You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

10 weirdest cars and trucks in production

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 10/27/2015 Jens Meiners

The XL1 is an extremely efficient plug-in hybrid made by Volkswagen. - Volkswagen© Provided by Daily News, L.P. The XL1 is an extremely efficient plug-in hybrid made by Volkswagen. - Volkswagen

The observation that "all cars look alike" will likely get you a round of approving nods. Sure, we all like to cast a teary-eyed look into the past, especially when it comes to some of our favorite classic cars and trucks.

But in reality, today's car market is as diverse as it could possibly get - and we are not just referring to styling and decor. Electrics, hybrids, and even hydrogen-powered cars are all making headlines.

Here is a list of ten current cars, in alphabetical order, that are completely different from anything else on the road. A few aren’t available in the U.S., but we think every single one stands alone as a unique, creative, or downright other-worldly new vehicle.

Follow MSN Autos on Facebook

  BMW chose to re-invent the wheel with its i3, a car that is full of clever ideas. - BMW© Provided by Daily News, L.P. BMW chose to re-invent the wheel with its i3, a car that is full of clever ideas. - BMW

BMW i3

There is not just one way to build an electric car, and the BMW i3 is the proof. BMW chose to re-invent the wheel with its i3, a car that is full of clever ideas, and comes available as a full electric or range-extended model. It's got a light and airy interior inspired by furniture design, rear half-doors, and stubby proportions that take advantage of the packaging possibilities of an electric vehicle. That leaves extra room for a scooter engine, that serves an the optional "range extender" if you need to travel further afield. Funky styling is part of the car’s appeal. You love the i3, or you hate it. But you’ll never forget it!

Research the BMW i3 on MSN Autos

The Cadillac ELR is fitted with a range extender engine. - Richard Prince© Provided by Daily News, L.P. The Cadillac ELR is fitted with a range extender engine. - Richard Prince  

Cadillac ELR

Here's another electric whose shape would not have been possible with a conventional powertrain. Built atop the platform of the Chevrolet Volt, it's fitted with a range extender engine and powerful electric motor. Unlike the BMW i3, the ELR is stunningly handsome outside, and it also features one of the industry's most beautiful and well-executed interiors. With abysmally low sales numbers – partly due to the ELR’s high price – yours would likely be the only one on the block.

Research Cadillac's Latest Models on MSN Autos

Only the French could come up with a car like the C4 Cactus. - Citroen© Provided by Daily News, L.P. Only the French could come up with a car like the C4 Cactus. - Citroen  

Citroen C4 Cactus

The Citroen C4 Cactus is a car that only the French could do. Vive la France! Every detail has been rethought, with some very unusual results. For instance, the side panels are graced with large air bumps that protect the body, the passenger air bag is roof-mounted and, when fitted with an automatic transmission, the front seat of the Cactus becomes a bench. Remember bench seats? Apparently the French do. Most carmakers, we are afraid, would have made this car look "cutesy" or retro. The French made it futuristic and cool.

Over time, the Lada has become a cult classic amongst fans of rough-and-tumble cars. - Lada© Provided by Daily News, L.P. Over time, the Lada has become a cult classic amongst fans of rough-and-tumble cars. - Lada  

Lada 2131

The Lada 4x4 (née Niva way back in 1977) was a modern design when new - and it has, over time, become a cult classic amongst fans of rough-and-tumble cars. It could be considered an early "compact crossover," and it‘s compact enough to be easily maneuverable on tight and bustling roads in European cities. Of course, some Niva lovers need more space. For them, Lada makes the 2131, a crudely elongated version of the 4x4, with a clearly visible patch of extra steel interrupting the roofline, and cyrillic letters on the flanks for good measure. It's fun, but it wouldn't survive U.S. regulations (or lawyers).

Offering the convenience afforded by three rows of seating, the redesigned MKT full-size crossover benefits from a suite of significant improvements that match or exceed more expensive, imported luxury class competitors. - Ford/Wieck© Provided by Daily News, L.P. Offering the convenience afforded by three rows of seating, the redesigned MKT full-size crossover benefits from a suite of significant improvements that match or exceed more expensive, imported luxury class competitors. - Ford/Wieck  

Lincoln MKT

Based on the front-wheel-drive Ford Flex (another contender for this list), the Lincoln MKT is something of a crossover between a limousine (it replaced the Town Car), a hearse (which it is occasionally converted to), and a baleen whale (a look at the grille should explain that one). Pretty it may not be, but it sure looks like nothing else out there. If hauling passengers in comfort and space is your business, the MKT is ideal. That's why it's hard to avoid them in Manhattan traffic.

Research Lincoln's Latest Models on MSN Autos

The 911 Targa was chosen for this list simply because it takes Porsche's rear engine sports car and adds an unconventional roof. - Porsche© Provided by Daily News, L.P. The 911 Targa was chosen for this list simply because it takes Porsche's rear engine sports car and adds an unconventional roof. - Porsche  

Porsche 911 Targa

We chose the 911 Targa for this list because it takes Porsche‘s rear-engine sports car and adds an utterly unconventional roof. It's designed to resemble a traditional Targa, like those available on the 911 up to the early 1990s. But alas, the normal operation of a classic Targa roof (you need to take down the light roof yourself and store it away) was deemed a serious by Porsche engineers. So, the company went for a "fully automatic roof system with innovative kinematics." Seeing it in operation is believing, the complexity is out of this world. Unfortunately, the tech magic adds 243 lbs. to the curb-weight of the 911.

Research Porsche's Latest Models on MSN Autos

The fortwo truly shines in cities where you are on your own when it comes to finding a suitable parking spot. - Daimler AG - Global Communicatio© Provided by Daily News, L.P. The fortwo truly shines in cities where you are on your own when it comes to finding a suitable parking spot. - Daimler AG - Global Communicatio  

Smart Fortwo

In most of America, there is no pressing need for a tiny city car. Parking spots aren’t hard to find, and there is a lingering notion that small cars are, somehow, cheap. Yet there are a few cities – certainly New York or San Francisco – where you are on your own when it comes to finding a suitable parking spot. Here, the Smart truly shines. Built atop an entirely redesigned rear-wheel-drive platform, it fits virtually any parking spot, and it can turn almost within its own tiny shadow. Space utilization is perfect, and from the inside, it feels as safe as a regular car. The Smart is fun, and if your parking karma is as bad as ours, it could make your life a whole lot easier.

Research the Smart Fortwo on MSN Autos

  The Model S is a unique and remarkable full-size, electric-powered sedan. - Tesla© Provided by Daily News, L.P. The Model S is a unique and remarkable full-size, electric-powered sedan. - Tesla

Tesla Model S

Is Elon Musk a genius? The jury is out on that, but he has clearly created a unique and remarkable full-size, electric-powered sedan. The onslaught of material (a half-ton pack of batteries) and energy (some versions can put out up to 700-horsepower!) simply snuffs out any criticism of EV range and power, while conveniently circumventing environmental topics. EVs are, perhaps temporarily, immune to this discussion. We think the technology is wrapped in a rather conservative body, but the upcoming Model X fixes that spectacularly.

  The Mirai is a fully developed fastback sedan and it is ready for substantial production volumes. - Toyota© Provided by Daily News, L.P. The Mirai is a fully developed fastback sedan and it is ready for substantial production volumes. - Toyota

Toyota Mirai

Toyota is very serious about hydrogen power, and the Mirai is a fully developed fastback sedan, one that is ready for substantial production volumes. The interior is futuristic, though the exterior looks almost grotesque. Maybe that was the point? After all, any hydrogen car will need a whole lot of things to make a meaningful impact in the automotive world. Things such as government subsidies, a refueling network, and a perceived need in the marketplace are all part of the equation. But if you don’t notice it in the first place, why even bother?

Some carmakers have Formula One, others create cars like the XL1. - Volkswagen© Provided by Daily News, L.P. Some carmakers have Formula One, others create cars like the XL1. - Volkswagen  

Volkswagen XL1

Some carmakers have Formula One, others create cars like the XL1: VW's extremely efficient plug-in hybrid that is powered by a 47-horsepower, two-cylinder diesel and a 27-horsepower electric motor. With a drag coefficient of 0.19, it reaches 60 mph in 12.7 seconds and tops out at a governed 100 mph. Believe it or not, this VW gets a fabulous 283-mpg in the European cycle. Without the speed governor, the XL1 would reach 124 mph. It's a low, aggressively styled sports car that utilizes a full range of supercar technology, all for the purpose of total efficiency, not maximum speed. It's perhaps the most impressive car of the decade – not to mention proof that VW doesn’t need sneaky software to make a technical marvel.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from New York Daily News

New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Loading...

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon