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.

The Mazda5 isn’t really the kind of vehicle that you’d associate running around the Laguna Seca Raceway so we were a little bit curious to her of one being made for that specific purpose - and be displayed at the 2011 SEMA Auto Show . So consider us surprised to see the beloved minivan get a full-on racing treatment courtesy of Mazda Design.

The first thing that caught our eye about this piece of work of a Mazda5 is the custom graphics on its side that features a map of the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (MRLS) racing circuit complete with notes and descriptions of the locations of the bathrooms. The custom minivan also received an MRLS logo on the front doors, a striking orange line along the side skirts, lowering springs with height-adjustable perches, and a set of 19" Mazda RX-8 R3-spec forged aluminum wheels, complete with MRLS logo orange dots.

For a vehicle that seems to be as out of place on a race track as a heavyset bouncer is watching the new Twilight movie, the Mazda5 MLRS Support Vehicle does have some endearing and impressive qualities.

The new generation Fiesta turned out to be a very successful model all over the world, proving that Ford understands that small cars are the future of the automotive industry. After seeing the B-Max concept at the Geneva Motor Show, our spy photographers have now caught the production version testing in Germany.

The future Ford B-Max will be placed below the C-MAX from which it will borrow numerous design elements. Compared to the Fiesta, the B-Max will be longer and taller, but it will come with rear sliding doors that make it really practical at narrow parking places. This will no doubt be a feature all parents will appreciate.

Under the hood, Ford will place a 1.0 liter three cylinder EcoBoost engine with both direct injection and turbo. Next to this, however, Ford will be offering more conventional petrol and diesel engines from the Fiesta range.

The new B-Max will be unveiled in 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show and will go into production at Ford’s Craiova plant in Romania. Sales will begin in the next 12 months.

UPDATE 09/26/2011: The future Ford B-Max has been caught testing yet again, and the new images give a clear view of the vehicle’s rear lights. We were also able to get a good picture of the interior! Check out the gallery to see all of the new images!

Posted on by Deric Raymond 23

If you thought the Volkswagen NILS was a crazy concept, check out Citroën’s latest vehicle. This car looks like the guys over at Citroën dropped acid and designed an out-of-this-world van to capture the most fun out of a long journey.

The Tubik pays homage to its old predecessors, the 1939 Tub van and the 1948 Type H that was in production until the late 70s. The Tubik features a major leap in technology and design, probably none of which will ever see production. But boy do we love dreamers....

The images provided by Citroën are intended to capture the public with "a concept car designed to make travel meaningful again." That being said (by Citroën), we couldn’t think of a groovier way to travel than in this modern, MPV-type, snout-nosed people carrier.

The entire cabin is replete with violet lounge seats, glass encasing, and probably enough LED lighting to make Audi blush with embarrassment. And take a look at the driver’s quarters, it looks like something Segway makes. The cockpit, if that’s what you can call it, is a dizzying array of curved inserts, euphoric lighting, and a bizarre seat. The spoke-less, magically lit (with center-mounted LCD screens for side views) is something that we think should go into immediate production..yesterday.

If Citroën decides to make anything remotely like this concept, snatch it up out of an abundance of "wow" factor.

Hit the jump to see a short press release and images of the baffling, beautiful concept.

Launched on the market in 1996, the Renault Scenic is currently in its third generation. And although the third generation Scenic has only been out on the market for a little over a year, the company is preparing it for a bigger facelift. The revised vehicle has been caught testing somewhere in France and as the spy images show, Renault is trying its best to get the Scenic up to par with the latest MPVs coming out.

While the prototype caught testing is heavily camouflaged, expect the final product to have an exterior design matching that of Renault’s latest concept cars. As for the engine line-up, Expect the same engines as found in the current seven seater model, along with an extra engine thrown in for good measure. Renault will be offering a new 1.6 turbo diesel "dci Energy" with a total output of 130 HP.

Expect the new Scenic in September at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The 2012 Fiat Panda has been caught testing under extreme weather conditions somewhere in Italy revealing nothing but complete camouflage from head to toe. Despite the heavily clad exterior, details of the vehicle’s new design path have already been revealed due to some leaked patent drawings.

The new Fiat Panda will adopt a more aerodynamic appearance with a rounded hood, a wider grille with sweptback headlights, and a sloping roofline. Other modifications to the exterior include a bigger air intake, a disproportionate rear quarter window, and a new set of wheels. The interior will also be significantly improved compared to the current model.

So far, we haven’t heard a peep as to what will be residing under the hood, but we expect to see the same engine lineup as found in the Fiat 500 . That lineup includes a 69 HP 1.2. 75 HP1.3 Multijet with DPF and a 100 bhp 1.4 16v, as well as TwinAir technology.

The new Fiat Panda will make its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September with sales to begin in early 2012.

Updated 08/30/2011: Fiat has unveiled today the first images for the new generation Panda that will make its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The third generation Panda has been improved in terms of comfort, technology and safety equipment, and comes with an improved range of engines. Customers will have to choose between two TwinAir twin cylinder engines: the International Engine of the Year 2011 85bhp TwinAir Turbo, or the brand new 65bhp naturally aspirated TwinAir, both equipped with Start and Stop as standard. Sales will begin next spring.

Yet another brand that’s looking into breaking in a new design language for their future models, Opel will be introducing the second model that will be carrying the company’s new styling cues at the Geneva Motor Show. Following the Opel Ampera , get ready to be introduced to the Zafira Tourer Concept.

Like with most concepts being designed these days, the Zafira Concept has plenty of new features that may or not make it to the production version. Since it’s all about show-and-tell with cars of this variety, Opel made sure to give the Zafira Concept plenty of eye-catching digs. On the outside, the tourer’s design language is similar to the features found on the Opel Ampera, including a front fascia that also comes with a boomerang-style character line with LED daytime driving lights, bi-xenon headlights, a glass roof with integrated ambient lighting, and a panoramic windscreen.

Meanwhile, the Zafira’s interior comes with what Opel describes as a “lounge on wheels”, highlighted by electrically-powered headrests that swivel 90 degrees horizontally, ensuring passengers of experiencing “pure wellness”. In addition to the spa-like atmosphere, the Zafira Concept also has three rows of seats with the second-row center seat capable of being folded down to make room for an armrest. Meanwhile, the third-row seats can also be manipulated with a simple press of a button, where it automatically folded into the floor.

There’s still no official word on what kind of powertrain the Zafira concept will have, but the most likely of all options is a1.4-liter turbocharged engine with a likely output of 138 horsepower and 148 lb/ft of torque.

One of the most impressive vehicles brought by Renault at the Geneva Motor Show is the R-Space concept, a simple, sensuous and welcoming family vehicle that express Renault’s new design philosophy in the MPV segment. Renault said nothing about a production version, but we believe that Renault won’t bring a concept car just as a simple exercise.

"R-Space brings together qualities long considered opposed: family, functionality, sportiness and sensuality," explains Axel Breun, Director of Design for Concept and Show Cars. "It answers the expectations of a large slice of our modern society."

the R-Space is 4.25 meters long and features a prominent grille, a panoramic windscreen and "suicide" rear doors that are already a mark for Renault’s latest concepts. The concept is powered by a turbocharged three-cylinder, 110 hp, 900cc petrol engine mated to an Efficient Dual Clutch transmission (EDC).

Hit the jump to read more about the Renault R-Space Concept.

The second production version added to the Toyota Prius family is the new "v" version revealed at the Detroit Auto Show. With "v" expressing the vehicle’s versatility, the new Prius v will combine the practicability of a minivan with the hybrid drivetrain of a Prius hatchback model.

The new "v" version is built on the same platform as the first Prius, but promises a 50% space increase inside its cabin. The car also has a low 0.29 coefficient of drag, all while being produced in an evolutionaryPrius design.

The car is identical to its hatchback brother: the same exterior design language, the same hybrid drive train under the hood that delivers a total of 40 mpg, and the same technology for the interior that includes an Entune multimedia system which supports mobile apps such as Bing, OpenTable, and movietickets.com.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Toyota Prius v.

Following in the reveal of the Ford C-Max Energi Concept , Ford also introduced the C-Max Hybrid Concept at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show.

The C-Max Hybrid is expected to further strengthen the Blue Oval’s global C-car platform and is already being positioned by Ford as a vehicle that will post better numbers than another one of the US-based company’s hybrid vehicles, the Ford Fusion Hybrid , widely considered as the most fuel-efficient sedan in the US.

Both MPVs that will be made available in North America are going to be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan together with the new Ford Focus and the Focus Electric. Meanwhile, vehicles that are going to go on sale in Europe will be built at Ford’s production facility in Valencia, Spain.

The C-MAX Hybrid Concept is expected to be one of five electrified vehicles that Ford will bring to the North American market in the next two years. Apart from the two C-Max Concepts, Ford will also be releasing the Ford Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, the Focus Electric, which will be launched later this year, and another next-generation hybrid electric vehicle, which will be announced at a later date and will be available in North America and Europe beginning in 2012.

More details on the Ford C-Max Hybrid Concept after the jump.

After a series of teaser images unveiled this past summer, Nissan has finally brought out the new generation Quest at the Los Angels Auto Show. It will be offered in four well-equipped models: S, SV, SL and LE, with prices starting from $27,750.

The new generation Quest gets a new exterior design with a bold bumper, horizontal grille, and headlights. Take a look at the back of the vehicle and you’ll see rear “boomerang” taillights and tailgate finisher. Other features include full surround privacy glass, black sash molding, and chrome trim accents. The wheels spin round in a standard 16-inch or 18-inch size. The Quest exterior design is also one of the most wind-efficient, with a 0.32 Cd for the Quest S model.

The interior gets a theater-style interior layout with raised 2nd and 3rd rows. The front seating features a special “trilaminar” structure, which uses three types of cushions to distribute body pressure more evenly than traditional padding.

Under the hood there is a 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine with 253 HP and 236 lb-ft of torque. The engine incorporates a twin Nissan Variable Induction Control System (NICS), micro finished camshaft and crankshaft surfaces, DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) coated valve lifters, resin intake manifold, forged crankshaft, digital knock control system, high capacity muffler, and lightweight aluminum block and cylinder heads.

Press release after the jump.


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