posted on February 29, 2020

Celebrating the 2020 Leap Year with cars that stray from the norm

Automakers tend to stick to a formula when producing vehicles, as they know their customer base well and want to sell vehicles that turn a profit for the company. However, every so often, vehicles make their way from concept to production that deviate far from the norm.

Fewer and fewer cars these days push the boundaries of acceptable design and styling. Fewer still are so radically different (and financially risky) that they reengineer the idea of an automobile altogether. Let’s celebrate the once-every-four-years occasion of February 29 with some automotive rarities available on Turo.

BMW i8

Michael’s 2014 BMW i8 (Westborough, MA)

Hybrids and sports cars don’t typically attract the same clientele, but BMW launched their i8 plug-in as a way to get buyers to rethink the concept. With butterfly doors and bodywork built in the name of cutting-edge aerodynamics, the i8’s styling marks the beginning of an entirely new generation of BMW design with futuristic swoops and blue accents. Powered by a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor, the i8 produces a healthy combined output around 360 horsepower that gets put down through all-wheel drive. In case the i8 didn’t turn enough heads, BMW added a roadster to the lineup for drivers that enjoy open air motoring.

Toyota Mirai

Lawrence’s 2017 Toyota Mirai (San Marcos, CA)

We’re all familiar with the Prius for popularizing hybrid and alternative propulsion vehicles, however it’s the Toyota Mirai that really took things to the next level. Utilizing a hydrogen fuel cell, the Mirai’s only emission is water. While it still requires occasional fill-ups from hydrogen fuel stations, the Mirai also reaps the benefits of a hybrid when driving around town thanks to regenerative braking technology. If the next-gen powertrain isn’t enough to prove this car is a massive leap in technology, the styling is out of this world as well, meaning you won’t mistake the Mirai for anything else on the road.

Range Rover Evoque Convertible

Raed’s 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Cabrio (Los Angeles, CA)

Range Rover might be known by many for their luxurious off-roaders, but did you know they also offered a 2-door convertible? For 2017 and 2018, Range Rover chopped the top off their compact Evoque, creating a unique driving experience. Now drivers could enjoy the spirit of traversing the British countryside while basking in the sunshine. For the majority of drivers though, the droptop Evoque likely spends its time on city streets. Even if that’s the case, the unconventional combination of a luxury SUV with two doors, a short wheelbase, and convertible top is a sightseeing adventure in itself.

Sebring-Vanguard Citicar

James’s 1975 Sebring-Vanguard Citicar (Chicago, IL)

Until recently, electric vehicles struggled to gain traction with mainstream buyers, but that didn’t stop Sebring-Vangaurd from trying get drivers to make the switch from fossil fuels. The Citicar was produced during the mid-1970s as an all-electric runabout similar to a golf cart. The tiny wedge-shaped Citicar came equipped with a 3.5-horsepower electric motor with a range in the neighborhood of 40 miles. Later variants received a slightly more powerful six-horsepower motor, but the Citicar’s main objective was never performance, but rather quick trips around town, especially with little in the way of creature comforts. Surprisingly, over 4,000 of these retro EVs made their way off the assembly line, making them an interesting chapter in American auto history.

Joey is usually thinking about one thing: cars, cars, and did we mention cars? If he’s not talking about cars, chances are he’s tinkering under the hood of his old E30 BMW.