Thursday, November 13, 2008

The New Crossover: related concepts and technology

The latest series of articles on the “New Crossover” were initiated from news that Volvo might be upgrading their classic stations to something higher, closer to a SUV. The next BMW PAS is also related to the New Crossover concept, actually it might turn out to be the reference for future cars in this new segment.

The previous article on this series focused on related existing vehicles. This article discusses recent concept cars and CGIs of future cars that point directions on how the New Crossover should look like.

Opel Flex
The concept pictured below is a fine example on how an attractive minivan should look like. If you think of the New Crossover as a cross between SUVs, stations and minivans (or MPVs), the evolution from the minivan concept should be much more sportive than most of the existing cars. The Ford S-Max is a good example of such concept: it’s bolder and much more sportive that other cars in its class and mainly because of that it owns the segment in Europe. The Opel Flex concept is also interesting because of the Volt underpinnings although we are not sure if it will exist in the future, or even Opel for that matter.

Ford C-Max
The photoshop below previews the next generation Ford C-Max. The current one also fits in the “very sporty” MPV category: it’s lower than other MPVs like the Scénic or Picasso, has fabulous handling (well above everything in its class) and the latest restyling brought a very aggressive front end. The rest of the car is still very square, as in most minivans, but if the next generation is close to the photoshop image it could be the kind of New Crossover that is on discussion here. It might even have AWD available (not confirmed yet) and is also an interesting vehicle because it’s being developed for both European and American markets.

Citroen C-sportlounge
The sportlounge was a concept from 2005 that previewed the current generation Citroen Picasso. As expected, the Picasso didn’t turn out to be so stylish, but still we notice that the overall proportions of this concept car are close to what one might expect for the New Crossover. There have been rumours that Citroen might be serious about making a related vehicle in the future and certainly one of their last concepts at the Paris car show points in that direction. That concept car is our last vehicle in this article and it’s also the closest interpretation to the ideal New Crossover

Citroen Hypnos
The right proportions, the right concept and technology. This could be the New Crossover. Minus some excessive detailing and spaceship interior, the Hypnos concept is just the best example of the New Crossover idea. It’s higher than a station, but lower than a traditional SUV and much more sportive than both. It could have space and utility features from most MPVs but packed in a much more attractive and aspirational design. As a bonus it also has the right technology: a simple hybrid approach that allows for an elegant AWD implementation, very similar to what is currently found in the Lexus RX400h. And more: full EV-mode and plug-in availability. If Citroen is brave enough to make it this could be a true 21st century car.

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