Since the invention of the crossover, half-baked concepts and pipedream segment mash-ups now have a viable shot at making their way to successful production. A new year is upon us and those wacky automakers are at it again, throwing automotive genre-benders against the wall to see what sticks. The following is a small glimpse of the food fight:
TOYOTA PRIUS MINIVAN
You know what would make the Prius even cooler? Exactly – If it were a minivan.
Dubbed the Prius V, the new eco-friendly family hauler will share the same platform and hybrid drivetrain as the classic five-door model, only Toyota says the V will sport a smug 50-percent increase in interior cargo space over the current Prius.
Although the V does appear suspiciously akin to the Prius, Toyota notes that the new model “has been designed from the ground up, with a shape that evolved from the Prius rather than being an elongated version.” From CarScoop:
“Inside, the Prius V offers seating for five with increased headspace and visibility, as well as 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space. The 60/40 split, folding rear seats allow for four different seat arrangements, while a fold-flat front-passenger seat allows for longer cargo.”
Using the same 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle engine/electric motor as the Prius, the V will sip its way to an estimated EPA fuel economy rating of 42mpg city, 38mpg highway and 40mpg combined. (1)
The launch of the V in Japan will be delayed due to disruptions in parts supply caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Toyota originally planned the release in April. (2)
You know what would make a Ferrari even cooler? If it could seat four, had ample trunk space and a station wagon rear end.
Enter the Ferrari FF. Designed to be Ferrari’s most practical model, which isn’t much different than designing the world’s most practical monster truck, the FF will be also be the first of its stallions to come equipped with all-wheel drive, hence the FF acronym, which stands for “four seats” and “four-wheel drive.
Wealthy parents should take care to spot-weld their children’s baby seats to the frame as the FF’s V12 engine kicks out 660hp and will blast from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds on traumatizing rides to the grocery store. (3)
BMW M3 Pickup Truck
For those of us who fawn after BMW’s legendary M series and watch “My Name is Earl” for glimpses of Earl’s El Camino, our fantasy worlds have now collided in a mind-bending vehicular merger.
Last month at the Nurburgring, the auto press captured spy shots of a camouflaged “Die Strabe” coupe with truck bed testing amongst the other BMW M-Class models.
Is this really happening!? No. From Jalopnik:
“In a chat with BMW’s Munich head of product communications, Dirk Arnold, he offered up this quote: “Ah, yes, everyone’s been talking about that pickup. But, no, this is… how you call it, an April fool’s Joke”. (4)
In reality the German mullet-rocket is actually a one-off parts hauler for ZTechnik, a BMW motorcycle accessory builder that’s only used around the compound. But then, why the camouflage? Product planner for car celebrities told Jalopnik:
“Camouflage means nothing. BMW puts camouflage on anything and everything. Look at that BMW Vision Connected concept. That has camouflage and they’re obviously not building that.” (5)
Well played BMW. Well played.
Although it may appear it to be a choking hazard shook from a box of Cheerios, the iQ is actually a cross between a Scion xD and a Smart Fortwo. Accordingly, from the outside, most would assume the tiny automobile only seats two. Oh contraire – Scion is calling it the world’s smallest four-seater.
There’s room in the back for one adult and a child. Scion refers to the setup as “3+1” seating. This means the rear seats are not symmetrical; the seat on the right is larger than the one on the left allowing passengers to move forward to make space for an adult in back while leaving room behind the driver for the kiddie seat. (3)
For those who might wonder how safe it is to pack four people into a car the size of the iQ, the ‘lil package will come equipped with stability control, traction control, ABS, and a staggering TEN airbags, including the industry’s first-ever rear-window bag. The iQ goes on sale in the US this spring. (6)
Check out weird Seattle art cars at Seattleartcars.org.