Before committing to a production run, manufacturers might employ concept automobiles to showcase their newest innovations and assess public opinion. They’re also wonderful for letting smaller enterprises display their ideas in an effort to persuade clients and financiers to support them in realizing their goals.
In fifteen years, the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga will be top sellers, luring hip-hop artists and well-off suburban mothers alike. These are the 10 most bizarre SUV designs that, as was to be expected, were never realized.
10. Fornasari RR99
In 1999, Fornasari, a modest Italian company, opened for business. With the RR600, an unattractive but opulent SUV made in tiny numbers, they found niche success in the early 2000s. On the other hand, their follow-up did not work as well, and as a result the business failed. The RR99 seems to be an Aston Martin Rapide’s top half attached to an elevated suburban crossover’s upper half. The Aston Martin headlights and Lamborghini Murcielago taillights are both used. With a 600 horsepower Chevy engine, it was advertised as having a 174 mph top speed. The RR99 was never developed past the prototype stage due to the odd amalgamation of disparate sports vehicle components that failed to pique the interest of potential buyers.
9. Volkswagen Concept A
By the middle of the 1990s, the SUV and crossover craze had really taken off, and automakers were looking for new ways to cash in on this rapidly expanding market. Volkswagen decided that the simplest way to do this would be to build a vehicle that combined every expertise it could think of, and the result was the Concept A.
It was marketed as a rugged coupe crossover sport utility vehicle with 150 horsepower and an AWD system (what a smart phrase!). Surprisingly, this absurd notion served as the design inspiration for a real automobile, the Volkswagen Tiguan, but it was never made as a stand-alone vehicle.
RELATED: Top 10 best-selling UK cars of 2022
8. Audi AI:Trail Quattro
The AI:Trail Quattro was designed to be an off-road vehicle, even though Audi isn’t known for making such. According to a press release from Audi at the time, the concept was to build an autonomous, expedition-ready car that would take drivers back to nature and be designed to go through the Scandinavian countryside. It’s a bit weird, but it looks fantastic. Will everyone soon be cruising around in futuristic SUVs that look like moon buggies? Although doubtful, the director of design at Audi has said that similarly styled Audi SUVs might appear as early as 2030.
7. Magna Vehma Torrero
Since the Magna Vehma Torrero was initially shown in 1989, it was a super SUV before the phrase ever existed. Vehma International, a specialized engineering company, constructed it. This company was well recognized for producing unique prototypes for the Detroit Big Three.
It had a 531-horsepower 8.1L V8 engine, which enabled it to reach a peak speed of 150 mph. It also had a number of retro connection features, such as a VHS TV, fax machine, and built-in phone.
6. Rinspeed Chopster
One of Rinspeed’s less notable innovations is the Chopster. Although it is based on the Porsche Cayenne, it boasts new exterior and a 600 horsepower turbocharged engine.
At the time, the first-generation Cayenne wasn’t exactly a hit, but Rinspeed’s Chopster made it appear much worse. Unexpectedly, the car included a PlayStation 2 that could be accessed through the infotainment system while it was in motion.
5. Ford SYNus
The SYNus concept car, which Ford unveiled at the 2005 North American International Auto Show, may first be mistaken for a bank vault. It’s not obvious if it’s meant to be an SUV or a minivan, but one thing is for sure: it’s utterly nuts. It features a 45-inch TV mounted in the back of the vehicle and is bulletproof. The SYNus is about the same size as the Fiesta, which makes it more more strange that Ford allegedly introduced the vehicle to test consumer interest in a car of that size in the US.
4. Sbarro 4×4+2
The Sbarro 4×4+2 is so weird that at first sight, you might not even think it’s a car. It is based on a Porsche Cayenne, but has been modified with an additional set of wheels and chrome bars at the front and rear that seem like they were ripped straight off of someone’s bathroom towel rack. This concept SUV is one of the ugliest and most pointless ones ever, therefore that is most surely the best way to sum it up.
3. BMW Z18
One of the coolest cars on our list, despite its odd appearance, is undoubtedly this one. It was BMW’s first-ever 4×4 and predated the X5 by four years. The BMW Z18 concept investigated the notion of fusing a Z-class roadster with an off-road SUV.
An open-top off-attraction roader’s may be seen in the Jeep Wrangler‘s lasting popularity. However, it is rather weird to see the same concept applied to a BMW roadster, however credit must go to BMW’s engineers for even being able to construct such an unique Frankenstein vehicle.
2. Jeep Treo
What would happen if you passed a shrinking ray in a Jeep? Most likely something resembling the Treo idea. It has wheels that stick out from the sides like a Renault Twizy and is about the size of a Smart car. Jeep kept the recognizable seven-slot grille on the front, though.
To be fair to Jeep, the idea of a small SUV is not new; the Suzuki Jimny and Daihatsu Fourtrak showed that the demand existed for the type of car. It’s also important to note that the vehicle was hydrogen-powered, a cutting-edge technology whose full potential hasn’t yet been reached because of a lack of infrastructure for fueling it.
1. Renault Racoon
The Renault Racoon is nothing like the notorious rodent, despite its name. It is an odd space-buggy pod, though, that can only be accessible by the driver after removing the entire front of the vehicle. It is also amphibious.
It was built to demonstrate Renault‘s cutting-edge technology and had a twin-turbo V6 engine that produced 262 horsepower. This is where the moon-rover appearance comes from. Rearview cameras in place of mirrors, remote entry, satellite navigation, and rain-diffusing glass were all included as standard equipment. All of these technical elements are now common in production cars, despite how unbelievable they would have looked at the time.