2011 Frankfurt Motor Show Preview: Citroen Tubik Concept

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 6, 2011

Citroën’s stand at the Frankfurt motor show will feature the Tubik, a radical new MPV concept. For this vehicle, Citroën took inspiration from the TUB and Type H light vans that it built for over 40 years starting in 1939. Citroën designed the Tubik to be an “executive shuttle” with comfort and fun as its main ingredients.

With a length of 4800mm, a width of 2080mm wide, and height of 2050mm, the Tubik can accommodate as many as nine passengers seated in three rows. It also features a modular seating arrangement that could be adjusted. Its interior is similar to a “lounge-style cocoon” and features a leather floor, ambient lighting, and felt seats.

It has also been fitted with a gigantic semi-circular TV screen and offers high-definition surround sound. The front and rear could be accessed via the concept’s cabin door that opens along its entire side.

Citroën based the cockpit on the “cyclotron,” which brings together the seat, pedal assembly, steering wheel and head-up display in a circular set-up. A fingerprint recognition system is used to identify the driver. Tubik has a four-wheel drive drivetrain and is offered with PSA’s Hybrid4 technology that consists of a diesel engine upfront.

Its rear wheels are driven by an electric motor. It features a set of 22-inch wheels that are covered with low-resistance tires. Citroën also used Hydractive suspension technology on this vehicle. When the car is moving at high speeds, aerodynamics is improved as it automatically sits lower. Citroën said that the Tubik has comparable CO2 emissions to the level of that of a conventional saloon.

As they are, the design lines on the new Citroen Tubik are inspired by the Citroen TUB and the Citroen Type H upgrade. With a body similarly shaped as the TUB and with generous dimensions -- 4.80m in length, 2.08m in width and 2.05m in height, the Citroen Tubik is large enough to accommodate up to nine passengers.

Interestingly, the front end has been designed to stand out from the rest of the concept. Its ribbing is reminiscent of the corrugated metal found in the Citroen Type H while its windscreen pillars take inspiration from Type H's two characteristic ridges. The carmaker finished the body shell of the new Citroen Tubik in metal grey which envelops the pearlescent white at either end.

These contrasting colors allowed Citroen to mark the location of the combustion engine at the front and its electric motor at the rear. Ingress and egress are made as convenient as possible by two large doors: the access for the driver could be rear-opened while the side door runs in circles to allow side access. Moreover, the new Citroen Tubik features a large two-way panoramic window that allows for greater visibility.

It also has a rear end that cleverly conceals the cargo storage. Since the Citroen Tubik is aimed to focus on the driver, the front cabin features an area called referred to by Citroen designers as "cyclotron," which is a system that basically clusters the seat, steering wheel, pedal assembly, and circular head-up display in one circular line. In addition, the aluminum grey of the Tubik’s bodywork could also be seen on the cyclotron, thereby highlighting the vehicle’s robust appearance.

Amazingly, a fingerprint recognition system is installed in the black full-grain leather seat, thereby identifying the one seated in front as the driver. Meanwhile, the head-up display and the screen – located in the center of the steering wheel – provide the navigation information that drivers would need. The screen, meanwhile, shows images from the reverse and rearview cameras, thereby allowing the driver to get a good view of what is behind the Tubik.

Press Release

Citroen Tubik Concept

With the launch of its Mulicity portal, Citroen 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", Citroen 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 Citroen on mobility. This project is already a reality with the launch in France of Citroen 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 Citroen Tubik, a 9-seater vehicle whose styling and characteristics reflect the prestige cues of a modern saloon. Tubik was inspired by Citroen's renowned Type H, fondly referred to by the general public as the "TUB" (the name of its predecessor). Citroen 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, Citroen 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 Citroen TUB (from the French acronym for low front-wheel drive commercial vehicle) and its ingenious upgrade, the Citroen 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, Citroen 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 Citroen 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, Citroen 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 Citroen Tubik, you enter a high-tech world designed around the driving position. This area is dominated by what Citroen 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

Citroen 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).

Citroen 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 Citroen. 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.

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