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.

Ever since Fiat brought back the 500 some years back, there seems to have been a renewed approach in bringing their iconic model to a new generation of consumers. In keeping with what’s become a trend in the industry these days - hey there, MINI! - Fiat has gone the route of introducing an extraordinary amount of different models under the 500 line.

The first one that was released was the 500L , a five-passenger model that expands the brand’s style and efficiency in the growing B-segment. From there, Fiat unveiled the 500X , a crossover that’s being touted as a direct rival to the MINI Countryman.

Not content with their expanded line-up, Fiat decided to take it to a whole new level with a minivan that’s being touted as the Fiat 500 XL. We’re tempted to assume that ’XL’ means "extra large," which wouldn’t be too far off considering that the ’L’ in 500L stands for "large."

Recent patent drawings compiled by Carscoop have provided us with the first look of what could very well be the seven-seater 500XL. In order to accommodate the third row of seats, the 500XL is rumored to measure a full six inches longer in the rear overhang than the 500L model, which already had a length of 13.6."

Fiat hasn’t made any formal announcements on the future of the 500XL, although a fair estimate points to the Paris Motor Show as the venue of the 500XL’s debut.

Source: Carscoop

Nissan has announced the first details on the new generation Note - a new global compact car which made its world premiere at the Osanbashi venue in Yokohama. The new model will go on sale in Fall 2012 and aims to become the most user-friendly car in its segment.

When compared to the previous generation, the new Note has adopted a new striking character line - known as the ’Squash Line’ - and an aerodynamic body shape identified thanks to its distinctive front grille, headlamps, and rear combination lamps.

The new Note was built on a lightweight platform and is offered with a choice of two new engines, including the new supercharged HR12DDR (DIG-S) and the HR12DE. The model has also received the next-generation XTRONIC CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) combined with a start-stop system for the new three-cylinder supercharged, direct injection DIG-S engine. With these improvements, the new Note delivers an impressive fuel economy of 25.2 km/L.

Mini is getting serious about expanding its line-up with the addition of a series of new models. Some of them have already been unveiled - like the new Coupe and Roadster - but others only exist due to rumors, at least until now. For the first time, the possible 5 seater van/mpv based on the Countryman platform has been captured by our spy photographers testing in mule form.

As you can see from these spy shots, the front fenders are a lot wider when compared to a standard Countryman and this is due to a slightly wider chassis that will offer more room in the Traveller. The wheelbase is also slightly longer due to the fact that the front wheels have been moved forward.

The new model will be built in order to offer Mini clients a more practical car featuring the typical Mini genes. As expected, the overall look of the Traveller will be very much Mini. The dimensions are compact and the front overhang has been kept short.

Mini’s new van/mpv will be previewed under the Spacebox name and the production car could be named the Traveller when it hits the market in 2014.

After debuting the second generation Meriva two years ago, Opel is now working on a facelift version of the minivan that will most likely receive the same treatment already present in the recently announced Opel Astra facelift. Expect to see the new Meriva facelift launched at the end of 2012 with sales beginning in early 2013.

As you can see from these spy shots, only the car’s front end has been camouflaged meaning that this is the only part of the vehicle that will be updated. The front end will likely receive a redesigned front bumper and new headlamps, while the rear end looks to be completely unchanged although some minor adjustments may be made before it debuts.

Under the hood, Opel will keep the same engine line-up, meaning that the new Meriva will be offered with engines producing a range from a very economical 75 HP up to 140 HP, with an ecoFLEX version to be offered as well.

Chevrolet has just announced that a new minivan will make its way into the “Global Market,” which is the PC term for developing markets. In addition to announcing the upcoming debut, Chevy also teased us with a rather revealing image, for a teaser anyway.

This image depicts a minivan that boasts much bolder styling than your average people-hauling minivan. It features wrap-around headlights that come to a sharp point near the halfway point of the fenders. The windshield rakes rearward at a very shallow angle and its roofline actually has a slight curve to it. Really, this “minivan” looks closer to a crossover than an SUV.

Considering that the developing markets that Chevy has in its targets, Indonesia and Brazil, it is no wonder that it would bear the minivan classification instead of crossover. From personal experience, I can tell you that the term “crossover” is not a well-known one in Indonesia and only a handful of cars, including the Nissan Juke and Suzuki SX4 , bear that classification. We would assume much of the same is going on in Brazil.

The Spin will be available in both a five- and seven-seat capacity, but unlike American minivans, this one will boast hinged doors – again, bearing more resemblance to a crossover. To remain competitive in these developing markets and allow buyers to be able to fuel this new minivan, it will likely boast a sub-2.0-liter engine as its base level, with its smallest engine likely being the 141 PS (139 hp) 1.8-liter four-cylinder in the Chevy Orlando and Cruze .

Given its size and the fact that its closest competitor will be the 2.4-liter-powered Honda Odyssey, which is far smaller than the American Honda Odyssey , Chevy may offer it with an optional 171 PS (168 hp) 2.4-liter found in the Captiva SUV.

Chevy is set to fully unveil this upcoming minivan/crossover in the next few weeks and it’ll hit showroom floors early in 2013. We’ll update you once Chevy releases this additional info.

Click past the jump to read Chevy’s official presser.

We have pretty much all made the joke “Whoa, that [insert inanimate object] just jumped right out in front of me,” but on rare occasion it can actually be true. In the above video, you can see a car driving down a foreign highway with its strategically placed dashboard camera filming what appears to be just another day on the highway.

About 300 feet ahead of the car with the camera is a minivan cruising in the same direction. On the horizon, you can see a large semi-truck hauling something large and square, which ends up being a house. As of that time, this is a strange sight, but hauling houses on a truck is actually a fairly common occurrence.

What is not a common occurrence is when this house suddenly tips over and falls onto the highway, directly in the path of the minivan. You can imagine what happens from there… The minivan plows through the side of this shoddily built structure and goes straight through it, ending up on the shoulder of the highway.

We are pretty amazed at the perfect timing of the entire situation, but we are even more amazed with the ease that the van managed to rip through the house and come out on the other side. Makes you wonder what they built that house out of, papier-mâché maybe.

Anyways, at least in this case, the driver can say to his insurance company “The house just jumped right out in front of me” and actually say it with a straight face. Enjoy the video!

Joining the Honda Concept C in Honda’s stand at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show is the Concept S, a car that’s widely expected the carry the design direction of the future Honda Odyssey .

Similar to the "C" in Concept C, Honda also added symbolism to the "S" in Concept S, which stands to mean "Stylish", "Smart", and "Surprise". Looking at the Concept S, it certainly appears that Honda is venturing into new frontiers with the design of their vehicles. Looking far and away more aggressive than past iterations of the Odyssey, the Concept S comes with a front that shows far more distinct styling, thanks to a completely new grille set-up, slit-like LED front lights, and a swooping hood. Meanwhile, the rear end carries lights that have been merged with the rear window and the chrome strip that runs along the bottom of the boot lid.

Honda has yet to release engine information on the Concept S, but it appears that the Japanese automaker will look in the direction of a hybrid powertrain to put into the production version.

UPDATE 09/12/12: The first official video of the Honda Concept S was released recently showing the concept vehicle out and about on the road. No word yet on whether there’s a production future for the car, but with the release of this video, it could be a positive sign.

The third generation Ford Galaxy went on sale back in 2006 and after a small facelift in 2009, the MPV is ready to enter its fourth generation. Recently, Ford began working on it and the first mule has been caught testing, wearing a completely new front end attached to the body of the current generation.

The next Galaxy will feature a wider track and a completely redesigned front inspired by the company’s Kinetic Design seen in the company’s latest models like the 2012 Focus ,2013 Escape , and the new Mondeo . Under the hood, the future MPV will feature the same engine line-up and gearboxes as the Mondeo , including the latest 2.0-liter Ecoboost with an output of about 240 HP. Also, rumors say that the next Galaxy will be offered with a hybrid powertrain later on.

The new generation Ford Galaxy will be launched by the end of 2012 or in early 2013.

Mercedes Viano/Vito

The upcoming Mercedes Viano has been caught testing again in the snowy condition of North Sweden, but this time the prototype has switched from a white exterior paint finish to a black one. The new Viano will come as a competitor for models like the Volkswagen Multivan/Caravelle, so expect it to have more of a car feeling as opposed to feeling like a transporter.

As previously reported, the new Viano will feature a raised hood and a bigger grille - signs for the addition of new engines and cooling systems. It has been rumored that Mercedes will be offering an AMG version, but we won’t be able to confirm this until 2013-2014 when the new Viano debuts.

The Mercedes Viano will also be offered in a new Vito version - the transporter version. Some rumors even say that the new Viano/Vito will be offered in the US, joining the Sprinter that is already sold here.

Is it any at all possible that a van could have a higher top speed than most sports cars you see around the streets these days?

Normally, a question like that would be treated with such ridicule that it’s not even sane to ask something like it. But when you’re dealing with a German tuner like MTM , then things like this become not only possible, but real in every sense of the word.

In addition to the modified Q3 MTM is bringing to the 2012 Geneva Motor Show , they’ve also prepared a heavily tuned Volkswagen T5. Despite being classified as a van, the MTM-tuned T5 doesn’t perform like one.

All that is due to a ridiculously modified 2.5-liter inline-five engine that is able to crank out an impressive 470 horsepower at 6,900rpm and 461 lb/ft of peak torque at 4,100rpm. Thanks to the upgrades, the T5 is now capable of hitting a maximum top speed of 174 mph. Pretty crazy, right?

Apart from the performance modifications, the T5 also gets the benefit of new components added in by MTM, including the same three-tone vinyl wrap that honors the colors of the German national flag. MTM also fitted in a new set of 20" Bimoto rims wrapped in Michelin Supersport tires.

About the only thing that made us cringe with this program is the astronomical cost of one. According to MTM, their program for the Volkswagen T5 will cost €160,000 or about to US$215,000 based on current exchange rates.


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