In the past few years, there’s been a burgeoning trend in car design: cyberpunk. No, I don’t mean the capital-C Cyberpunk of gaming fame (or infamy, depending on when you bought it), I mean the the sci-fi subgenre that mixes advanced technology with ‘80s punk attitudes. From the Tesla Cybertruck to the Hyundai N Vision 74, it seems every modern concept is built for a highly economically stratified world full of oppressive corporations that prey on personal data with no regard for privacy. I wonder why.
Dacia, however, has turned the trend on its head. Its Manifesto concept adopts the aesthetics of the cyberpunk vehicle craze, right down to the asymmetrical lighting, but puts all that technology towards a new purpose: escaping the city life rat race.
On the outside, the Manifesto is all hard-edged silver panels and squared-off accent pieces. It has full-width light bars front and rear, as all new cars seem to, and the tail end is an asymmetrical assortment of hard rectangles and lines. It’s very clearly a car for today, and for our own dark future.
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But the Manifesto wants to be an escape from that future. The concept has no doors or windows, which Dacia claims leaves “no barriers between the passengers and the environment.” The covering on the retro-styled seats at first looks to be an odd, robust nylon, because it is — each seat covering is a sleeping bag, ready for your next outdoor expedition.
While so many automakers lean into the slab-sided brutality of cyberpunk styling, Dacia has subverted the genre. All of the angles, the edges, the asymmetrical layout, come together into a car that looks straight out of Chiba City — but the car’s features and function make it an escape route from the cyberpunk world.