AutoGuide Answers: Our Favorite Concept Cars of 2015

Sami Haj-Assaad
by Sami Haj-Assaad

Thanks to all the auto shows this year, we got a great glimpse at the future of many automakers in the form of epic concept cars.

2015 hosted debuts for a ton of cool concepts, especially thanks to ideas like Gran Turismo’s Vision GT series.

Each of our editors was asked to name their favorite concept of the year, not an easy task considering how many there are to choose from (the Mazda Speedster Concept seen above didn’t quite make the list, but it gets an honorable mention for being a lightweight MX-5 with no windshield).

Here are our picks for the best concepts of 2015. Lets see if you can sense a trend:

Mike Schlee, Road Test Editor: Mazda RX-Vision Concept

How is this even a question? As a bit of a self-described (and often accused) fan of Mazda, the only answer that immediately comes to mind is the RX-Vision. It’s a frigging rotary-powered concept car!

As the previous owner of a rotary Mazda, I still admire the technology and out-of-the-box thinking that’s behind putting these diminutive, high-revving engines into sports cars. The FD RX-7 is still one of my favorite cars I’ve ever driven and I want to own a Eunos Cosmos more than almost anything.

So the outside chance that Mazda might build another rotary, one that would meet emissions standards and be somewhat fuel efficient has me a wee bit excited. No one really thought Mazda would ever bring the rotary back again, but it might just happen. Who doesn’t love a good underdog story?

Jodi Lai, Managing Editor: Yamaha Sports Ride Concept

This has been a great year for concept cars! I love the elegant Hyundai Vision G Concept, the adorable Toyota S-FR and the Mazda RX-Vision Concept Sami and Mike picked, but the one that stood out the most for me was the Yamaha Sports Ride Concept. This was just so memorable because Yamaha doesn’t even make cars, yet they managed to pull off a real surprise by revealing one of the coolest concept cars of the year.

The Yamaha Sports Ride concept looks like a tiny supercar, and if the car is at all inspired by Yamaha’s motorcycles, it is sure to be amazing fun to drive. It’s about the size of a Mazda MX-5 Miata, but actually sits lower to the ground. The best part is that it weighs only 1,654 pounds, and although we know nothing about a possible engine, Yahama makes some wonderful high-revving powerplants, and if this car was real, it would likely be one of those cars that make you feel alive.

Craig Cole, Associate Editor: Lexus LF-FC Concept

One of my favorite concept cars revealed this year was introduced in Tokyo. The Lexus LF-FC is a bold looking crystal ball that grants anyone who gazes at its curvaceous bodywork a glimpse into the future, specifically what the next generation LS flagship sedan will look like.

The current version of this land yacht is getting longer in the tooth than a walrus, especially when compared rivals like the sophisticated Mercedes-Benz S-Class. To keep pace with ever-evolving rivals, the LF-FC indicates that the upcoming LS family will gain some pretty unique features.

Aside from striking exterior design, complete with a giant “spindle grille” up front, the car rolls on 21-inch wheels rendered in lightweight carbon fiber. It also makes use of a fuel-cell powertrain in lieu of a traditional V8 engine. A pair of electric motors power the front wheels giving this concept all-weather traction.

A production version of the LF-FC is expected to launch in about a year’s time.

Stephen Elmer, News Editor: Toyota KIKAI Concept

It’s not a sleek, sexy sports car, or some insane hybrid hypercar that promises to stick to the race track like glue. Instead, the Toyota KIKAI Concept was built to show off the movement and beauty of vehicles. To help us reconnect with the machine. That’s why its internal workings are all prominently displayed, for the whole world to see.

This is a great contrast to modern cars, where engineers hide their genius under plastic covers and marketing people try to convince us that the car is powered by magic.
The KIKAI is a small, honest car with crazy futuristic steampunk style that uses analog gauges, large switches and even features a small window by the driver’s left foot so the suspension can be seen while it works away.

Jason Siu, News Editor: Subaru STI Performance Concept

Having previously owned a Subaru BRZ, I’ll be the first one in line for a BRZ that offers more performance under the hood and more aggressive styling. That’s why the Subaru STI Performance Concept is top of my list this year, mostly because it’s realistic and could see production exactly how we saw it on the show floor at the 2015 New York Auto Show.

I feel like the front end has just the right amount of sharp lines to give the bubbly BRZ the look it needs, while the carbon fiber bits provide a nice accent. Hopefully, Subaru won’t let us down and offer the BRZ STI without a more powerful engine. I could do without that rear spoiler though, yuck.

Sami Haj-Assaad, Features Editor: Mazda RX-Vision Concept

Concept cars remind me of fan-created trailers. They feature so much of what you want in a car, but are so impractical and unbelievable. For example, take a look at Mazda’s concept from the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. For years, car fans have been missing the high-revving fun of the rotary engines found in Mazda’s top-dog sports cars, despite the fact that their engines are notorious for being fuel-hogs and being a bit unreliable. Yet every once in a while, we’d get a rumor about how Mazda, everyone’s favorite enthusiast brand, is working on yet another rotary-powered RX car.

The rumors became so silly that I stopped paying attention, that is until Mazda actually showed off its idea of the next generation of its Wankel-Wonder. The RX-Vision Concept is downright gorgeous, I mean, just look at that long hood, sexy rear-end, slick headlights and practically production-ready interior. I love it! Hopefully I’m not the only fan, so Mazda feels compelled to make one and its accompanying high-revving rotary engine.

Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad

Sami has an unquenchable thirst for car knowledge and has been at AutoGuide for the past six years. He has a degree in journalism and media studies from the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto and has won multiple journalism awards from the Automotive Journalist Association of Canada. Sami is also on the jury for the World Car Awards.

More by Sami Haj-Assaad

Join the conversation