Automakers use concept cars not only to preview the automotive designs and technologies of the future, but also to test the public’s reaction to both style and tech. It’s an old-fashioned way of testing the waters, and despite the millions automakers spend on focus groups a lukewarm reception of a concept car at a major auto show can still make or break a design. Likewise, positive reactions to concepts have led automakers astray a number of times in the recent past — the Pontiac Aztek concept was well received at the time — and polarized reactions to certain design directions have at times been ignored by automakers intent on pushing ahead with a particular look.
With a few exceptions 2016 has continued the trend of risk aversion among automakers: Designs that could be seen as controversial or polarizing are largely being avoided altogether with major automakers continuing to field safe, evolutionary designs that preview vehicles a year or two away from production.
Without further ado, here are our 10 favorite concept cars of 2016:
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