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.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Illuminated keyboards and a retro gaming console

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

What is Android Auto? Pull over and we'll tell you everything you need to know

What is Android Auto? Google's app overrides native infotainment systems to reduce distractions while driving. Here's everything you need to know about it, including the feature set and compatible car models.

The hottest of all Mini hatches is coming with a Batman-approved design

The Mini John Cooper Works GP concept first seen at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show will go into production in 2020, Mini has confirmed. The John Cooper Works GP is the ultimate performance version of the Mini Cooper.

Airbus-backed Voom could take on Uber’s on-demand flying taxi service

Airbus-backed Voom says it's planning to take its on-demand helicopter taxi to more U.S. cities this fall, a move that could put it in direct competition with Uber's app-based air taxi service launching soon in New York City.

Volvo invented the three-point seat belt, and it might be the company that kills it

Volvo didn't invent the seat belt, but the firm patented the three-point configuration found in every new car in 2019. Autonomous technology will force automakers to rethink how they keep motorists pinned to their seats, and Volvo is…

Airstream inspiration Road Chief puts an off-grid luxury camper on the road

Updated for off-grid camping for four people, the Bowlus Road Chief Endless Highways awaits your tow hitch and your wallet. Bowlus design, build quality, and technology in a world-class trailer towable by most mid-sized SUVs.
Product Review

2020 Mercedes GLS shows what happens when unstoppable force meets immovable luxury

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS is more than a luxury family-hauler. Yes, it’s got all the luxury features and all the bells and whistles of modern technology, but this three-row Teutonic tank has some serious off-road chops as well.

Ford promises exciting GT supercar news at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Ford will make an announcement regarding its GT supercar at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The GT's racing career is winding down, but could Ford be planning a hotter road-going version?

This ’60s Ford Mustang EV has Tesla-like specs and a Rolls-Royce-like price

British startup Charge Cars planted its flag where electric cars and muscle cars meet when it unveiled a battery-powered 1960s Ford Mustang. Starting with a reproduction shell, the firm added an electric powertrain and modern electronics.

U.S. firm plans to power soccer stadiums using aging Nissan Leaf batteries

We've heard of aging EV batteries being repurposed to power homes and other facilities, but how about an entire sports stadium? An American firm is already doing just that, and now has plans to expand its system across Europe.

Think hybrids can’t be sporty? BMW’s Vision M Next is here to prove you wrong

BMW unveiled a concept named Vision M Next that shows what sports cars could look like in the not-too-distant future. It is a plug-in hybrid model with 600-hp, and a driver-focused interior packed with futuristic tech features.

Chevrolet’s in-car pizza-ordering app is the start of an ecommerce revolution

Chevrolet has added Domino's in-car pizza delivery app to Marketplace, an ecommerce platform that equips millions of cars built since 2017. Users can order a pizza on-the-go by tapping the screen a few times, and have it delivered where…

It’s tough to buy a fully American-made car, but here’s 15 that come close

In the age of global supply chains, tariffs, and multinational companies, what does it mean to be American-made? The traditional answers no longer apply, and the vehicles with the most American content may surprise you.

BMW is planning high-performance hybrids, as well as hot-rodded EVs

BMW development chief Klaus Fröhlich told Digital Trends he thinks the company's M division will release a high-performance hybrid after 2025. In the meantime, it will focus on leveraging the benefits of plug-in hybrid tech to boost…