Chevrolet FNR-X PHEV SUV Concept Steals The Show In Shanghai


General Motors is justly proud of its Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center, which designed and developed the FNR-X PHEV SUV concept that debuted at the Shanghai Auto Show this week. The world is cuckoo for SUVs. A plug-in hybrid model should be just what the doctor ordered for those looking to jump into the electric car revolution but only at the shallow end of the pool.

If emotion sells cars (and it does), the hunky chunky FNR-X has the brawny, in-your-face good looks so much in fashion these days. The designers at PATAC must have slept with miniature Camaros under their pillows at night. The FNR-X translates the edginess of Chevrolet’s muscle car into SUV design language perfectly.


Is the FNR-X the SUV with the Voltec drivetrain developed for the Chevy Volt many have been hoping for? We’re not sure of that. The wording from the official GM press release is a bit ambiguous. “The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle can switch between its engine and electric motor, while offering two driving modes: V (Versatility) and S (Sport).” Make of that what you will. GM is also careful not to mention anything about all-wheel-drive capability.

Chevrolet doesn’t refer to the FNR-X as an SUV. Instead, it describes it as an “all purpose sports concept vehicle.” To make it off-road capable, it has an active suspension that can adjust ride height to various road conditions. The car also has several aerodynamic tweaks to help it slip through the air — active grille shutters and switchable wheel blades adjust automatically during high-speed driving. It also has front and rear spoilers and side skirts that move up and down in accordance with different driving modes.

The interior is just as high tech and edgy as the exterior. “It incorporates an Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) dynamic display system, a unique intelligent speech interaction system and an ID-customizable information system. With the all-terrain Advanced Driver Assist System in addition to optical and acoustic recognition sensors all over its body, the FNR-X provides highly autonomous driver assistance by choosing the best route based on its predictions for complex road conditions. Its panoramic intelligent augmented reality head-up display offers a clear 270-degree posterior-lateral view to maximize safety and driving pleasure.”

Motor1 is effusive in its praise of the FNR-X PHEV SUV, calling it the “coolest concept in Shanghai.” What no one knows at this moment is when the car might go into production or whether a version is intended for US customers. Tesla’s Model 3 sedan is ready to go into production, but its SUV variant won’t be ready until somewhere down the road. A PHEV SUV that looks like a first cousin to a Camaro and a Silverado should get lots of American drivers excited. Hopefully Chevrolet doesn’t take too long making up its mind. If I were running the Bow Tie division at GM, I would have these cars in showrooms yesterday.

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Source and photo credits: GM

About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • Leeper

    Yes please! I’d buy that today.

    • Steve Hanley

      I generally pooh pooh the hyper aggressive styling motif, but this thing is gorgeous. Well done, GM. Now, could we please have some details?

      • Leeper

        I’d be fine with the basic look/layout. I can do without the fluff on most concepts, i.e. 4 led screens, suicide doors, all that active moving parts( spoilers, side skirts, grill louvers, rims?). I know most of that thankfully never make it out concept phase. All those extras just look like easily broken and expensive repair bills.
        KISS, equinox sized plugin hybrid that can do 40-60 miles on pure ev. I’d pay another $2-5 grand if it could also act as a backup generator for the home.

        • Marc P

          I agree. Just build the darn thing and bring it into showrooms already !

        • BigWu

          I expect the production version will only have active suspension (as an option) and grill louvers.

          As a parent, I would love the suicide doors for simplified toddler lockdown and extraction in addition to their awesome factor.

  • BigWu

    This concept vehicle is a thing of beauty. Please GM, release this one and don’t Aztek it!

    • Burnerjack

      Aztek! LOL! I literally chased up to one one the freeway to see what it was and who could make such an ugly (no, strike that. I mean FUGLY!) piece of junk. I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how it made it out of the design studio, past planning meetings and making it through production all the way to a showroom floor. Even then, I could NEVER figure out how it made it to someone’s driveway. I mean, seriously, did anybody actually buy them or were they given away?
      If anyone can shed light on this, I’d be interested. I STILL can’t understand it.

  • Matjaž Ciglar

    Concept after concept…. put something into production!

  • Ed

    Suicide doors and lack of a B-Pillar confirm it is truly a show car with no production intent. But, it has potential. Think we will ever see it, Steve?!