05 Jan. 2012
Citroën's big announcement for the Frankfurt Motor Show comes in the form of Tubik concept car, an innovative 9-seater vehicle that aims to prove that people carriers can be fun.
Combining the practicality of an MPV with the elegance of a Citroën saloon car, Tubik was inspired by the renowned Type H or TUB, a classic van that proved to be a massive success from 1947 until 1981. The Type H was marketed from the post-war era as a commercial vehicle. It had a payload of 1,200kg and it was an innovator of its era. It featured a new structural concept - a backbone frame of ribbed steel. Fitted with a 1,191cc, 50bhp engine, more than 490,000 examples of the Type H were built.
But unlike the Type H, Tubik will benefit from the very latest eco-friendly technology as it will be fitted with Citroën's Hybrid4 technology. This means Tubik will be powered by a full diesel hybrid engine, begin perhaps the first 9-seater car to offer CO2 emissions at a comparable level to a saloon car. The diesel engine will be at the front of the vehicle while the electric motor will be at the rear. To assist with performance, the 22-inch wheels have been fitted with low rolling resistance tyres.
Tubik is 4.8m long, 2.08m wide and 2.05m tall, offering an imposing presence on the road. The distinctive ribbing and windscreen pillars are reminiscent of the Type H van and the designers have included contrasting colours for added distinctive style. The example that will be on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show will incorporate a metallic grey body shell with pearlescent white at either end.
Other important design features include two large doors with access to the driver's cabin and what Citroën terms 'the living area'. These doors are barely visible when closed and there is a cabin door that opens upwards and incorporates the entire side of Tubik.
As well as the design being informed by the style and functionality of the Type H, Citroën has included very modern, forward-thinking interior concepts to Tubik. These include modular, independent seats that can be arranged in different configurations to suit passenger and luggage transportation requirements. It's a lounge-like cocoon. Ambient lighting and panoramic windows which offer great visibility as well as privacy adds to the luxurious experience. Passengers can enjoy semi-reclined seating as well as sociable face-to-face configurations. There's also a cleverly concealed hold for extra luggage.
In-car multimedia technology is another priority of Tubik with equipment such as a giant semi-circular screen and high-definition spatialised sound. With the seats configured so the passengers can face each other, the in-car TV screen becomes an entertainment hub for the vehicle. Like the also-showcased DS5, the Tubik could be described as an executive car, and an executive could hold a high-powered presentation in Tubik if necessary!
For the driver, the high-tech cabin is dominated by what the designers have dubbed the "cyclotron" - a module that groups the black leather seat, pedal assemble, steering wheel and curved head-up display in one circular form. The head-up display is mounted in front of the steering wheel and provides navigational information and Tubik is also equipped with reversing and rear-view cameras.
Tubik builds on Citroën's Multicity project, an online portal and route-finder to cover all available means of transport in France and it offers a great 9-seater solution for people needing to transport large numbers of people without sacrificing quality, style or performance.