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.

SsangYong’s Rodius minivan was never created with the intention of winning any design awards. That much was made evident with a look that reminded you a forlorn cat looking for some food and shelter. In a way, it was really sad to look at. So sad, in fact, that seeing one on the road almost brings a tear to our eyes, as if to say that "I hate myself. Please Ssangyong, change my appearance."

Well, at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show , the Korean automaker is finally acquiescing with the introduction of the facelifted Rodius. And to their credit, the two teaser photos seem to show a more refreshing looking Rodius that makes use of SsangYong’s design philosophy of “Robust, Premium, Specialty.”

The body looks more streamlined, something we didn’t think SsangYong was able to comprehend with the existing Robius. There’s some potential here, albeit a limited one, given the automaker’s standing in the automotive hierarchy. Regardless, it’s a small step for these guys to get more attention, something they tried in the wrong way with their existing Rodius minivan.

We’ll have the full details of the refreshed Rodius when it makes its world debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.

Citroen C4 Grand Picasso

You have probably noticed that these past few days have been pretty busy with spy shots. That’s probably because most automakers have taken their future models out for extreme testing in the bitter cold. This is exactly what Citroen did with their upcoming Grand Picasso .

When compared to the standard Picasso, the Grand Picasso version will receive longer rear doors, a boxier rear and has been specially designed for bigger families. While many were expecting sliding doors on the Grand Picasso, the new spy shots reveal that the doors will be of conventional type.

We expect many of the engines from the C4 to be carried over for the Grand Picasso, meaning you will find a range of petrol and HDi diesel engines available. Rumors suggest that the Grand Picasso could also receive the Hybrid4 system seen in the DS5 and Peugeot 3008 .

The new Citroen Grand Picasso will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show and will be put on sale in late 2013.

It looks like the 2013 Dodge Charger Daytona won’t be the only model at Chrysler’s stand in Los Angeles. The company will also be unveiling an S version for the 2013 Town & Country . This model will get the same exterior and interior enhancements as seen on the Chrysler 300 S .

The model will be offered in four exterior colors: Brilliant Black, Deep Cherry Red, Stone White or Billet Silver. It also receives a dark-chrome grille, a black-background Chrysler Winged badges, a black rear fascia step pad, "S" model badges and a set of 17-inch aluminum wheels with polished faces and black-painted pockets.

Inside the cabin, the new S version will add Black Torino leather seats with an "S" logo embroidered in the seat backs and black Ballistic cloth seat inserts. The instrument panel will also get Piano Black gloss appliques and will be combined with a black leather-wrapped steering wheel, a black headliner, upper consoles and center console, and an "S" logo in the instrument cluster.

The Town & Country S will come with with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine that delivers a total of 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The engine will mate to a 62TE six-speed automatic transmission. It also features a performance suspension that provides a comfortable, yet sporty, ride — as sporty as a minivan can be.

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Anybody remember the Mercedes-Benz R-Class ? Long story short, it was Mercedes-Benz’s attempt to popularize the MPV-meets-SUV segment, which included the likes of the now-deceased Chrysler Pacifica .

Even with the Mercedes-Benz image, this car was a failure due to it being hideously ugly and overly expensive — a failure that Mercedes later admitted . Once sales began, the starting price of the R-Class was very close to the starting price of the flagship S-Class. So, unless you owned a 5-star hotel with airport-transfer service, the R-Class never really justified its usefulness over the S-Class .

Keeping all of that aside, the R-Class isn’t exactly the type of car that would cross most minds when it comes to modification. At SEMA, however, cars showcased don’t really bend to convention. With that thought in mind, Infinite Auto Design decided to lease some new life to the forsaken R-Class.

Underneath that AMG-esque body kit is a standard R500 that is powered by an unmodified 5.0-liter V-8 engine. This means it cranks out 302-horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque, which isn’t too bad for a minivan-SUV crossover in its era.

The exterior embraces the full blown treatment that any car at Infinite Auto Design would receive. It gets custom-built front and rear bumpers that add some eye-candy to the standard and rather boring design. The car is then wrapped in a gray matte paint job and fitted with a set of delicious looking, 20-inch Forgestar wheels.

Overall, this car can only be appreciated for its attempt at injecting a few ounces of "cool" into the R-Class, much like the nowhere-to-be-seen R63 AMG .

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As any respectable modern manufacturer, Mercedes started to develop new technologies to increase the efficiency of its vehicles. One of the models selected to be fitted with its latest technology is the Vito E-Cell, a spacious and practical van designed for those who put interior space and cargo volume at the top of their auto needs list.

The fuel powered Mercedes Vito is one of the most appreciated vans in its class and can even be considered the segment’s leader. Given the fact that the E-Cell version is significantly more efficient than its sibling and offers the same amount of cargo space, it could prove to be a pretty smart choice, especially for commercial operators that are constantly searching for the most cost efficient method of transport.

At the heart of the Mercedes Vito E-Cell sits a pack of high-performance lithium-ion batteries which have a combined capacity of 36kWh. The battery pack powers a 60 kW electric motor and offer a range of 130 km. Unfortunately, the Mercedes Vito’s payload capacity was affected by its electric drivetrain and was dropped to 730 kg from 900 kg.

Volkswagen just launched their third generation Touran back in 2010, but it seems as though the company this model needs a little more work as we have just caught the first mule for the next generation Touran in its testing phase.

The best part is that Volkswagen forget to cover up the goods on this mule, so we can easily see that the next generation Touran will feature an all new front end with a new front bumper, new headlights, a new grille, new engine hood, and new fenders. The only parts that were camouflaged were the lower part of the bumper and the headlights, so thank you Volkswagen!

We can also see that the track will be slightly wider and a few centimeters longer, but that’s pretty much all we can say at this point. More details will should follow in the upcoming months, since the new generation Volkswagen Touran will be unveiled at either the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show or the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

When the Honda Concept S hit the stage at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show, two models came to mind, the Odyssey and the Jazz. It is slightly larger than your average hatchback, but significantly smaller than the American Honda Odyssey , so the final production name is up in the air. Keep in mind that the Odyssey in some Asian markets has a much lower-slung roof and a shallower windshield rake than the American version, so therein lays the possibility that it could become the new Odyssey.

Of course, production of the Concept S was never a guarantee, as with nearly every concept car. However, when an automaker produces a video on a specific concept car, you can pretty much rest assured that it will hit production in some form or fashion. That is exactly what Honda has done with the above video.

Seeing the video and people actually sitting in the seats, the Concept S really seems to have more of an MPV type of setup. All of that headroom and the spacious rear seats nearly eliminate it as a replacement for the Jazz, which is closely related to the Fit in the States. Then again, maybe Honda is trying to gain an edge by making the Jazz slightly larger than your typical 5-door hatchback.

Either way, we can say that the Concept S’s style is unmistakably awesome and its potential for release just increased 10-fold by Honda releasing this video.

Hopefully we’ll have an announcement on a production model soon. Those in the U.S., you’ll have to sit this one out, as the Concept S looks like it will be an Asian-market model only.


The Volkswagen Caddy , by itself, isn’t really the kind of vehicle that draws attention. Now, when you add that ’Cross ’ designation, it becomes a lot more interesting, especially to the off-road customer.

The model, which is based on the Caddy Edition 30, certainly looks the part of a Volkswagen , thanks to a profile that follows along the same lines of its family. But looks isn’t what sets the Cross Caddy apart because this bad boy is all about rugged functionality.

For starters, the vehicle comes with a protective armor - yup, protective armor! - on the lower areas of the front and rear bumper, the side sills, and the wheel arches. The undercarriage on the front and rear also have their own silver guards while the silver roof rails allow for extra luggage stowing. Finally, a choice of eight body colors, including the Viper Green in the photos, are available as are the new set of 17" alloy wheels.

Inside, the vehicle’s cabin surprisingly comes with a leather trim with grey stitching on various parts of the cabin, including the handbrake lever and the gear knob. We’re not sure why there’s leather on a vehicle that’s fixing to get stained from the off-road, but hey, it does add some semblance of luxury to it. The two-tone front seats are a nice touch and the choice of either five or seven seats gives customers a nice choice of seating options.

One of the good things about the Cross Caddy is the variety of engines it will carry, including TDI, TSI, LPG, and natural gas option. As far as output is concerned, customers can opt for something as subtle as 85 horsepower all the way up to 168 horsepower.

Ford ’s Transit Connect is preparing to enter a new generation and today we have the very first spy shots to prove it. While Ford is trying to keep the model a secret, we expect to see both a passenger model with five and possibly seven seats, as well as a two seater commercial model.

While the prototype is heavily camouflaged, you can easily notice that the front end will be more car-like and borrows some styling from the Fiesta and Ka, especially the head lights and grille. At the back, there are thinner and longer rear lights. This prototype has the roof-hinged one piece hatch, but the Transit Connect will be offered with two side hinged doors as well.

The engine line-up for the Transit will include a 1.6 or 1.8 Duratorq TDCi turbodiesel engine, but a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated Duratec engine will also be offered.

The new generation Ford Transit Connect will be offered in both Europe and on the US market as a 2014 model.

Kia is teasing us with their new generation Carens , but today at the Paris Auto Show the model has finally made its official debut. However, customers interested in buying one will have to wait until spring 2013 because this is when the model will be put on sale.

The third generation Carens is new from the ground up and Kia hopes to attract new buyers with an all-new platform, it delivers stylish, spacious practicality, with sleek aerodynamics, a cab-forward design, long wheelbase and up to seven seats.

"The new Carens builds on the family-friendly versatility and functionality of its predecessor, and features more athletic and visually dynamic design," says Hyoung-Keun Lee, Vice Chairman and CEO, Kia Motors Corporation. "This marks a dramatic shift forward for our MPV contender and brings the model in line with Kia’s distinctive current design direction."

Updated 09/27/2012: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2013 Kia Carens.

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