The Citroen Tubik – The Pig in a Blanket Van

The Citroen Tubik, a concept to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, is an interesting design for a modern van. Citroen, a French car manufacturer, is well known in Europe, but largely unheard of in the US. Their slogan, “Créative Technologie” (Creative Technology), would seem applicable to the Tubik. Let’s take a look at the interior first.

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Interior

The interior is open and spacious, but looks cozy and luxurious, at least in one of the many seat configurations. In general, the van has a disturbing lack of windows. The only connection the passengers have to the outside are the front windshield (not much help to passengers in the very back) and small ovular portholes on one side of the van (although the design is unclear, it suggests a window on the other side). Having taken many vacations in a passenger van, the key to surviving the trips was always observing the changing surroundings. Take that away, and I don’t know what the passengers are supposed to do in the back. The concept image with a woman laying across the seats configured as a bed may suggest one thing, though. This passenger area is only accessible via the large wing-like door opposite the wall with the portholes, which is no different to some mini-vans in the US.

The driver, curiously, is encased in a vertical ring, separating him from the rest of the compartment, but not enough to suggest that the van may be used as a limousine of sorts. I’d feel disconnected from the rest of the passengers if I were the driver. I’m not really sure what the purpose of the pod-like form of the driver seat is, although it does look quite comfortable to sit in. The ring-shaped pod even continues down in front of the driver, albeit in a transparent form. As the van lacks a rear window and uses cameras for the side mirrors, I’d venture that this transparent display would show the driver what’s going on behind the van’s large rear end. Personally, I’d find a plastic sheet in front of the windshield infuriatingly annoying. Why not just put a HUD on the windshield itself and dispense with the distracting plastic sheet? And the peculiar design elements for the driver area don’t stop there. The designers installed HAL in the steering wheel, or so it would appear. Along with a distracting red ring along the inside of the steering wheel, there seems to be a monitor within it. Perhaps this is where the rearview camera is displayed? Without any context, I can’t make heads nor tails of the driver area. To top it all off, the driver exits via his own winged door, reminiscent of those stereotypical hotel shuttle mini-buses made by Ford.

Exterior

But let’s forget about the interior and focus instead on the exterior design. I’ll be blunt. From the front and side, the van reminds me of a pigs head. That’s the only thing I see when I look at it. And it’s downright ugly, with the two rear-facing side cameras protruding from the body, almost like a design afterthought. Why anyone would ever design a vehicle like this is beyond me. The rear of the car, however, is extremely plain and boxy compared to the front. Around the whole van, a metallic blanket, for lack of a better word, surrounds the midsection of the van, with the white front and and rear of the car peaking out. In essence, Citroen has designed a Pig in a Blanket on wheels.

Takeaway

Overall, I like the modern stylings of the Tubik, but it doesn’t seem like the design came together completely. I think the designers should go back to the drawing table on this.

Source: Autoblog

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