If you’re a car aficionado who wants to be in the thick of hot concepts and new models, the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) show held annually in Las Vegas is the place to be. Here are some of our favorite picks from this year’s SEMA:
Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Kuro, MX-5 Speedster Evolution Concepts – Based on the 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF that will go on sale in early 2017, the MX-5 RF Kuro is a new concept that signifies the brand’s move in a direction they call “Mazda Premium.” This combines breathtaking design and embraces Mazda’s long heritage of motorsports. The MX-5 Speedster Evolution, which originally debuted at the 2015 SEMA, returns to the Mazda show stand having shed 350 pounds. The White Ether MX-5 Speedster Evolution delivers “lightweight engineering and pure driving joy,” in the words of Ken Saward, Mazda Design Americas design manager.
Hyundai Tucson NIGHT – Hyundai unveiled its limited-production NIGHT model of the brand’s popular Tucson crossover. NIGHT boasts a black monotone appearance with the addition of special features to the standard Tucson Sport. These include RAYS® 19-inch black-alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof with dark black tinted-glass, gloss black side mirror caps, perforated leather steering wheel, front and rear LED maplights, and aluminum alloy sport pedals. NIGHT, which goes on sale in late 2016, is available in four exterior colors: Coliseum Gray, Caribbean Blue, Dazzling White and Black Noir Pearl.
Kia Showcases Four Concepts as Self-Driving Machines – Imagine the future where fully autonomous vehicles are the norm, not the exception. Kia ran with this theme for its participation in SEMA 2016, showcasing four hand-built concepts:
Niro Triathlon, a hybrid transformed into a true crossover-utility lifestyle vehicle
School of Rock Sedona, 100 percent autonomous, without a steering wheel
Sorento Ski Gondola, which operates without a driver via a tablet
Soul First Class, pairing self-driving technology with first-class luxury
In addition, the Kia Telluride three-row, seven-passenger luxury hybrid SUV concept made its first appearance at SEMA.
2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS Slammer Concept – Its high-energy look is enough to make performance enthusiasts grin. The 2017 Camaro SS Slammer concept is a customized version of the 2017 Camaro. Under the hood, power comes from the 455-horsepower LT1 6.2-liter V8 engine. Park this one right in our driveway.
Chevrolet Camaro Turbo AutoX – Chevy says the Camaro Turbo AutoX is “designed to carve cones.” We agree. The combination of the LTG 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, performance suspension, concept 20-inch aluminum wheels and other goodies show off a Camaro that’s ready for some autocross handling.
Chevrolet Colorado Extreme ZH2 – Breaking new ground, GM’s Chevrolet division revealed the Chevy Colorado Extreme ZH2 hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle. The midsize Colorado concept is part of a multiyear partnership between GM and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center. The Colorado concept shares some components with the production Colorado, but its bold appearance was driven by fuel cell system packaging requirements, stationary power generation and chassis components necessary for extreme off-road use. The ZH2 will be used on Army bases during an evaluation period that begins in 2017.
Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Hurley – Beachgoing anyone? Chevy and surfing brand Hurley teamed up to create the Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Hurley concept. Highlights include a custom carrier system for surfboards, Bimini-style bedcover for cooling shade at the beach, bed-mounted Thule rack, water-resistant seat covers and mobile command center.
Ford Mustang GT4 Race Car – The latest racing variant of the Ford Mustang is based on the Shelby GT350 R-C Mustang racer. Dubbed the Mustang GT4 race car, it will be eligible to compete in series such as the Pirelli World Challenge GTS and European GT4. The car features the 5.2-liter V8 engine that’s in the Shelby GT350, but mated here with a six-speed Holinger sequential transmission with paddle shifters.
Mopar Jeep CJ66 Concept – Displayed for the first time at SEMA 2016, the Mopar Jeep CJ66 concept is built with components from several different Jeeps, including the TJ, CJ and JK. The powerplant is a new but as-yet-unspecified Mopar crate V8 paired with a 6-speed manual transmission.
Ram Macho Power Wagon – Ram’s “Macho Mango” colored wagon was named after the original Dodge Power Wagon Macho truck from the 1970s. The concept truck is powered by a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The truck has plenty of goodies for off-roading and the Ram Rack is handy for transporting equipment.
Customized 2017 Lexus LC 500 – A racing-inspired version of the 2017 Lexus LC 500 was created by Gordon Ting/Beyond Marketing. While the production LC 500, available next spring, has a 471-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine (the same one used in the RC F and GS F), the engine in the show car was rebuilt and tweaked to wind up with 525-horsepower.