minivans

minivans

  Minivans are affordable people carriers. They appeared in the late 70's with the Chrysler Voyager and the Renault Espace. Crossover slowly but surely taking over the minivan segment.

Posted on by TB +  

Next summer’s new small commercial van from Chevy leverages the Nissan NV200 ’s tough-but-cheap new platform with hopes that the powerhouse Chevrolet fleet network can work its magic in delivering significant commercial sales volume.

Called the Chevy City Express, the new small van has twin sliding doors and a massive load bay – all while driving the front wheels and offering an overall 24 mpg.

The small commercial van segment is heating up since the arrival of the Ford Transit Connect . Despite the Transit Connect ’s popularity and niche-filling role in the Ford empire, bringing it to America from Europe has been a labor-intensive process that also means the vehicle offers much slimmer profit margins than the old-school Econolines that were previously Ford’s only answer for van shoppers.

The Chevy City Express path is a shortcut to gain access to this growing market segment without a huge investment in a new platform or assembly line. Nissan’s NV200 is the ideal candidate for a shared model because it offers federalized engines and crash structures, yet can also be sold globally with a variety of tiny gasoline and diesel engines.

As catchy as the old ‘badge engineering’ description is, it does not really apply in this case across the two unrelated companies. This is more like R&D engineering, or supply chain engineering – a rapid way to get this car into dealers with a Chevy badge without any of the risks associated with a years-long, multi-billion-dollar engineering program to build one from scratch.

Will adding some bow-tie grilles and Chevy’s huge network of existing fleet customers to the Nissan package be enough to deliver results for American businesses? Does the new City Express’s efficiency and maneuverability outweigh its lack of towing, off-road or heavy hauling stats?

Update 8/15/2014: Chevy has announced official EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2015 City Express. It gets 24 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined.

Click past the jump for the full preview of the 2015 Chevrolet City Express, including full specs on the shared platform dimensions, features and mechanicals.

Posted on by TB +  

Fiat has unveiled the seven-seat MPV version of its mini car with the official 500L Living name badge for the European market. This model is not yet on U.S. Fiat price lists, but it is expected in spring 2014 under the 500XL badge with a larger engine and optional automatic gearbox.

Much about the new 500L Living is directly derived from the successful 500L series, but a few key additions join the length stretch that puts two mini seats in the third row for the first time. The most notable are the multiple two-tone pastel plus white or black paint schemes and an in-dash espresso machine for fresh coffee.

The Lavazza coffee-maker promises individualized lattes, using a similar one-cup system best known from the Keurig K-cup series. The Fiat’s coffee maker reclaims some of Italy’s pride for inventing modern coffee practices… but then largely missing the boom in café culture epitomized by Starbuck’s global rise.

The expanding Fiat 500 line wants to avoid the same mistake of letting the premium city car segment — a long-time Fiat specialty — fall into the hands of BMW’s MINI brand.

The 500L Living beats the expected MINI Countryman Traveler "Spacebox" to market by more than year but will also face competition in American dealers from the upcoming passenger version of Ford Transit Connect as well as the existing Mazda5 . Secondary competition comes from base-model Dodge Grand Caravans from just $20,000 and some base seven-seat crossovers from $25,000.

Fiat is betting these competitors cannot match its quirky flair, brand image and unique European styling.

Click past the jump for the full preview of the Fiat 500L Living ahead of its anticipated U.S. arrival next year as the 500XL.

Posted on by TB +  

For 2014, Honda is refreshing the Odyssey with some mild exterior tweaks, new safety systems, a new center stack design for the infotainment options and offers the world’s first built-in shop vacuum on top-spec Touring Elite trim. Many of the other cool benefits are limited to the Touring Elite spec as well, but the core package of responsive performance, extreme durability and family friendliness continues unchanged for 2014.

The Honda Odyssey is one of the top two minivans in the sales charts, often jostling for position in this declining market segment with the Toyota Sienna . Both the Honda and Toyota vans are actually pretty pricey in their top configurations, leaving the value segment to the Dodge and Chrysler vans, whose combined sales dwarf the Honda and Toyota.

For people who’ve accepted that they need a van, there’s little loyalty at play and these family audiences are happy to jump ship when a better entry comes along. So far, no one has topped the Honda Odyssey since 1999 in terms of total feature count or buyer satisfaction. One could even say that the Honda is the most premium player in the segment, following the discontinuation of the Mercedes-Benz R-class .

The exterior tweaks are not going to cause a rush on showrooms, but are enough to subtly refine the Odyssey’s style in the face of the more-flamboyant Toyota Sienna design. The new 2014 models arrive in July at Honda dealers nationwide.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Honda Odyssey, including the new HondaVac and HondaHair system on the top Odyssey Touring Elite models.

Posted on by Simona  

This year at the Shanghai Motor Show, Toyota came with two concept cars designed exclusively for the Japanese market: one is the Yundong Shuangqing II - a preview version of a vehicle set to be offered exclusively in China. The second one is the FT-HT Yuejia concept - a six-seat car aimed at younger customers.

The FT-HT Concept comes with three rows of two individual seats and was developed on a wheelbase measuring 2,900 mm (114.17 inches). The concept measures 4,770 mm (187.79 inches) in length, 1,920 mm (75.59 inches) in width and 1,840 mm (72.44) in height, making it the perfect car for a big family.

Toyota said the concept features a hybrid powertrain, and while it reveals nothing on this powertrain, we expect it to be the same one as we have seen in Toyota’s production cars: a 1.8-liter Atkinson cycle petrol engine that delivers 98 horsepower combined with an electric motor for a total output of 134 horsepower.

The new FT-HT Yuejia concept is expected to be put into production exclusively for the Chinese market.

Click past the jump to learn about other China-only concepts displayed in Shanghai.

We knew that Honda was going to present a concept at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show . What we didn’t prepare for was what the Japanese automaker actually showed.

The vehicle, called the Concept M, is an MPV prototype that sure looks like it’s pissed off at the rest of the world. We can’t even begin to tell you just how bad we want to see this concept hit production in the future while keeping the design qualities that made it look completely incredible.

The front profile of the Concept M is the complete achievement in this design. Check out the headlight design and you’ll notice that it’s the same configuration Honda used on the 2012 NSX Concept supercar . That, in itself, is already a winner in our books.

Then you move on to the enormous front grille, which by the looks of it, was designed to terrorize the rear view mirrors of cars in front of it. The intakes are equally imposing and provide even more aggression to one of the most radically designed concept MPVs we’ve seen in quite some time. The rear, meanwhile, is a little more subdued but still has some aggressive details of its own, particularly what looks like a huge chrome bumper guards.

Honda says that the Concept M is a preview concept of a future MPV that will be launched in China soon, "offering the attributes of a passenger car while adding new value through the realization of a comfortable and spacious cabin".

To that, we say "can’t wait!"

Click past the jump to read Honda’s short press release about the Concept M

Posted on by Simona  

The second-generation Ford C-Max was unveiled in 2010 and Ford is already preparing the first revision for this compact minivan. With this revision, Ford is continuing its attempt installing its new "Aston Martin" looking face on all of its vehicles. The revised C-Max was been caught testing in cold conditions in Sweden.

The first spy shots reveal that the revised C-Max will receive the same treatment applied to all the other models in the lineup. Translated, this means we are going to see a new trapezoidal front grille, bracketed by laser-cut headlamps with LED daytime running lamps and a new power-dome hood. We expect to see some minor updates on the interior where Ford will add new technologies, including the new MyKey system offered in all the other models.

Under the hood, the lineup of engines will remain unchanged, but Ford will most likely add the new 1.0-liter EcoBoost petrol engine that delivers a total of 119 horsepower.

Expect the revised Ford C-max to arrive later this year, most likely in September at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Hit the jump to read more about Ford C-Max.

The fourth-generation Honda Odyssey was unveiled back in 2011 and for the 2014 model year, the minivan is ready for its first update. The revised Odyssey will make its world debut at the 2013 New York International Auto Show, and, according to Honda, it "further strengthens the Honda minivan’s position as the segment’s most coveted family-friendly vehicle, and adds to its status as the strongest overall ownership value in its class."

No other details have been revealed, but we expect some minor updates to both the exterior and the interior, while under the hood the car will most likely retain the usual 3.5-liter V-6 engine with three-mode variable cylinder management.

Next to the new Odyssey, Honda will also display its complete lineup of fuel efficient, innovative and fun-to-drive cars and trucks, including the 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid and 2013 Fit EV.

Hit the jump to read the full press release.

Citroen C4 Picasso

Everyone was expecting to see the new Citroen Picasso revealed at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, but the French company decided to only come with a concept version . The production version is continuing its testing session and our spy photographers have caught testing again in Sweden, but this time it was camo-free.

The new Picasso will be offered with the same engine range found in the C4, so that customers will have to choose between both petrol and HDi diesel engines. A hybrid version - Hybrid4 - similar to the one offered in the DS5 and Peugeot 3008 will also be offered.

Initially, the new Picasso will be offered as a five-door model, but a seven-seat model, called the C4 Grand Picasso, will also be offered.

The production version Picasso will likely be unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

Ram has never been an automaker that prided itself on being the fanciest looking in the garage. As its name suggests, the automaker has preferred function over form since its split from Dodge.

And as such, its parent company, Chrysler , has used the 2013 Chicago Auto Show to introduce the newest Ram, the 2014 ProMaster.

With some help from Italian tag-team partner Fiat , Chrysler has come up with a full-sized cargo van that just about boasts of every class-leading category in the market. Or at least that’s what Chrysler claims.

Whether there’s validity to that really depends on what you’re looking for in a cargo van. Fortunately, we found enough things about the ProMaster that we actually like. So much so that we’re not going to brush aside Chrysler’s incessant promotion of it. Maybe they do make a point. Or maybe they’re just drumming up the hype machine.

Either way, the 2014 ProMaster is here and by the looks of things, it’s here to stay.

Find out more about the 2014 Ram ProMaster after the jump

Posted on by Aravind 0

Don’t get carried away with the cool Technospace Concept, as it is merely an insight on what to expect from the upcoming C4 Picasso MUV — one of the best-selling models for the French Automaker .

Slated to be shown off at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, the Technospace Concept looks production ready. Given the new radical design language that Citroen currently follows (Check out the Citroen DS5 for instance), expect the 2014 Picasso to retain minimal changes from the concept design.

If Citroen were to choose the above path, the 2014 Picasso will be 40 mm (1.57 inches) shorter in height than the outgoing model and 55 mm (2.16 inches) longer for extra cabin space. With these changes, the new Picasso will feature new proportions that delicately combine compactness and a large cabin space — a good aspect to impress customers looking for sheer practicality in a well-built package.

To befit the name, the car boasts several cool features to fascinate the children you will soon be ferrying such as a full-touch driving interface with a high-definition 12-inch panoramic screen.

The all-you-can-fit French van sits on Citroen’s new Efficient Modular Platform 2 (EMP2) that aims to make the car lighter and more stable. And with an eco-friendly lineup in the cards, expect emission to be at a record level of 98 g/km.

The production version of the Technospace concept, aka the 2014 C4 Picasso will see the light of day from the second half of 2013. We’ll update this review once details fly by.


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