6 Production cars that don't look like their concept versions

A good thing or a bad thing?
by Tracy Carpena | Jul 19, 2018

While a handful of concept vehicles unveiled at motor shows never make it to production, many of them come back to auto exhibitions ready to take on the market. Case in point: the Lexus LC500. Launched in the Philippine market in 2017, it looks just as stunning as the LF-LC Concept on which it was based.

The thing is, concept cars (sometimes called prototypes) undergo several revisions before they officially become production vehicles. Of course, carmakers have to keep in mind safety, cost, regulations and practicality when it's time to build cars for production and not just to showcase a new design language. In the process, some of them morph into something radically different from their concepts.

Below are some production cars that took very few design cues from their concepts:

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1. Subaru WRX 2015

Gearheads' hearts skipped a beat when the drapes were taken off the Subaru WRX Concept at the 2013 New York International Auto Show. The concept was said to "hint at the design language of the next-generation Subaru WRX." Fast-forward to the Los Angeles Auto Show that same year, the production version was like a dog that stopped baring its teeth and started wagging its tail. The WRX Concept's aggressive front fascia and sharp lines mellowed down. The production WRX still sported that hood scoop, though.

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2. Toyota 86 2013

The shape of the production 86 is pretty similar to the FT-86's because, well, they're both coupes. But the former is actually longer, wider and higher than the concept it was based on. To spare you from Googling, the 86's dimensions are 4,240mm x 1,775mm x 1,285mm, while the FT-86's are 4,160mm x 1,760mm x 1,260mm. Toyota came out with the FT-86 II Concept in 2011, and it was closer to the "hachi-roku" we know and love today. As with most production versions, the headlights, grille and alloys of the 2013 Toyota 86 look tamer.


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3. Nissan Leaf 2018

The world's best-selling EV's latest iteration looks like an unassuming hatch. On the outside, there seems to be nothing special about it, but don't be fooled. It's packed with plenty of driver-assist tech as it is based on the IDS Concept, which Nissan showcased at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. IDS stands for Intelligent Driving System, and the concept car looks the part—its design cues and edgy exterior scream futuristic, and its cabin looks bare as if the car can move on its own. The Nissan Leaf, though? It didn't bother inheriting the striking aesthetic features, but got several autonomous driving tricks, like parking on its own.

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4. Lexus LFA 2011

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it is this: We're glad it doesn't look anything like the atrocious LFA Concept shown in 2005.

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5. Kia Stinger 2018

Co-designed by Peter Schreyer, the Stinger is probably one of the best-looking Kias ever. If you've seen the concepts on which this 365hp fastback is based, however, you'd lobby for the Korean carmaker to never abandon those projects. The production version of the Stinger is a descendant of the Kia GT Concept previewed at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show and the GT4 Stinger Concept teased at the 2014 North American International Auto Show. It evolved from sedan to sports car and finally to a fastback, but hey, it doesn't look bad at all.

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6. Volkswagen T-Roc 2018

This bicolored crossover picked up design cues from the T-Roc Concept first seen in 2014. Some tweaks in the front fascia, the addition of two doors, and ditching the targa top turned the T-Roc into a production-ready crossover SUV. Both look great, and we're torn between which one we prefer.

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PHOTO: Toyota
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