Just a month and a half ago, Qoros was a Chinese-Israeli automaker showing off vanilla, nondescript designs like the Qoros 3 City SUV (those missing doors are there to help highlight the interior, not for visual effect). We knew that change was in the air, and after the Shanghai auto show, Qoros is now the warped mind behind one of the meanest, strangest small crossover designs in recent memory. The Qoros 2 SUV PHEV Concept may be friendly to the environment, but it's downright nasty to anyone that looks over in its direction.
The move away from SUVs toward crossovers has meant not only smaller, more efficient packages but also a change from rugged, square forms to softer, rounder styling. The Qoros 2 PHEV subcompact crossover concept turns that trend around abruptly with one of the most brutal, blocky designs we've ever seen. Big, hefty fender slabs end in massive boomerang light clusters that drop right down to the bumpers. Both the front and rear fascias are broad and near-vertical, making the concept look like a piece of heavy equipment that was designed to punch through concrete walls during demolitions. The straight-as-an-arrow belt line and sharp rear roof drop-off add to the car's exaggerated, square proportions.
The concept's design seems like it could prove quite polarizing, and we're not sure which pole we land on. On one hand, it's definitely a unique piece of styling for one of the auto market's youngest brands. Qoros believes that the boxy styling will appeal to the young, trendy and creative, and judging by vehicles like the Kia Soul and Scion xB, it's not alone in thinking that there's value in boxy design. But the 2 SUV concept is more "unique" than either of those two, and it's not exactly pretty. It might just push the whole squared-up body formula too far. We'll just drop it in the same category as love-it-or-leave-it designs like the Nissan Juke and Ford Flex and let each reader make his or her own call.
If the body is too much for you, you can always escape to the clean serenity of the glass roof, which features a traditional Chinese pattern in white jade, interrupted only by the rather out of place red QR code meant to shuttle you off to Qoros' website. The greater exterior includes other traditional Chinese cues, such as the Misty Cyan paint job, Cinnabar Red details, and Chinese Year of the Goat rim inlay in the rear driver-side wheel. There is also a series of nine stamps that represent the members of the design team that made the concept a reality.
The Qoros uses a gas-electric 4WD system similar to the one featured in the 2015 Kia Trail'ster concept. Qoros plants a pair of electric motors at the rear instead of just a single rear motor, however, calling the configuration an Electric Rear Axle. Those motors are powered by "ultra-high density" batteries integrated into the chassis floor. A next-generation small-displacement turbo engine powers the front wheels.
Qoros has not fleshed out all the powertrain specifications, but it has detailed how the individual drive units would be put to work. The car can drive in pure-electric mode on short trips in the city. Permanent all-wheel-drive delivers the best traction in variable road conditions, while Sport switches between front- and four-wheel drive depending upon slip differences between the front and rear axle. Hybrid drive focuses on keeping the batteries charged, firing up the rear motors only when necessary.
In place of the usual side-mounted charging port, Qoros brings aircraft inspiration into the fold with a different style of charging architecture. Stored in a compartment on the lower leading edge of the windshield, the rather phallic charging probe pops up at the push of a dash-mounted button.
"Based on the 'Don’t touch a cable' principle that is stipulated for the aerospace industry, the electric charging probe unfolds to a specific height to meet 'receiver sockets' on charge point pods at the curb, in car lot charging bays or installed in garages at home," Qoros explains. "This innovative charging system means drivers never need to get hands dirty by touching charging socket covers and cables, and makes the charging operation safer."
Qoros' press site doesn't have any photos of the 2 PHEV's interior, so we're left to imagine it based on its words alone. It describes the cabin as minimalist, incorporating some elements from Qoros' production line, including a floating upper instrument panel. The gauges use a full color digital interface, and the readings adjust to the drive mode, which can be selected by way of a pop-up controller mounted to the floor console. The Qoros Multi Media Hub (MMH) on the dash connects occupants to the outside world via the QorosQloud platform, and personalized climate controls keep them comfortable.
The load area incorporates a variety of storage compartments, including a sealed bin that Qoros says can keep things like funky running shoes from sending odors wafting through the cabin. Other compartments provide concealed safekeeping for valuables. Bamboo trim, cyan ambient lighting, and colors like White Tallow Jade and light clay shades tie the interior into the traditional Chinese aesthetic.
We're not sure that the 2 SUV has any type of future as a production vehicle, but Qoros does say that it "points to possible future design, technology and product expansion strategies for the brand." So perhaps Qoros will release a B-segment crossover to complement its C-segment sedan, hatchback and CUV in the future. We'd be surprised if the final design is near as harsh and boxy, though.