Beware seeing every car at the Detroit show through the lens of recession. It wasn’t until about four months ago that anyone saw this crisis coming. It takes at least six months to do a concept and two years for a production car. So everything here was conceived in pre-meltdown times.
And yet here’s a thing. Two of the most interesting concept cars were fuel economy-minded efforts from of all people Lincoln and Cadillac. Both are the size of a Focus. Holy cow, these guys usually wouldn’t blink at building concepts the size of a bendy bus.
The Lincoln C (above) is even based on the 2010 Focus platform. There’s a bit of Fiat Multipla about the idea (short, wide, vertical side windows to get three abreast), and a bit of Renault Clio V6 about the rear three-quarter. Which makes it sound bonkers, but to me it’s convincing. Low, wide, planted, bullish.
The Cadillac Converj coupe is all the proof you need that not all hybrids need look like a bloody Prius. It’s based on the Chevy Volt platform and electric-petrol powertrain. But with more power.
Both the Cadillac and Lincoln could well go into production, though the Lincoln would suffer a severe watering-down of its interior.
If they do make it into showrooms, then obviously America is at last getting the idea that there’s something to be said for being small.
They’re very different from each other. But what I most enjoy is that each of them says something new and premium about the proportions small car. That makes them an imaginative leap ahead of say the Audi A3, a car whose proportions are no different from any vanilla hatch.