These are the coolest concept cars of 2021
With rapid advances in technology and constant changes in lifestyles in recent years, automakers are more willing to hand over to their design offices, allowing them to think outside the box to envision the future of brand and the industry in general. Although a few automakers have been guilty of unveiling concepts as a playful exercise in something unrealistic, others have used them as serious preludes to a production model.
The past year has been a mix of uncertainties and new challenges related to COVID-19, but all of that hasn’t stood in the way of innovation and development. We’ve seen the tempered return of several auto shows around the world, and we’ve been lucky enough to see some pretty impressive concept cars. As we look forward to more shows in 2022, let’s recap some of 2021’s standout concepts.
ten Nissan NV350 office cabin
The 2021 Tokyo Auto Show didn’t take place due to COVID-19, but Nissan couldn’t pass up the opportunity to showcase its super-original new concept, the NV350 Office Pod, virtually. In line with the challenges of unique lifestyles during the pandemic, Nissan has shown how to work from home in style.
The NV350 features exterior modifications that allow for light off-road riding, while its interior houses a functional small office, with a desk, chair and enough space for a large screen. Drivers can take out the office from the van to be part of nature and an upstairs balcony equipped with a lounger and umbrella for recommended breaks.
9 Opel Manta GSe
The Opel Manta made a big comeback last year with eye-catching neon yellow paint and an instantly recognizable baby Plymouth ‘Cuda look. Dubbed the Opel Manta GSe, we indeed take our hat off to the German automaker for its attempt to show that EVs could still be a lot of fun, not to mention mixing the best of both worlds classic and electric.
The modern front fascia features upright LED accents and a screen that can display messages, while the rear displays vintage vibes with circular taillights. Besides its great super retro looks, the unique Manta GSe has a usable four-speed manual transmission. The smart transmission allows drivers to engage a CVT option in fourth gear, allowing the car to shift gears.
8 Ford Tucci Maverick
The Ford Maverick is a fan favorite as it ticks many truck boxes despite its small size, fuel economy and ease of parking. However, Tucci Hot Rods drove many crazy with its Tucci Maverick concept at SEMA 2021. Tucci Hot Rods made an impression at the event with the all-wheel-drive Maverick XLT 2.0 EcoBoost slamming to the ground on reels. .
The Tucci Maverick features unique 3D printed pieces like a front chin spoiler, fender flares and a rally inspired spoiler. Performance upgrades include stickier tires mounted in larger turbojet-style wheels and a new Borla cat-back exhaust. To spice things up even more, the interior includes a Ford dash cam, four Recaro Sportster seats with racing harnesses, while the bed features a roll-up tonneau cover, spray-on bed liner, and a tailgate spoiler.
seven Toyota tacozilla
One of the most fantastic builds shown at SEMA 2021 was the Toyota Tacozilla concept truck. The Tacozilla rad motorhome is reminiscent of the Chinook models of the 70s and 80s that Toyota built from the factory. Based on the Tacoma TRD Sport Pickup, Toyota’s Motorsports Garage has entered into an exciting collaboration with Complete Customs to bring the Tacozilla to life.
The biggest highlight of the concept is the roof of the motorhome which extends below the height of the frame to allow people to stand up throughout the interior, not to mention the full integration to make it appear as part of from Tacoma. The Toyota Tacozilla also features a rustic micro-house interior, 17-inch wheels, integrated winch, raised TRD suspension kit, huge light bar and snorkel.
6 Lincoln birthday concept
So what do you get when a team of design art students imagine Lincoln cars in 2040? Simple answer, the superb Lincoln Anniversary concept. The jaw-dropping vehicle is the product of a design team from Center College of Design in Pasadena that Lincoln showcased at The Quail during Monterey Car Week.
The Anniversary concept has a low-slung coupe design with a long hood and short deck, almost similar to the Audi Skysphere concept. While Lincoln may never take the Anniversary beyond the concept stage, this four-door city car showcases the unique perspective and talent of tomorrow’s designers.
5 EdisonFuture EF1-T
The EdisonFuture EF1-T is a relative newcomer to the electric pickup segment, but its angular, spacey profile and alternative styling will make you think of Tesla Cybertruck. Nonetheless, the EdisonFuture EF1-T gets a few points on the board for its more conventional lines and retractable armadillo-shaped solar architecture.
According to EdisonFuture’s presentation at LA Auto Week, the solar panels could provide an additional range of 20 to 35 miles per day in sunny conditions, essential for the field workforce. Full specs for the truck are yet to be finalized, but range estimates range from 300 to 450 miles, with battery capacity supplied at 120, 150 and 180 kWh.
4 Audi Skysphere
Audi has revealed a few more tricks up its sleeves by introducing the Horch 853-inspired Skysphere concept as part of its vision for luxury autonomous transportation. The Skysphere, the first of three concepts, is a long and low luxury grand tourer capable of transforming into a stunning electric sports car at the push of a button.
In standard GT tuning, the Skysphere is almost as long as a full-size Audi A8 L sedan, and it shrinks to the size of the midsize A6 in Sport mode. Designer Gael Buzyn hinted at the LA Motor Show that Audi designed the car around the interior, which features a 55.7-inch full-width digital screen, backlit control panels, crystal accents, clock analog in the center console and a fabric roof with cashmere blanket storage.
3 Cupra Urban Rebel
Cupra is a newer brand that has yet to reach North American shores, but the striking UrbanRebel Concept has certainly caught our attention. Featured at the 2021 IAA Munich Motor Show, the UrbanRebel evokes the appearance of a radical racing hatch from a racing game.
According to Cupra design director Jorge Diez, the Cupra UrbanRebel is based on Volkswagen’s MEB architecture, and it’s a precursor to a production electric car we can expect in 2025. The automaker says that the car’s electric powertrain delivers a steady 335bhp, matched to a 0-60mph time of 3.2 seconds. Unfortunately, the eventual production model may not make it to North America.
2 Porsche Mission R
Most gearheads revere Porsche for its long and impressive history of production car racing, and it intends to extend that into the future with the Porsche Mission R. With electrification gaining momentum in the automotive industry , Porsche presented the Mission R as a future motorsport customer.
The Porsche Mission R has a low, refined and aggressive aesthetic shape that runs on a pair of 85kWh electric motors capable of a typical run of 30-40 minutes without stopping. The EV will be incredibly fast, with around 1,073hp available for qualifying mode, although we’d expect that to drop to 603hp in race mode. However, potential customers will have to maintain their enthusiasm until 2025.
1 Renault AIR4
While we were anticipating the electric reincarnation of the successful R4L model, Renault surprised us by unveiling the AIR4 concept at the end of November. Since Renault announced its 2025 “Renaulution” strategic transformation plan, it has displayed a certain ambition with the Renault AIR4. The concept has a recognizable R4L silhouette but with a twist of intrigue; four propellers. Hello, flying cars.
As its name suggests, the AIR4 concept does not roll; instead, it can fly at an altitude of 700m at a claimed top horizontal speed of 58mph. However, it should be noted that the Renault AIR4 is only a show car unveiled to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Renault 4L. But with traffic concerns compounded, who knows when they might take this idea a bit more seriously.
A surprising number of cars are getting refreshed designs in 2022, but we think these 10 stand out the most.
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