Five Cool-Looking Concept Cars That Turned Sour When They Reached Production
The name is the only thing these design studies and production cars have in common
People who work in the automotive media don't get hyped up over concept cars as much as they used to and there's a good reason for that.
Most design studies never get to the assembly line, and some would argue that's normal as the very notion of concept car has nothing to do with a production vehicle. It's purely aimed at fueling the dreams of car enthusiasts and showcasing design solutions as well as technologies of the future.
Still, over the past two or three decades automakers have developed a habit of showcasing concept cars that more or less preview production models. Except that, sometimes, that doesn't really happen. As you are about to see, the following concepts and production models have very few things in common except their shared names.
#5 Chevrolet Volt
The 2007 Detroit Auto Show marked the debut of Chevrolet's Volt Concept, a sleek-looking design study that was announced as the first-ever series plug-in hybrid concept car unveiled by a major carmaker. The car's very short overhangs, low stance, and dramatic proportions would have made it a head-turner on any street in the world. Sadly, neither the beautifully-sculpted exterior with striking details nor the futuristic four-seat interior made it to the production line.
The road-going Volt debuted in December 2010 bearing only a slight resemblance to the concept vehicle. Well, at least the plug-in hybrid powertrain made it to production without significant changes.
#4 Dacia Duster
The Dacia Duster Concept that debuted at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show came out of nowhere. It was the Romanian brand's first concept car (in the truest sense of the word) of the Renault era. It featured wild details like asymmetrical doors (two suicide doors on the right side, one conventional door on the left side), sleek headlights extending all the way to the front doors, an upright rear end, and a variable seating capacity. It could transform from a four-seater into a two-seater with extra cargo volume.
Needless to say, the only things that carried over to the utilitarian production car are the name and the 1.5-liter dCi turbodiesel powertrain.
#3 Pontiac GTO
At the 1999 Detroit Auto Show, Pontiac reignited the muscle car flame with the GTO Concept, a wild-looking design study whose sole purpose seems to have been to shock brand aficionados. An homage to one of the greatest muscle cars ever made, the GTO Concept combined modern styling with retro cues in a package that you either loved or hated.
As aggressive as the study looked, the production version that followed five years later didn't inherit anything from it bar the name. The 2004 Pontiac GTO was, in reality, a rounded, rebadged Holden Monaro.
#2 Renault Captur
Back in 2011, Renault lifted the veils off this stunning design study called Captur. It captured the imagination of Renault fans everywhere, with the question on everyone's lips being when would the French automaker bring it to production. The answer came two years later, but it was not what they expected.
The production-spec Renault Captur is a B-segment crossover that looks nothing like the Captur concept, except some minor design cues. Sadly, the study's only purpose was to preview the brand's future design direction.
#1 Subaru WRX
The biggest disappointment when it comes to the transition from concept to production (as far as I'm concerned) involves the Subaru WRX. More specifically, the 2013 Subaru WRX Concept and the lackluster namesake production model that followed it less than three years later.
The edgy, aggressive lines and perfect proportions of the concept vehicle were replaced by a rather average-looking sedan whose only merit is that it was slightly more stylish than its predecessor — which, by the way, wasn't something difficult to achieve. The saddest thing is that the WRX Concept looked very feasible, but for some reason, the big shots at the company's headquarters in Tokyo didn't sign it off. And what a shame that is.