation Pathfinder SUV, a lot of car experts are arguing that what was actually seen on the auto show was the same exact vehicle that would be carrying the 2013 model year and will probably hit the market this fall. The arguments provided by the various car experts who were able to take a closer look at the Pathfinder that was displayed on the auto show were based mainly on the series of spy photos of the vehicle that were released last month.

Although Nissan refused to reveal some of the basic information about the upcoming 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, a lot of rumours and speculations regarding the features of the SUV have been spreading and many automotive experts are confident that most of these are true. In fact, a number of the vehicle’s characteristics that were previously mentioned on these rumours were actually seen on the Pathfinder that was placed on display at the auto show.

One of the most popular speculations is that the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder was designed with three-row seats and could accommodate up to seven passengers. This might probably be true since the vehicle shown on the 2012 Detroit auto show is large enough to seat up to seven passengers.

In addition to this, the exterior design of the upcoming 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is more refined and attractive compared to its predecessor. The latest model is less boxy and more aerodynamic. It is also equipped with angled front fascia and flared fenders. Aside from that the vehicle’s contour looks handsome even at the first glance. Due to these, a most car experts expect that the next-generation Pathfinder would probably establish a lead in its segment.

Under the hood, the Pathfinder concept flaunts a refined version of the V-6 engine used by its predecessor and this engine would most likely be carried over when the vehicle hits the production line. The engine found on the concept was actually a 3.5-liter 6-cylinder that pumps out up to 265 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft. of torque. This is mated to a continuously variable transmission or CVT. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder would surely be offered with a standard front-wheel drive system and an optional all-wheel drive system.

Kia’s Rondo SX Concept Revealed at 2007 Chicago Auto Show

The ongoing Chicago Auto Show has seen great cars being unveiled one after the other. Most of the cars being shown at the said event are concept vehicles that will in the near future be available for the public. One such concept car that will have a long line of people waiting for its release is the Kia Rondo SX concept vehicle.

The concept car is based on the Kia Rondo unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November last year. The new concept vehicle is the realization of Kia of their “Exciting and Enabling” brand direction.

“We have positioned the all-new 2007 Rondo as a vehicle of function and versatility,” Len Hunt said. Hunt is the executive vice president and COO of Kia Motors America. “The Rondo SX Concept is proof that smart, spacious vehicles don’t need to be boring, and that consumers can still be passionate about a daily driver,” Hunt added further.

The concept car uses design elements that are employed by the current Kia SX models. The aggressive looking front and rear fascias are just some of the design characteristics that are being used by Kia models like the Rio and the Spectra. Aside from that, the concept crossover vehicle also employs sportier grill inserts. The addition of such design increases the aesthetic value of the vehicle.

To make the SX concept of the Rondo more aerodynamic, the roof rails present on other trim package of the Rondo were nowhere to be seen on the concept vehicle. The absence of the roof rails decreased dramatically the coefficient of drag of the vehicle. The door handles and side moldings are finished in contrasting colors which gives the car a soft and fashionable overall finish. The Kia Rondo SX Concept also comes with an accessory body kit which is also available on the other trim packages of the Rondo.

The interior of the concept vehicle exudes a sports car luxurious feel, thanks to the materials used and the finishes utilized. The black leather that wraps the steering wheel which is common on SX trim packages of other Kia models is also present in the Kia Rondo SX Concept. The seats, meanwhile, are upholstered in grey leather with red leather trimmings around the grey Alcantara inserts. Stainless steel sports pedals are employed by the SX concept and this departs from the black theme that the current Rondo models use on their brake pedals. The center stack, shifter surround, and the door switch trims are characterized by an accented platinum look.

The concept car is equipped with a 2.7 liter double overhead cam V6 engine. The powerplant is optimized via a cold-air intake and a cat-back exhaust system which reduces back pressure from the exiting exhaust gas. The use of the cat-back system allows a boost of 10 horsepower to the 192 horsepower output of the engine. The exhaust system allows the powerplant to perform at its optimum level, akin to what a Volvo muffler does for the exhaust system that employs it. The height of the Kia Rondo SX Concept is lower than that of the current models by three inches. The lowered ride height of the car increases the cornering capability of the car. The power from the engine is transferred to the vehicle’s five-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels. And to effectively stop the vehicle, cross-drilled and slotted brake rotors are employed at the front and the rear brake system.

Aside from being a platform for the unveiling of the Kia Rondo SX Concept, the Chicago Auto Show also saw the Sedona, another Kia vehicle, receiving the distinction of being the best minivan according to MotorWeek.