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Best five concept cars of the 2017 Detroit motor show


Motown is the traditional season opener for the annual motor show season, and it occasionally throws up a few surprises for the world's motoring press – Ford GT, anyone?

2017 was light on big showstoppers in Detroit, but it still packed a brace of pretty interesting concept cars, of which most  - but not all – will most likely be stars of the show in the future as actual production models.

Here are the top five in no particular order.

1.    Nissan Vmotion 2.0

Nissan says: The Vmotion 2.0 concept combines a high sense of style, emotional design, space, comfort and technology to make the mobility experience seamless for busy professionals.

We say: Nissan officials weren't saying it out loud, but the Vmotion 2.0 is a loud, clear signal that the Japanese company is taking its formerly staid sedan mix down a path that's more reminiscent of Mazda's 6 and Hyundai's Sonata. The next car due for an update is the Altima – and let's face it, it needs it…

Look past the suicide doors, zebra wood and acres of white, and there's a swoopy, svelte sedan waiting to get out. Nissan knows how to pen a nice four-door, and here's hoping the Vmotion 2.0 is the first step to a more exciting, un-Altima like future.

2.    Infiniti QX50

Infiniti says: The organic forms of the "driver-centric, passenger-minded" cabin were designed in harmony with the exterior shape. Blending progressive design with modern craftsmanship, the QX50 Concept's interior reflects Infiniti's desire to challenge conventional approaches to premium interior design.

We say: Infiniti really doesn't do concepts. Well… it does, but the concepts it rolls out are, for all intents and purposes, production models with fancy lights and wing mirrors.

The concept will be a production model by this time next year.

The QX50 is no different. Replacing one of the oldest cars in its current lineup, the QX50 midsize SUV wears the company's polarising styling better than some of its smaller cars.

This nod-and-a-wink concept will be a production model by this time next year.

3.    Volkswagen ID Buzz

Volkswagen says: A Microbus for a new era, the electric concept forges links between the origins of the Volkswagen brand and its electrifying future.

We say: Volksy is in more trouble than the early settlers in the USA, with government authorities levying an almost $10 billion fine on the company and arresting its top US officials – while the Detroit show was on.

It's forging ahead with its bold plan of having 18 electric cars on sale by 2020, and the ID Buzz is the second car to be built on VW's new electric car-specific MEB platform.

The fact it's not built as an SUV, but as a cute tribute to the much-loved VW Kombi, is no accident. VW needs all the positive press it can get, and laying the retro charm on with a mortar trowel is a great way to deflect some heat.

4.    Audi Q8 Concept

Audi says: With this model, the premium manufacturer is tapping into a new segment for the full-size class – an elegant alternative to the robust presence of a classic sport utility vehicle.

The show pony won't be seen in Australia until at least 2019.

We say: Audi has finally taken the game up to Mercedes-Benz and BMW, who have both been playing in the large SUV slash coupe space for some time now. It won't be a volume seller by any stretch, but it'll be a useful foil for the new wave of luxury SUVs from the likes of Alfa Romeo and Jaguar.

The show pony sports both an e-tron hybrid drivetrain and all-wheel drive, and won't be seen in Australia until at least 2019… but it will be built.

5.    GAC EnSpirit Concept

GAC says: The EnSpirit Concept "symbolizes an eco-friendly light lifestyle and is designed to provide young users with amicable, efficient, intelligent and fun driving experience."

We say: The only Chinese brand at the show is preparing to sell cars under the name Trumpchi. Yep, really. The nameplate predates the pumpkin complexioned leader of the free world's reign by years, apparently, and there's no move to change the name afoot.

The electric EV features a cloth roof, a bonsai tree in the rear centre console and a whole lot of Honda CR-V in its styling. The company says, though, the car will inspire its future models. Quite.

Check out the best production cars of the 2017 Detroit motor show here

Is Trumpchi ready to make a yuge impact on global markets? Tell us what you think in the comments below.