Honda Concept C and Concept S make their Beijing debut

Honda Concept S side viewHonda recently teased two new concept cars with some minimal sketches; now the wraps have come off. The two cars, the Concept C sedan and Concept S minivan, were unveiled at this week’s Beijing Motor Show.

The silver sedan’s initials stand for “Cool,” Challenge,” and “China.” It previews a new model that Honda will tailor to the Chinese market, where the Japanese company hopes to make big gains. The “challenge” may be figuring out how this car differs from any other sedan. Honda didn’t have much to say as far as technical details, focusing instead on the styling.

The design was reportedly inspired by a dragon, and is by far the boldest Honda in years. It has a low “four-door coupe” roof (see Hyundai Sonata and Volkswagen CC), and bulging rear fenders help hide the rear doors.

At the front, it looks like Honda took some styling cues from competitors’ cars and injected the whole thing with growth hormone. The chrome strip above the grille, and its centered logo, look like they came from a Toyota Camry. However, this much larger piece makes the Concept C look like a battering ram. The grille, the flat area below it, and the air intakes look vaguely like the ones on a Subaru Legacy, albeit with much more definition. Overall, the styling has some interesting features, but it isn’t “cool.”Honda Concept C front three-quarter view

According to Honda, the Concept S minivan stands for “Stylish,” “Smart,” and “Surprise.” It’s a tad smaller than the Odyssey minivan familiar to Americans, and it doesn’t appear to have sliding rear doors. Honda did not discuss passenger capacity, but it would be odd for any van-shaped vehicle to have less than three rows of seats. Perhaps it will have a “smart” and practical reconfigurable interior when it enters production?

With the current-generation Odyssey, Honda tried to sex up the rather dull minivan segment. The Concept S seems to pull that off more effectively. The absence of the Odyssey’s heavy-looking grille, combined with thin headlights like the Civic’s, gives the concept van a sleek look; one might even argue that it is “stylish.” The grille does look a bit like a whale’s mouth, but it’s hard to make a car look good when you are dealing with this much girth.

The Concept S’ spindly wheels and red brake calipers look sporty, but don’t expect to be burning rubber when this minivan hits showrooms. Minivans are just about the only vehicles that car companies haven’t tried to turn into race cars. Honda would only say that the production version of the Concept S will have a hybrid powertrain. That must be the surprise.

According to Honda, both the Concept C and Concept S will begin production next year. The Concept C will probably be exclusive to the Chinese market, but Honda said it will sell the Concept S in other countries as well.

Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

The Polestar 2, Sweden’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, begins taking shape

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.

Audi’s Geneva-bound Q4 E-Tron concept will give us a glimpse of the future

Audi has released a trio of teaser sketches to preview the Q4 E-Tron concept. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show, the design study takes the form of an electric SUV with a muscular design and a tech-filled interior.

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.