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.