A cool little concept that could change the world of city cars forever.

Russia has been the source of creation for a number of rather odd vehicles. Vehicles like the GAZ M-20 Pobeda-Sport, the ZIS-112, or the Torpedo-GAS from the early 1950s are just a few examples of some pretty bizarre Russian engineering. But now there is a new concept coming out of Russia that might give the term “Russian engineering” a whole new twist. The concept is called the Mirrow Provocator and it’s a “revolutionary car” that is the length of a Smart ForTwo but capable of hauling up to four people and their luggage.

The Mirrow has the same width and height as an SUV, but the length of a microcar. Be that as it may, Mirrow claims that inside the car “feels like a minivan” and could be “classified as a business car.” Regardless of whether or not that is really the case, the Provocator looks to be extremely versatile, with the ability to be equipped a number of different drivetrains and a number of different interior setups that can transform the vehicle into more than just a people mover.

Truth be told, the Provocator is probably the boxiest thing on wheels that we’ve seen since the first-generation Honda Element or Scion Xb, but it’s got some pretty cool things going on for it. That said, we decided to take a closer look at this Russian concept to see what it’s all about.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mirrow Provocator

Exterior

2016 Mirrow Provocator Exterior
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2016 Mirrow Provocator Exterior
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2016 Mirrow Provocator Exterior
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When the engineers behind the Provocator went to work, they decided the car should be economically feasible too, so more the 50 percent of the body is designed from recycled polymers. It measures 106-inches long, 77-inches wide (without mirrors,) and 80.5-inches tall with a ceiling height of 70-inches. As you can see from the pictures, the car itself is pretty boxy. The interesting part about the car is that it is has five doors. The main entrance is actually in the rear where there is a single, side-hinged door. The doors on the side open outward in a suicide-like fashion but are designed as emergency exits only, as they sit rather high off the ground.

Up front, the design is rather basic. The car has a vertically curved windshield and a rather flat face. The headlights are slightly recessed into the front end and are oddly shaped – just like the different trapezoid panels on the sides of the car. Down below on what I guess you would call the fascia, there is a thin, rectangular vent above a taller, air dam. The cladding that makes up the fascia of sorts wraps around the sides, and travels toward the rear, making up the wheel arches. The cladding gets wider at the wheels, with the rear wheel arches a bit wider than in the front.

I’m not sure how it would fare in city area’s being so wide, but it is likable in a Russian kind of way.

The other noticeable features on the side are the small, orange-accented recess in the cladding between the wheel arches, and the trapezoidal panels that surround the two emergency exit doors on each side. These weird little panels, including the ones on the emergency doors, are removable and look to be available in a number of colors – assuming the Provocactor ever goes into production, that is. The provocator rides on some oddly shaped wheels that have five holes cut in the formation of the spokes on five-spoke wheels.

Moving around to the rear, there is a single door right in the middle that serves as the main entrance. It looks like it may be a sliding door at first glance, but pictures reveal that the door is in fact side hinged and opens to one side. It would be cooler if the door could slide to either side between the rear seats and the rear body panels, but I guess the engineers didn’t think of that. There three of those removable panels on each side of the door, and there is a small rectangular vent on the right side between the panels and the lower body cladding. The cladding that acts as a rear fascia has a vertically oriented vent on each corner. There is a dual-pipe exhaust outlet at the very bottom on each corner as well.

All told, this isn’t exactly the most aerodynamic vehicle that we’ve seen lately, but it does have an interesting design language to it. I’m not sure how it would fare in city area’s being so wide, but it is likable in a Russian kind of way.

Interior

2016 Mirrow Provocator Interior
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The inside of the Provocator is actually a little bland compared to current standards. There isn’t an entertainment system to be found unless it is of the retractable type and not shown in pictures. Otherwise, the dash is smooth and curves downward toward the windshield. The center protrudes from the dash a bit more and houses the shifter, two rotary-style controls and a panel of five toggle switches arranged in a line. There isn’t really an instrument cluster, more like a group of circular gauges mounted next to each other with the speedometer being a bit larger than the other four gauges. The steering wheel is completely round, has three spokes, and nothing more than a horn button in the middle.

See, Mirrow says the Provocator is the car of the future, which means it needs to be versatile and customizable to be used for a wide number of tasks.

The seats look to be made out of leather and feature built-in harnesses to serve as safety belts. There are two up front and two in the rear. According to Mirrow’s website, there can be a fifth “jump seat” added to one side of the rear. The floor is recessed in the middle, providing a walkway for passengers and additional storage for luggage or other cargo. There is something more to the interior, however, as Mirrow plans to produce the Provocator in a number of different “styles.”

See, Mirrow says the Provocator is the car of the future, which means it needs to be versatile and customizable to be used for a wide number of tasks. In basic form, the vehicle is built with a lightweight floor, no side glass, and none of those removable body panels. Mirrow also depicts the Provocator as a food truck, claiming that the high ceilings are enough for a “professional kitchen.” Keep in mind that ceiling height is measured from the ground, so it wouldn’t be comfortable for a taller person to stand up inside for long periods of time. It’s also depicted as a logistics van with no rear seats and lots of cargo room, and as a taxi with an extra seat mounted to either side behind the second row of seats.

Drivetrain

2016 Mirrow Provocator Drivetrain
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Mirrow hasn’t exposed too much information about the drivetrain, but from the images available it looks to be front wheel drive and has a manual transmission. It has said that the production model will be available with a three-cylinder, turbocharged engine. Both gasoline and diesel engines will be offered, with sizes ranging to as high as 1.5 liters. According to Mirrow, the “classic” engine would be able to push the Provocator up to 62 mph in 8.7 seconds on the way to an electronically limited 87 mph.

According to Mirrow, the “classic” engine would be able to push the Provocator up to 62 mph in 8.7 seconds on the way to an electronically limited 87 mph.

Outside of this, the car is also equipped with technical storage areas located in the chassis below the seats. These storage compartments provide enough room that Mirrow is also planning a hybrid and all-electric version of the provocator as well. The technical storage compartments would be used to store the batteries needed for an electrified drivetrain. According to Mirrow, it can store large enough batteries to accommodate a range of 186 to 248 miles on a single charge.

We don’t know much about the suspension system itself, but the car looks like it might have independent suspension in the rear – possibly a MacPherson strut setup. The images don’t show the rear wheels linked together at all, so that could very well be the case. As far as driver assistance and safety features go, the Provocator could be offered with ABS, traction control, electronic stability control, brake force distribution, electronic locking differential, up to 12 airbags, rear-view parking system, hill brake control, hill-start assist, and door-like openings for the side emergency exits.

Conclusion

2016 Mirrow Provocator Exterior
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When we came across this cool concept, we just had to look deeper into it. It’s not very often you see something like this come out of Russia, and it’s a very elaborate concept given its actual size. I’m not so sure about how the food truck idea would work out considering ceiling height from inside is probably closer to about 5 feet. Then again, the food truck model could be designed with a lower floor or an elevating roof to make additional headroom for that specific application.

It might have a funky shape, being wider than it is long, but two of them can park side by side in the same space it takes a full-size SUV to park long ways. Normally I’m not a fan of shorter cars like this, but this concept is well thought out, and I’d actually like to see it make it into production. Who knows, maybe It could be the next step in the evolution of the city car.

  • Leave it
    • Looks a little akward
    • Main rear entrance would take some getting used to
    • Top speed would make highway driving a little rough
What do you think?
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