If the Renault Avantime wasn't proof enough that the French like quirky minivans, here's further evidence: the 2009 Renault Kangoo Be-Bop, which premieres at this week's Paris motor show.
Reportedly inspired by the Kangoo Compact concept shown at the 2007 Frankfurt motor show, the Be-Bop is, oddly enough, a compact Kangoo.; Renault's seen fit to hack the center section (including both sliding side doors) away from the vehicle.; The result is a very tall two-door hatchback, which rides upon a very short wheelbase.
Though removing space seemingly defeats the point of a minivan, Renault's replaced versatility with some funky tricks.; Sure, the contrasting colors on the hood and hatch (another conceptual cue) are interesting, but perhaps most so is the roof.; While the driver has a pop-up sunroof, the rear passengers have the option of an open-air experience.; Drop the rear window into the gate, and slide the rear moonroof forward, et voilà: a convertible of sorts.
Clever - and it does take us back to the Suzuki Sidekicks of days-gone, sans the quasi-off-road capability.; Still, we're wondering why, apart from the roof gimmick, why someone would choose one over a similar (and more conventional) Clio hatchback.; Look at it this way: would you buy a two-door convertible Mazda5 when you could just as soon purchase a Mazda3 with a sunroof?; We didn't think so.
Then again, it is France.; Vive la différence, non?