Some vehicles go through radical changes between the drawing board to the assembly line. There can be a number of factors that ultimately decide what shape and form a car, truck, or SUV will take, and they don’t always conform to a designer’s original intentions. As a result, consumers can often be disappointed to see what ultimately makes it to market, after getting jazzed about concepts they had previously seen.
But that isn’t always the case, as a new list from Cars.com has set out to prove. The editorial team there has put together a list of 10 vehicles that have more or less remained true to their intended design, although there may have been some changes. Many of the vehicles listed are popular, everyday cars that are common on roads all over America. Others have yet to be released. At the end of the day, the one thing they all have in common is that the design and engineering teams evidently got things right the first time, and little needed to be changed to get these vehicles to the market.
From Cars.com, here are 10 vehicles that have been put into production while remaining very close to their intended concept or prototype.
1. 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
The first vehicle on Cars.com’s list is the Land Rover Ranger Rover Evoque, which was first shown in 2008 as the LRX Hybrid Concept. The vehicle apparently won over a lot of critics and consumers, because in 2012, it would see full-production and market release under a new moniker, the Evoque. During its unveiling as a concept, the vehicle was shown with a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel hybrid powertrain, which has gone through some alterations, unlike the exterior (for the most part, anyway). You can see the similarities between the concept version above, and the production model below.
2. 2014 BMW i8
BMW really rattled some cages when it announced the production of the i8 hybrid sports car, a sleek and incredibly sexy new direction for the German luxury auto maker. The i8, now that it has hit the open market, has become one vehicle that truly turns heads anywhere it goes. It doesn’t look like any other BMW out there, and complete with gull-wing doors and a slew of other features, sets itself apart easily. “BMW not only kept the spirit of the concept intact, it actually made a better-looking car out of the production vehicle,” writes Cars.com, “and it’s one that drew stares on the road like it was still on the turntable rotating under auto show lights.
3. 2012 Audi A7
There were serious doubts that Audi’s Sportback Concept car, which debuted on the international stage in 2009, would ever see production. Those doubts never panned out, thankfully, and the world was graced with the Audi A7 in 2012. Even as a prototype, it was easy to see that the A7 was going to be a crowd-killer, and by comparing the two images above and below, the differences are hard to spot. Audi nailed it with the A7, and the enthusiasm was evident on the faces of Audi’s team at the concept’s debut.
4. 2005 Ford Mustang
Lately, consumers have been excited about the Mustang’s most recent redesign. But back in 2005, interest was piqued as well, and with good reason. The car that ultimately went into production is well-known to us now, and can be seen above at a Ford press conference. The concept that birthed it, however, can be seen below, alongside a vintage Mustang which many design elements were borrowed from. The concept itself was shown off publicly for the first time in 2003, and a couple of years later, would become publicly available as the fifth-generation Mustang.
5. 2014 Jaguar F-Type
The street missile that we now know as the Jaguar F-Type wasn’t always known by that name. When it was first shown to the masses, the F-Type went under the label of the C-X16 Concept. That prototype debuted back in 2011, and a few years later — with very little changes, as you can see — it entered production in time for the 2014 model year. The F-Type has quickly become one of Jaguar’s fastest and well-reviewed models, and with few alterations made to the original design, it appears that the company’s designers got it right in one try.
6. 2016 Acura NSX
The new NSX is an example of a car that has died, been re-conceptualized, and then reborn right before our very eyes. At one time, the NSX was released under the Honda nameplate, and then switched over to the Acura brand. It saw its last days in the mid-2000s, but it was soon after that rumors of a reported redesign started to swirl. The prototype of the 2016 NSX got many people excited, and when the new production model was finally debuted this year, it became clear that Acura’s leadership listened to the masses. Check out the differences between the two with the concept model above, and the production model below.
7. 2015 Ford F-150
The best-selling vehicle in America was rehashed this year, with a number of updates and, perhaps most importantly, a new aluminum-built frame. This was a big deal for Ford, which first showed off the initial prototype as the “Atlas” during the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. The design obviously struck a chord, as the Atlas has been ported over in almost identical form to become the production version of the new F-150. One mainstay that really sticks out is the design of the front-end, particularly the headlights, which can be seen below.
8. 2013 Ford Escape
When Ford decided that it was time to give its midsize SUV a facelift, the company showed off a vehicle that was dubbed the “Vertek Concept.” That vehicle would ultimately become the 2013 Ford Escape, only a year after the Vertek was originally shown to audiences. Based on the aesthetics of the Escape’s new look, designers may have borrowed some inspiration from Land Rover to give the vehicle a more refined look — a breakaway from the more rugged appearance of years past. Although the production model does look a little different than the Vertek Concept, it’s still pretty darn close.
9. 2015 Nissan Murano
Another new model that can now be found on dealer lots, the 2015 Nissan Murano SUV, first found the stage at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show as the “Resonance Concept.” Comparing that concept vehicle to the new Murano that is in production, it’s difficult to tell where the differences are. Cars.com even admits that they didn’t think this prototype would hit the streets, but have since been proved wrong.
At the time the concept debuted we were split on it, with one editor giving it a thumbs-down because the look would “never, ever appear on the market,” Cars.com writes. “Well, the reason it made our list is because of how successfully Nissan’s designers took the wild concept and tamed it ever so slightly for the streets.”
10. 2015 Lincoln MKC
We end with the 2015 Lincoln MKC SUV, which was also debuted at the Detroit Auto Show in 2013. This rehash didn’t come with a fancy name, as it was predestined to become the new MKC production model from day one. Even when it first hit the stage, people seemed to love it, and that led to the vehicle hitting production as-is. Though Lincoln has had its struggles, the MKC has been a bright-spot on the balance sheet.