Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: May 18, 2020

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Innovative car designs represent an opportunity for engineers to show their stuff and for car companies to give a hint where they might be going for the future. The 2012 offerings from a variety of car makers didn’t fail to disappoint so far.

That said, compact cars dominate the designs, gearing the ideas towards the solo driver as the primary audience.

Of course, no matter how well a car is designed, a driver still needs car insurance for financial protection. So even drivers of some of the cars discussed below would be well served to look up and compare potential car insurance. You can do that by entering your ZIP code at the top of the page in our comparison tool for FREE car insurance quotes.

1. Alfa Romeo 4C

Expected US Arrival Date: 2013

Expected Price: $45,000

The Alfa Romeo 4C, anticipated for 2013, already has hundreds of car analysts and fans drooling. This concept car looks like the actor that was too good for a Batman movie and might still make a comeback when the sequel returns for the fourth time. While it doesn’t have the strongest engine in the design, it carries far less weight than other roadsters.

As a result, the 4C promises an extremely nimble sports car that drivers will enjoy immensely. For comparison, many have likened the 4C to the Toyota MR2 in terms of compactness and matching power.

2. Jaguar C-X75

Expected US Arrival Date: Sometime between 2013 – 2015

Expected Price: $1 million

Along with the Alfa Romeo in luxury cars, the Jaguar C-X75 also promises to be quite an eye-stopper. The car’s profile sits very low, reminding first time viewers of a slimmed-down Lamborghini without the side flares. Many critics thought the car was just a one-off that would never see an assembly line, but Jaguar recently confirmed that the C-X75 will be launched as an exclusive hybrid supercar.

However, Jaguar decided that they will build only 250 vehicles with the price estimated to be between $1.1 and $1.5 million. It’s a bit above the average commuter car price. It’s definitely not the car to let your 16-year-old son drive with his girlfriend.

3. Land Rover Evoque

Expected US Arrival DateOctober 2012

Expected Price: $50,000

The 2012 Evoque is already seeing production and sales to those in Europe but the concept car SUV was stalled until the late fall for a U.S. release. The engine pumps out between 240 to 250 horsepower and the transmission operates as an all –wheel drive. However, the design favors luxury, so the car will operate more like a car people want to coast down Pacific Highway 1 rather than storming off into the rocky dust of Death Valley.

Unfortunately, for the manual stick types there is no luck. The car comes with an automatic transmission only. However, the price tag is far more palatable at $45,000.

4. Mazda Shinari

Expected US Arrival Date: 2013

Expected Price: $20,725

The Mazda Shinari is a wonderful vehicle that has enough practical shape and features that it will easily register sales at the dealership. It comes with the standard Mazda sleek profile, positioning the cabin slight more towards the rear of the car to make room for the engine.

Ironically, even though the Shinari has plenty of guts, it also provides a driver an extremely efficient fuel consumption of 40 mpg. Further, the engine operates as a diesel package rather than a gas-powered setup.

5. Cadillac ATS

Expected US Arrival Date: 2013

Expected Price: Projected to start at $35,000

The American carmaker refuses to go small, being an exception to much of the compact cars shows in 2012. Instead, Cadillac’s ATS is a bit of a bruiser on four wheels. The car is intended to compete in the sedan market with the Audi, BMW, and Mercedes but with the American manufacturing flavor.

The design mixes a strong engine with a lighter-than-normal Cadillac frame. However, Cadillac is still struggling with making a big car and efficient engine combination.

6. Audi Quattro

Expected US Arrival Date: 2013

Expected Price: $49,900

The Quattro continues to be redesigned in concept and production, going for a tighter compact road-runner of a car. There’s a lot of general similarity of the Audi’s design to similar German sports car construction, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the German engineers involved trade idea regularly at their monthly networking meetings in Bayern. There is hope that the new Quattro will house a 340 horsepower engine block inside, but the actual package remains to be seen.

Final Word

There are a number of more concept cars that appeared in 2012 and they will continue to show throughout the year at different car shows, but the above six car designs are the ones that have made the most immediate impressions so far. Some of the features are enough to get audiences and fans in the mood to go out and buy a car right after the show. That said, if someone is in the mood to pick up a new car, it’s a good idea to enter your ZIP code in our FREE tool at the bottom of the page to find the most viable insurance policies available for car coverage.