At the 2017 Shanghai Motor Show, Chevrolet brought their latest concept vehicle creation (in collaboration with the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Centre), a plug-in hybrid SUV called the FNR-X that they’re called an “all-purpose sports concept vehicle” and could be a harbinger of a future design direction. It’s name derived from Chevy’s ‘Find New Roads’ slogan, with the final letter X denoting its off-road capability.
Staying on looks, it’s at once futuristic and entirely plausible as a new production model after going through some tweaks. Compared to their sci-fi FNR Concept from 2015’s Shanghai Motor Show, this design in significantly more grounded in reality.
The front fascia certainly has cues from the current crop of Chevrolet cars, though the more aggressive side sills, pronounced nose, and sculpted bonnet puts us in mind of the Camaro ZL1. The LED headlamps are enclosed in a recessed and rather squinty looking pair of housings, and the body itself flows with many creases to further accentuate the sleek shape.
Uncommon for an SUV, aerodynamics and drag reduction was a significant factor when designing the FNR-X Concept, and depending on the driving mode chosen, the car’s adaptive suspension adjusts its height, the front grille shutters will open or close, the side skirts will raise or lower, and the roof spoiler will alter its angle of attack. As is the trend these days for concept cars, its lack of side mirrors are compensated for by exterior cameras that feed into an in-cabin display in real time.
Speaking of which, entering the FNR-X is done opening its suicide doors, with the rears hinged to the C-pillar with it lacking a B-pillar altogether. Once within, its an pleasant and modern looking, if unsurprising concept car cabin. Nearly all switchgear are replaced with on-screen controls, there’s ambient lighting throughout and everything is appropriately minimal.
Despite being labelled a plug-in hybrid, Chevrolet left the details of its powertrain to themselves, leading to wonder if there’s anything living under its bonnet at all, though it’s reassuring to know GM is very much headed in that direction.