If you are ready for a future of automobiles that looks less and less like a Toyota Corolla, there is good news from Geneva. Infiniti unveiled the edgy and angular QX30 concept, a crossover that looks ready for production, while Lexus threw out the script with a mini hatchback concept that looks like it flew in from 2025. These two new Japanese vehicles debuting at the Geneva Motor Show border on radical.
In the case of the QX30, Nissan’s luxury brand kept its roll of attractive front ends going in on a crossover that follows the Q30 concept of its recent past. According to the automaker, Infiniti is reaching for “a new generation of individualistic premium customers” with a model that combines coupe styling, an aggressive SUV driving position, 21-inch wheels, and eye-catching skid plates.
The muscular notes of the QX30 deliver off-road potential on quick weekend getaways that require all-wheel drive and some pop from the powertrain (Infiniti promises several options for consumers, including diesel and turbocharged engines). In the vein of many crossover concepts that have been appearing at world auto shows, the QX30 is meant to deliver comfort and beauty for city driving while remaining capable of rugged activity when the young and adventurous target audience demands it once work ends.
Infiniti cites research saying 80% of premium compact vehicle buyers will be from Gen X and Gen Y by 2020, and they can’t all be after the Lexus NX or Audi Q3, a few of the QX30’s potential rivals. More than just a concept, Infiniti says a crossover based on this model will indeed “be launched next year.” The automaker sees smaller, more efficient, yet capable vehicles dotting the landscape in the near future. By the looks of the tiny beast Lexus calls the LF-SA concept, the QX30 will have company.
Just over 11 feet in length, the furiously appointed LF-SA (“Lexus Future Small Adventurer”) seems like the rugged little car that might slash a Smart Fortwo’s tires before sideswiping a Mini Cooper. Slotting in as an “ultra-compact, sub-B-segment” 2+2 vehicle, Lexus is aiming its petite aggressor at future customers who will consider interior comfort and technology as the key luxury standards.
Following the arrival of the NX, Lexus is going way beyond its complacent past stylings to what the automaker describes as “unexpected territories” of “avant garde” automobile expressions. The automaker describes the LF-SA interior as “surprisingly spacious” and stresses the focus on a future driver who apparently won’t need much of a back seat or engine in his or her travels.
Unlike the Q30, which Infiniti expects will influence an upcoming real-world model, the Lexus LF-SA is simply a reflection of the automaker’s general design expression. Auto showcases like the Geneva Motor Show are the perfect place to explore these fancies, and Lexus is showing it is not complacent by any stretch of the imagination.
Toyota is exploring what smaller and smaller cars can do in the modern automotive landscape. In an overcrowded future where cities like Tokyo and New York begin auctioning off parking spaces, the key will be maximizing the experience of a miniature auto footprint. LF-SA is ready for that universe.
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