Every now and then, we chance upon a vehicle in one of these auto shows that capture our imaginations for an entirely different purpose. While these types of cars aren’t exactly common items in these type of auto shows, their appearances have no other purpose but to liven up the proceedings.
And on cue, the Chicago Auto Show featured one display that most definitely falls under this billing. Underneath all the cosmetic add-ons is just an ordinary Volkswagen bus. But, as the display proudly shows, it’s also the decked-out ride of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
That’s right. It’s those bandana-wearing, karate-chopping mutant turtles. The display came courtesy of the Volo Auto Museum, which makes you wonder out of all the cars they could have exhibited at the Chicago Auto Show, they had to go with the Turtle Van with a matching five-foot tall Ninja Turtle decked out in full battle gear.
Don’t worry, we’re not complaining. After all, in a show featuring some of the newest cars to come out of the woodwork, you’re going to need some time for comic relief, which you can achieve just by looking at this Turtle Van.
It is not very often that we get excited about a minivan, however Honda’s new Odyssey Concept from the Chicago Auto Show has a few neat features that not only caught our eye, but made us come back for a second glimpse and look forward to the production version that is scheduled to follow this Fall. That is because the new concept features a sleeker, stronger and more dynamic presence with a low slung roof line and a slightly wider stance powered by a fuel efficient i-VTEC V6 with three mode Variable Cylinder Management that is expected to deliver an estimated 19 MPG in the city and as much as 28 MPG on the highway.
"The Odyssey established its reputation by providing families with what they most want in a minivan - great functionality, an emphasis on safety and good fuel economy," said Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of American Honda product planning. "Odyssey then further delighted customers with its surprisingly engaging, fun-to-drive and dynamic nature. The next-generation Odyssey promises to take these strengths to a higher level while adding more style and personality."
We don’t know if this commercial is going to be part of the Superbowl but it sure is witty enough to have a place on America’s biggest football game.
The commercial, which is promoting Mercedes’ new certified used-van program, features a dinged-up old Mercedes Sprinter jugging along a country road before its engine inexplicably conks out. As the driver opens the hood, an evil clown jumps out Jack-in-the-Box style.
Then the tag line comes: “Avoid surprises. Choose a Mercedes-Benz Used 1”.
Nice tag line, if you ask us. And we’ll be honest; the driver wasn’t the only one that was caught by surprise by that clown.
The Japanese automaker Mazda will unveil at the next generation Mazda5 at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. Like all previous models, the new Mazda5 speaks the same Nagare design language and is powered by a fuel efficient direct injection gasoline engine and other technologies with sales slated to begin this fall. The new model will be offered with a choice of two engines: a 1.8 Liter gasoline engine mated to a six speed manual transmission and a 2.0 Liter engine with direct injection and i-stop.
The German car builder Opel will unveil their second generation Meriva compact hatch in March at the Geneva Motor Show. The all new Meriva features the same design language as the larger and very successful Opel Insignia. However unlike any production Opel that came before, the new Merivia retains the trick suicide style FlexDoors that were showcased on the Meriva Concept back in 2008. Like the Lincoln Continental, the unique opening arrangement provided by the FlexDoors makes the Merivia a much more functional vehicle by making it much easier to get in and out of the rear seat with the back door opening up a full 84 degrees.
As opposed to conventional doors that only open 68 to 70 degrees, the FlexDoors are more ergonomic in the event that a front seat passenger can easily place items in the rear compartment like a jacket, briefcase or even an umbrella behind them. The 2011 Meriva will be offered with a wide range of power train options with outputs ranging from a very economical 75 HP up to 140 HP, with an ecoFLEX version to be offered as well. The Meriva’s engine will be mated to a choice of five and six speed manual transmissions as well as a smooth shifting six speed automatic. Offering a dash of fun into the compact people mover category.
UPDATE 06/29/2010: Check out the new 3D commercial for the Opel Meriva after the jump.
Toyota revealed today at the Los Angeles Auto Show the third-generation Sienna minivan. Sales will begin in February 2010 with the Sienna being offered in five grades: Sienna grade, LE, SE, XLE and Limited.
The 2011 Sienna features a more modernly advanced and bold design, with sophisticated headlamps angled, sculptural rear corner, LED taillights and distinctive window shapes.
The car will be offered with a choice of two engines: a 3.5-liter V6 rated 266 hp at 6,200 rpm and a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 187 hp at 5,800 rpm. Both engines are matched with state-of-the-art, electronically controlled six-speed transmissions with sequential shift.
The third generation Sienna minivan that will go on sale in February 2010. Prices will range from $24,260 for the Sienna grade with a four-cylinder engine to $39,770 for the Sienna Limited all-wheel-drive (AWD) V6. The 2011 Sienna will be offered in V6-powered Sienna grade, LE, XLE and Limited models. Four-cylinder Sienna grade and LE models, and the SE grade will arrive at dealerships in April.
Looks like a regular next-generation van doesn’t it? The truth is, there’s nothing ordinary about Honda’s new concept MPV, the Skydeck.
The six-seater hybrid MPV, the Skydeck is the latest example of Honda’s versatile IMA technology. The car’s innovative design comes with a flat and see-through glass roof, a higher-than-usual rear-end, and scissor doors at the front to complement the sliding doors at the sides. The hybrid MPV runs on a high-powered battery, which is located on the MPV’s center tunnel, as opposed to traditional hybrids whose batteries are usually located behind the car’s rear seats.
The glass roof from which we believe the name ‘Skydeck’ was taken from is another nice touch to the car, in addition to the stylish – and spacious - interior that looks more and more like an office space rather than a car’s interior.
Further details surrounding the car will be revealed in Tokyo. For now, we can give you a first look at what you can expect from Honda’s new hybrid MPV.
Ford will unveil at the Frankfurt Motor Show the next generation C-MAX, a model that is inspired by the iosis MAX concept car unveiled at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Sales will begin in the second half of 2010.
Departing from usual MAV thinking by using Ford’s ’kinetic design’ styling language to adopt a more dynamic passenger-car look, the new model features a coupé-like, sweeping roofline while still retaining the established Ford C-MAX hallmarks of comfort, space, and practicality.
The new C-MAX will be powered by an all-new 1.6-litre Ford EcoBoost direct injection petrol engine. It will be offered with semi-automatic parallel parking and a blind-spot detection system.
Every so often it is nice to see an MPV with a little flare. That is exactly what Honda’s factory affiliated tuners Mugen have done with the next generation Stream multi people mover. Drivers don’t always choose to drive vehicles that are more about we and less about me. At certain times we must sacrifice fun for things like fuel economy and cargo space, but those are sacrifices that new car buyers must face throughout their automotive life cycle. So it is nice to see that sports cars aren’t the only things that Mugen is interested in, bringing a sigh of relief to repressed MPV drivers looking for a little excitement in their ride.
The Japanese tuner does a good job of proving that the 2010 Honda Stream can be a pretty cool, as long as you add a few items in the right places. Mugen added a pair of front and rear lips that work with the side skirts to make the MPV look closer to the ground. A sporty looking grille, roof-mounted rear wing and stylish 17 inch alloy wheels to finish off the package. There are even more hardcore tuner bits being offered: like a performance brake setup, performance exhaust, sport suspension for better road holding and a performance air filter to let the gasoline direct injection engine breathe a little easier.
These kinds of modified mini cars are popular in Europe and Japan, both places where parking is tight and gas is expensive. Instead of investing lots of money with pricey turbo kits that are just going to burn more petrol; mini modifiers go as far as they can with outrageous looks and wild wheels to stand out from the rest of the road going public. There is already a trend in the automotive marketplace for smaller, lightweight vehicles. The way that things are looking, we might be seeing more and more MPVs like the Honda Stream here in the U.S. and it is nice to know that there will already be parts available for them.