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Frankfurt show: Citroen unveils Tubik executive shuttle

Citroen yourself down: The Tubik offers multiple interior accommodation options within its unusual body.

Tubik concept recalls Citroen’s pioneering vans while stepping into the future

Citroen logo5 Sep 2011

CITROEN has unveiled a concept vehicle that is instantly recognisable as a spiritual successor to the iconic vans it started producing in the 1930s and 1940s while simultaneously exploring ideas that could shape the future of luxury multi-purpose transport.

The Tubik is Citroen’s flight of fancy for next week’s Frankfurt motor show and is pitched as an “executive shuttle” that is “more than a taxi, more flexible than a limousine and as much fun as a trip to the beach”.

A giant full-length gullwing door with a large one-way glass panel opens to reveal a versatile, luxurious (but garish and boudoir-like) interior space with three rows of seats that can accommodate up to eight passengers – in addition to the separately-seated driver.

The seating can be configured in various combinations of traditional people-mover layout, living space, meeting room and bedroom, or to offer stretch limousine-style accommodation with entertainment units that descend from the ceiling.

The front two-seat bench alongside the driver sits on a semi-circular base that can be rolled to face either the road ahead or the rear of the cabin, and has integrated seatbelt hasps that can function in either position.

A central bench is formed of three separate, adjoining seats that can also be folded flat to create a dining table for the rear passengers or stowed under the rear bench to provide a large open space.

33 center imageOne of the central seat-backs can also be folded outwards to make part of the rear seats into a chaise-type sofa or corner seat. Alternatively, the entire middle bench can be folded in this way to create a king-size bed.

The versatility is aided by ceiling-mounted head restraints that can be stowed away to enable the backrests to form a flat and seamless bed.

The driver accesses the cockpit capsule, which is enclosed in a circular, high-gloss aluminium shield, via a large scissor-opening door.

The Tubik’s instruments and major controls are housed in the illuminated steering wheel’s fixed hub, supplemented by a full-height head-up display. The steering column is annexed by a further iPhone-style control panel.

Rear vision is achieved by cameras mounted above the side windows in pods reminiscent of the original Citroen H-Van’s door mirrors.

Although modern, aerodynamic and riding on huge chrome alloy wheels, further references to the past are found on the Tubik’s exterior, with a snub nose and subtle surfacing flourishes that recall the H-Van’s almost entirely corrugated exterior.

The radiator grille and the concept’s name reprise the pioneering Citroen TUB van that redefined the small commercial genre with its sliding side doors and front-drive, forward-control layout.

However, that grille, coupled with the snub nose, aggressive-looking LED headlights and wrap-around windscreen that leads into the van’s slab-sided flanks, result in a vehicle that, depending on the angle, resembles either a storm trooper’s helmet or a science-fiction monster that is part pig, part airliner and part chest-freezer.

Citroen says the Tubik was inspired by identifying a gap in the offerings available on its Multicity project website that attempts to integrate the various forms of transport required to complete a given journey in France – be it public transport, aircraft, bicycles or hire cars – into a single route-finding and booking service.

Citroen will also be showing the production-ready DS5 executive car at Frankfurt alongside a special Ultra Prestige version of its DS3 premium hatch, the DS4 luxury small car and a DS3 WRC car.

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