Citroën will present a brand new, highly innovative concept vehicle at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Called Tubik, this eye-catching model is a high-tech executive shuttle based on one key idea – travel should be fun.
Building on Citroën’s Multicity project – an online portal and route finder, currently live in France, which covers all available means of transport (car, train, plane, etc.) – Tubik takes mobility solutions to the next level. Featuring the very best of Citroën’s ‘Créative Technologie’, Tubik is specifically designed to make travel meaningful and enjoyable. Inspired by Citroën’s renowned Type H or ‘TUB’ van, but with all the prestigious styling and characteristics of modern Citroën design, Tubik is a 9-seater packed with entertaining technology. Exceptionally striking both inside and out, Tubik boasts offbeat, distinctive styling with colours and materials designed to meet the highest standards of sophistication and comfort.
As part of its design philosophy, Tubik responds to a changing society where extended families and groups of friends travel together, often in numbers exceeding four or five, with plenty of room for luggage. To make travel enjoyable for its passengers, Tubik incorporates a lounge-style cocoon dedicated to comfort and relaxation. The modular seats are designed to be arranged in many different ways (semi-reclined, face-to-face, etc.), and the onboard technology – which includes a giant semi-circular screen and high-definition surround sound – turns the cabin into an area that is perfect for sharing over long distances. With the Citroën Tubik concept, the journey becomes as important as the destination. Offering generous space whilst minimising fuel consumption, Tubik is powered by Citroën’s innovative Hybrid4 technology. With this full-hybrid diesel drivetrain and optimised aerodynamics, Tubik maintains CO2 emissions at a level comparable to a conventional saloon.
The design lines of Tubik are a nod to the Citroën ‘TUB’ (from the French acronym for low front-wheel drive commercial vehicle) and its ingenious upgrade, the Type H, whose versatility and styling made it a best seller with half a million units produced over 34 years. At 4.80m long, 2.08m wide and 2.05m tall, Tubik is big enough to carry up to nine passengers. The front end, which stands apart from the main body, brings to mind the corrugated metal of the Type H van with its distinctive ribbing, while the windscreen pillars are reminiscent of the Type H’s two characteristic ridges. Making Tubik look even more protective, Citroën’s designers have combined two contrasting colours – the metallic grey of the body shell enveloping the pearlescent white at either end – which also mark the position of the diesel engine (at the front) and electric motor (at the rear) used by the full-hybrid diesel drivetrain.
The simple, yet attractive exterior subtly incorporates two large doors with access to the driving position and the ‘living area’, which are barely visible when closed. The huge cabin door opens upwards and incorporates the entire side of the vehicle. As journeys with larger groups of people generally involve luggage, the rear end conceals a cleverly designed hold. Citroën Tubik creates a high-tech world designed around the driving position, an area dominated by what the designers call the ‘cyclotron’ – a module that groups the seat, pedal assembly, steering wheel and curved head-up display in one circular form. The aluminium grey of the bodywork is also present in the cyclotron to accentuate its robust, protective appearance. Sitting in the black full-grain leather seat, the driver is identified by a fingerprint recognition system. The head-up display screen, mounted immediately in front of the steering wheel, provides all the information required for navigation. For all-round visibility, Tubik also features reversing and rear-view cameras.
Tubik’s ‘living area’ is a lounge-style cocoon with materials borrowed from the worlds of architecture and interior design – including felt seats, silken backrests and door panels, and a leather floor. The ambient lighting in the cabin highlights the colours and materials. To create an atmosphere of privacy, the moucharaby and large 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, 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 – a configuration ideal for relaxation. Passengers then become spectators, taking advantage of the large multimedia screen in a semi-reclined position.
Tubik is both exceptionally spacious and environmentally conscious. With its Hybrid4 technology, CO2 emissions are close to those of a conventional saloon. The full-hybrid diesel drivetrain also offers more range than a stand-alone internal combustion engine and maximises traction in four wheel drive mode – the front wheels being driven by the diesel engine and the rear wheels by the electric motor. The 22” wheels feature deep, narrow, very low rolling resistance tyres to further help optimise fuel consumption. For the best combination of comfort and road-holding, Tubik features Citroën’s exclusive Hydractive suspension technology, which keeps the vehicle level regardless of load. At high speeds, Tubik is automatically lowered to promote aerodynamic performance, further reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.