Volkswagen Sport Coupe Concept GTE Photo Gallery (40 Photos)

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Volkswagen unveiled a new concept at the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show, but this "coupe" has four doors. Like the Cross Coupe GTE concept that debuted at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Sport Coupe Concept GTE is a plug-in hybrid that shows off the brand's future design language and alternative-fuel technologies.

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Outside, the sedan is sleek with a swooping roofline, a strong character line running the length of the body and low overall height. Its strong face is accented by LED headlights and daytime running lights along with a linear aluminium grille that dips up "like the winglets of a modern jet airplane," VW said in a statement.

By Jennifer Geiger | March 2, 2015 | Comments (1)

Nissan Leaf Gets Glow-in-the-Dark Paint Concept

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We're not sure why any car needs glow-in-the-dark paint, but Nissan's European division decided to give it a go on the Leaf EV. Working with inventor Hamish Scott, whose Starpath technology enables glow-in-the-dark walkways, Nissan developed paint for the Leaf that absorbs ultraviolet light during the day and glows for eight to 10 hours overnight. You know, in case you really want to draw attention to that luminous orb in your driveway at 2 a.m.

Related: How Would Chevy's Bolt EV Stack Up Against the Nissan Leaf?

This isn't the first time someone has tried to make a car glow, but Nissan claims its all-organic paint is unique. Among its ingredients is strontium aluminate — a "very rare natural earth product" that’s odorless and chemically inert, according to the automaker. (Yes, because environmentalism is all about using rare earth products.) The paint could last 25 years, but there are “no plans for this to go on commercial sale,” Nissan Europe spokesman Gareth Dean told us.

The automaker says it developed glow-in-the-dark paint for the Leaf "to highlight the link between Leaf ownership and solar-panel installation," Dean said. There are some 7,500 Leaf owners in the United Kingdom, and installation of solar panels is particularly high among them, he added.

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By Kelsey Mays | February 17, 2015 | Comments (1)

The Concept Cars of the 2015 Chicago Auto Show

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Car shoppers at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show will be able to get an up-close look at the year's newest vehicles, but it's not all business. This year's crop of concept cars is sure to catch a few eyes, from Buick's stunning and stylish Avenir sedan to Kia's hybrid off-road-ready Trail'ster.

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This year's show starts Feb. 14 and continues until Feb. 22 at the McCormick Place convention center. Click here for tickets and times and here for a show floor map. Check out some of our favorite concept cars ... and a couple new production models that sure look like concepts.

By Jennifer Geiger | February 13, 2015 | Comments (0)

Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept Photo Gallery (24 Photos)

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Mitsubishi's newest concept looks like a purpose-built futuristic zombie apocalypse machine with its blocky styling, robotlike face and oversized wheels.

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Inside, the futuristic theme continues with the GC-PHEV's electric display panels that stretch from door-to-door and an augmented reality (zombie detection?) system displayed on the windshield. Check out the gallery below; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Jennifer Geiger | February 13, 2015 | Comments (0)

Kia Trail'ster Concept Photo Gallery (25 Photos)

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Kia dropped so many hints during the Trail'ster concept's debut at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show that we won’t be surprised when some aspect of the off-road-themed electric all-wheel-drive Kia Soul hits the assembly line in the near future. The Trail'ster is a concept that looks awfully production-ready, inside and out.

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Kia's Soul-based Trail'ster has a beefy stance, and sits 2.5 inches higher than the production Soul on a coil-over suspension with increased suspension travel; it also wears 19-inch winter tires on each corner. Those wheels receive power through a 185-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that pairs with an electric motor mounted on the rear axle for an additional 35 hp. The electric all-wheel drive assists acceleration, can drive the Trail'ster on electric-only power and also provides grip when the front wheels slip.

The inside features an impressive level of luxuriousness for a Kia Soul, which is already nice for the price after its latest redesign. The Trail'ster takes things up a notch with a rich interior clad in brown leather upholstery and aluminum inlays. I'm not sure which part of the Trail'ster concept I'd rather see hit production — the powertrain or the luscious interior — but I'm leaning toward the turbocharged, electric all-wheel drive and lifted suspension.

Check out the gallery below; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Joe Bruzek | February 13, 2015 | Comments (3)

Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept: First Look

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Looks like: Anime version of a Mitsubishi Montero

Defining characteristics: Plug-in hybrid all-wheel-drive SUV, supercharged V-6 engine, rechargeable lithium-ion battery

Ridiculous features: The "Tactical Table," a full-length touch-screen console that runs to the backseats and interacts with passengers' smartphones

Chance of being mass-produced: 50/50

Japanese automaker Mitsubishi is struggling in the U.S. market, suffering from a combination of old, highly out-of-date models, a lack of development money and local manufacturing, and a generally unknown presence in the minds of new car shoppers due to the two previous issues. It is, however, finding a little hope with its Outlander Sport compact SUV and is using the 2015 Chicago Auto Show to give us a peek at what might be coming next.

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The Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept (the acronym stands for Grand Cruiser plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) is making its North American debut at the show, having previously been shown nearly a year-and-a-half ago at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. The concept arriving here is unchanged, still featuring wild concept-car styling, some eye-popping interior electronics and a powertrain that should not be overlooked.

By Aaron Bragman | February 12, 2015 | Comments (2)

Kia Trail'ster Concept: First Look

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Looks like: A Kia Soul ready for off-road trails

Defining characteristics: Lifted ride height, meaty winter tires

Ridiculous features: Blinding array of front LED illumination

Chance of being mass-produced: You never know

An off-road Kia Soul seems like a stretch of the imagination, but the automaker put together a fun, if not convincing, concept at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show called the Kia Trail'ster. Featuring a turbocharged engine, electric all-wheel drive, lifted ride height and various trail-focused features, Kia says the Trail'ster is intended for those looking to escape the urban environment in favor of snow, mud, streams and trails.

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"The Trail'ster concept is a near-future look at how the production Kia Soul would logically evolve into an AWD-capable version that's built to escape the city streets and roam into the mountain wilderness," said Tom Kearns, Kia Design Center of America's chief designer, in a statement.

Though the concept shows off numerous trail-focused bits and pieces, Kia also teases that the Trail'ster's electric all-wheel-drive system could be a fuel-economy booster if used in a production application. We're listening, Kia.

By Joe Bruzek | February 12, 2015 | Comments (0)

Mazda Teases MX-5 Miata Concept

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Mazda redesigned its iconic roadster for 2016 and a concept version of it will be unveiled at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show later this week. Mazda says the MX-5 Miata accessories design concept previews what may be in store for those looking to personalize their cars.

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The MX-5 Miata has a long history with the Chicago Auto Show; the car was originally announced at the show in 1989. Stay tuned for more from the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Press days start Thursday.

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By Jennifer Geiger | February 10, 2015 | Comments (0)

Is This the Next Kia Optima?

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Kia's midsize sedan has been one of the more stylish cars in the class, and if a new concept version is any indication, the Optima will keep that status.

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The brand's new concept, which is unnamed, will be unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show on March 3. Kia released the above teaser image but few details, saying only that it's a D-segment model, which is code for midsize car in Europe.

Stay tuned for more.

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By Jennifer Geiger | February 10, 2015 | Comments (0)

Top 10 Cars That Stayed True to Their Concept

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During the past decade, the once fanciful concept car — never meant to see the light of day — has morphed into more of a design study for future products. Taking that notion to the next level, our editors have rated the 10 production cars that did the best job of incorporating their concept when made into reality during the past decade.

Related: 2015 Detroit Auto Show Winners and Losers 

Note: We didn't take into account certain "concepts" often considered prototypes that some automakers roll out at auto shows. Those show cars are barely discernible from the real thing and are introduced much closer to when the actual cars go on sale.

By David Thomas | February 9, 2015 | Comments (0)

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