We'd like to institute a new rule: Only cars that are truly conceptual in nature should be labeled as "concept" cars. Of this list, only the Hyundai or Nissan could be considered a true concept car; all the others are simply early versions of upcoming production cars due in the next year or two. That said, there was a good variety on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, in terms of style and segment. Here are our editors' picks for winners and losers of the latest crop of concepts. You can check out our grades for this year's crop of production cars here.
Acura MDX Concept
Aaron Bragman: Winner
Acura styling has wavered between boring and scary in recent years, but of the entire lineup, the MDX has always worn the Acura face the best. The brand apparently isn't going to mess with that success, and wisely so. I like the look of the MDX, despite its retention of the metal beak, and its new increased length seems to give it better proportions.
Joe Wiesenfelder: Winner
It's nice to see an Acura introduction that isn't in some way puzzling. This one looks good — probably better than ever. The beak looks less beaky here than in the past — at least against the show car's paint color. The bumper treatments are especially interesting. Will they appear in the real product? Probably. When Acura calls something a prototype, it usually doesn't mess with sheet metal. Technically, the bumpers aren't sheet metal, but still ...
Mike Hanley: Loser
I agree with Aaron that the MDX has had the best implementation of Acura's shield grille, but I thought the overall design of the MDX Prototype was a little boring — kind of like the brand's upcoming RLX flagship sedan. It seems that Acura, after being so heavily criticized for its front-end look the past few years, is now playing it safe — too safe.
David Thomas: Loser
Am I the only one who looks at this and sees no real difference from the current MDX that has been around for years? This is less an evolution and more of a Xerox. Besides the odd headlights and yes, a better-looking backside, the MDX Prototype looks prototypical to me.