Vauxhall has released images and details of the GT X Experimental Concept - a compact SUV concept with an EV powertrain that is said to preview the future of Vauxhall design. While this may seem to be a fairly unoriginal idea by usual concept car standards, the GT X is in fact an important car for the British marque, as it is the first concept car since its purchase by the French parent company of Peugeot and Citroen, PSA. As a result, the brand’s revitalisation is now firmly in the works, and this concept is our first look at what we might reasonably expect from a future French-owned Vauxhall.
The first, and perhaps most dramatic design element that the GT X Experimental introduces is what Vauxhall calls the ‘Visor’, a black plexiglass panel at the front of the car amalgamating the headlights, DRLs, badge and driver-aid hardware into a single sleek graphic. Vauxhall has confirmed that this element will find its way onto production models, forming the centre of the brands forthcoming design language.
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Move along the car’s flank, and you’ll see the upper and lower body sections have been separated by a yellow detail line, a feature we should also see on future production models, while the overall surfacing has been simplified compared to Vauxhall’s current design language.
The reason for this simplification has been explained by Vauxhall’s Vice President of Design, Mark Adams, in what he calls a ‘visual detox’. By reducing unnecessary details in order to simplify the design both visually and technically, it reflects Vauxhalls accessible nature as a mainstream manufacturer. An example of such an element are the small 17-inch wheels that have been designed to mimic much larger and more marketing-friendly 20-inch wheels, and a reduction of separate body panels, exemplified by the fusion of the rear door and quarter panel.
This new design ethos will be seen for the first time in production on the all-new Corsa due next year. Although it won’t be the first model to be based on a PSA platform (there have been a couple of Vauxhall SUVs already twinned off Peugeot platforms from a previous technical agreement), it will be the first all-new model released since the takeover last year.
The French conglomerate has been been on a roll lately too, with recent Peugeots impressing us with their quality, clever interiors and capable, sometimes even entertaining handling. A future Vauxhall hot hatch is also in good hands, as the current 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport is the most exciting supermini hot hatch in a generation, and should provide an impressive reference point for a future Corsa VXR. The GT X Concept might only be a look towards Vauxhall’s future, but for the first time in ages, there seems to be a bit of enthusiasm behind the griffin badge.