Citroën Tubik is another space Gallic oddity

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Citroën has officially unveiled its Tubik concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, and it's just as far-out as the renderings led us to believe. The French automaker says its concept bus was inspired by its old Type H van, better known to Europeans as The Tub. We can see where they got the name...

The Tubik has room for nine passengers with modular seating that can be arranged in a number of ways in a "lounge-style cocoon dedicated to comfort and relaxation" – so says Citroën, anyway. Power comes from the automaker's Hybrid4 technology, coupling a diesel engine that turns the front wheels with an electric motor at the rear.

Of course, it's the interior that really separates this concept from other people movers. Such interesting design choices as felt seats, leather flooring, along with backrests and door panels covered in silk outline the "different is good" aesthetic for which Citroën is known. We suggest you scroll through our high-res image gallery to take it all in, then you can check out the press release after the break for all the details.
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Paris, 13 September 2011 -- With the launch of its Mulicity portal, CITROËN established itself as a facilitator of mobility. Today, continuing its research in this field, it is exploring a new area. Drawing upon its expertise and the best "Créative Technologie", CITROËN has developed Tubik, a high-tech executive shuttle based on one key idea: travel should be fun. Come with us on a shared, intelligent, connected and eco-friendly journey!

Today, it is journey time rather than distance that is important. In the modern world, information travels faster than people, the same journey can be made using a multitude of different means of transport, and consumers are looking first and foremost for an easy way of getting around. In consequence, the challenge for vehicle manufacturers is to develop solutions tailored to the mobility issues of the future. The Multicity project is the result of studies carried out by CITROËN on mobility. This project is already a reality with the launch in France of CITROËN Multicity, an online portal and routefinder that covers all available means of transport (car, train, plane, etc.) to make travelling easier.

Today, the Multicity project is moving into its next phase with a new solution: Tubik, a concept car designed to make travel meaningful again.

Society is changing, and with it the idea of family. Sociologists talk about "affective groups" to describe this change which includes blended families and groups of friends. These "affective groups", which are no longer limited to just four or five people, need to be able to travel together, without having to leave their luggage at home owing to a lack of space.

This is the challenge addressed by Tubik, a 9-seater vehicle whose styling and characteristics reflect the prestige cues of a modern saloon. Tubik was inspired by CITROËN's renowned Type H, fondly referred to by the general public as the "TUB" (the name of its predecessor). CITROËN design teams gave Tubik distinctive, offbeat styling, with colours and materials that aim to meet the highest standards in sophistication and comfort.

To make travel enjoyable again, Tubik creates a lounge-style cocoon dedicated to comfort and relaxation. The modular seats, designed to be arranged in many different ways (semi-reclined, face-to-face, etc.), and the onboard technology (including a giant, semi-circular screen, and high-definition spatialised sound) turn the cabin into an area for living and sharing. The journey becomes as important as the destination!

Providing generous space while keeping fuel consumption under control demands an innovative drive train. Hybrid4 technology solves the equation. With this full-hybrid technology and the efforts made to improve aerodynamic design, Tubik maintains CO2 emissions at a level comparable to a conventional saloon.

Reconciling function with looks
The design lines of Tubik are a nod to the CITROËN TUB (from the French acronym for low front-wheel drive commercial vehicle) and its ingenious upgrade, the CITROËN Type H, whose versatility and style made it a best-seller of its times (half a million units in 34 years on the market). Sporting a similar body shape to its illustrious predecessor, Tubik is big enough (2.08m wide, 2.05m tall, 4.80m long) to carry up to nine passengers.

The front end, which stands apart from the main body, brings to mind the corrugated metal of the CITROËN Type H with its ribbing, while the windscreen pillars are reminiscent of the Type H's two characteristic ridges.

To make Tubik look even more protective, CITROËN designers combined two contrasting colours: the metal grey of the body shell envelops the pearlescent white at either end, marking the position of the combustion engine (at the front) and electric motor (at the rear) used by the full-hybrid diesel drive train.

With this simple but attractive exterior, the large two-way panoramic window and two large doors giving access to the driving position and living area are barely visible. The driver's door is rear-opening while the side door runs in a circle to free up the entire side of the vehicle.

And as journeys generally involve luggage, the rear end conceals a cleverly designed hold.

Taking the place of the captain
When you get behind the wheel of Tubik, you enter a high-tech world designed around the driving position. This area is dominated by what CITROËN designers call the "cyclotron", a system that groups – in one circular line – the seat, pedal assembly, steering wheel and circular head-up display The aluminium grey of the bodywork is also present on the cyclotron, to accentuate its robust, protective looks.

Installed in the black full-grain leather seat, the driver is identified by a system of fingerprint recognition. Around him/her, on the head-up display and the screen positioned in the centre of the steering wheel, is all the information required for navigation. To see what's happening behind the vehicle, a screen shows the pictures from the reverse and rearview cameras.

No more: "Are we there yet?"

The living area is a lounge-style cocoon. The living area features materials borrowed from the worlds of architecture and interior design: felt seats, silken backrests and door panels, and a leather floor. The light ambience of the cabin brings out the nuances in the colours and materials. To see without being seen, the moucharaby and large two-way panoramic window are an original way for passengers to see out easily, without others looking in.

Passengers can arrange the three rows of seats as they wish. Each seat is independent for maximum comfort. The first row of seats lets two people sit facing the road or facing the other passengers. The middle row can seat up to three people or, alternatively, it can be converted into a small table, be folded onto the last row to free up an area of almost 2m², or be folded out completely to create a meridienne-style seat. This configuration is ideal for relaxation. Passengers become spectators, taking advantage of the large multimedia screen in a semi-reclined position.

Travel without limits
Tubik is not only an exceptionally spacious vehicle, it also has an eye on the environment. With the Hybrid4 technology, it is able to keep CO2 emission levels close to those of a conventional saloon. The full-hybrid diesel drive train increases vehicle range over an internal combustion engine and also maximises traction with its four-wheel drive mode (the front wheels being driven by the combustion engine and the rear wheels by the electric motor).

Tubik is fitted with 22-inch wheels equipped with tall, narrow tyres with very low rolling resistance, in order to optimise fuel consumption. For a better compromise between comfort and roadholding, Tubik features hydractive suspension, a technology exclusive to CITROËN. Vehicle height is controlled in real time and so remains constant, regardless of load. At high speeds, the car is automatically lowered to promote aerodynamic performance and contribute to cutting fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

The CITROËN Multicity service portal is accessible at the address:

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