Despite possessing a colorful history, the Citroen brand has generally avoided the retro-craze, save for two occasions. The Revolte concept, shown in 2009, was designed as a modern take on the iconic 2CV, while the new Tubik concept -- which will debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show -- is a 21st century twist on the iconic H van.
While relatively unknown on these shores, the H van -- built between 1947 and 1981 -- was one of France’s most iconic commercial vehicles. Its high roof, low load floor, and elegant simplicity endeared it to commercial customers from all walks of life. The Tubik, however, is envisioned first and foremost as a people mover. The concept sports seating for nine, which can be moved and rearranged to reconfigure the cabin. Front seats can face forward or aft, while the middle row can be coverted into a table or an oversized lounge chair. The only seat left unchanged is the driver’s, which is mounted in a semi-circular aluminum pod that curves towards the ceiling.
Passengers can enter and exit the van through one of two doors: a conventional driver’s door, or a giant gullwing door on the passenger side, which runs the entire length of the vehicle. Citroen says all materials used within were taken “from the worlds of architecture and interior design.” Subsequently, seats are trimmed in felt, door panels and backrests wrapped in silk, and flooring made of leather.
Beneath the Tubik’s futuristic body is something rather familiar: Citroen’s Hybrid4 powertrain. The Tubik will have the same hybrid powertrain as the upcoming DS5, which combines a four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine powering the front wheels, and an electric motor driving the rear axle. When combined, the powertrain is good for 200 hp, and also provides all-wheel drive. Citroen claims that the Hybrid4 technology will give the Tubik fuel economy figures and carbon dioxide emissions comparable to that of a standard sedan.
Citroen hasn’t announced any plans to make a production car based on the Tubik concept, but the DS5 crossover with the Tubik’s Hybrid4 powertrain should hit European showrooms later this year.