Modern families might be crazy about their high-riding SUVs, but for a long time the minivan ruled supreme in the world of practical family hauling. Chrysler is hoping its new Pacifica is able to kickstart a retro revolution, where practicality and family-first features trump the schoolyard kudos carried by the four-wheel drive monsters that currently rule the road.
Hopeful whispers about a new Volkswagen Microbus concept have been vibrating air molecules and filling blog pages for much of the five years since Volkswagen last showed a modern minibus concept in the Bulli. It's finally here and it's called the Budd-e. What it lacks in historically honest styling, it makes up for with an explosion of high-tech features big enough to get road trippers, neo hippies, surf bums and daily commuters alike excited for what's to come.
California's Bespoke Coach used the recent LA Auto Show to reveal its latest luxury van. The 144 Executive Coach is a smaller, less expensive alternative to its full-size Sprinter 170 coach, but the new model doesn't slouch on comfort or luxury. The van comes stuffed with everything from custom-made recliners, to a built-in bar, to an entertainment system with dual LED TVs and available Apple TV and DirecTV.
We knew the Toyota Ultimate Utility Vehicle would be one of the most delightfully odd vehicles of the year the minute we heard about it months ago, and now that Toyota has released all the details, we find it better than expected. Not only is it the gnarliest minivan you've likely ever seen, but it's packed inside and out with innovative solutions and high-tech equipment that allows it to navigate the world's nastiest terrain and serve as a mobile workstation.
Van artists love nothing more than to have new clay to mold, and the Volkswagen T6 has already served to make some very nice sculptures. We've seen it as a versatile camper van in the Tonke Van, and now Redline shows it can be an equally convincing luxury limo. The Russian tuning studio has transformed the T6 Multivan into an ultra-comfy chauffeured van with 2 + 1 cabin.
Volkswagen introduced the sixth-generation Transporter van back in April, and camper van converters quickly got to work showing their new T6 camper van packages. We saw the new California from Volkswagen itself, and now Dutch converter Tonke, best known for its stylish wood and aluminum-skinned camper modules, has transformed the new VW into a slick, versatile explorer.
The 2015 Tokyo Motor Show gets underway later this month and automakers are busying themselves revealing and previewing planned premieres. We've seen vehicles of various shapes and sizes from Honda, Nissan's idea of what the digital generation might want to drive and now a couple of intriguing concept cars from Suzuki, including a roomy minivan that clearly borrows some inspiration from the Volkswagen Bulli.
The concept cars weren't the only stars of this year's Frankfurt Motor Show. Trucks, vans and utility vehicles of all shapes and sizes also helped make the show the major industry event it was. Plush, first-ever SUVs from the cunning British luxury minds at Bentley and Jaguar were contrasted by far more rugged products like the the Mercedes G500 4x4 Squared and dirtied Land Rovers. Similarly, world-class business luxury vans were offset by fun-loving camper and sport vans.
There must be something in the water supply around Toyota HQ. Maybe pure grain alcohol. As if a Lexus hoverboard wasn't enough weirdness for one week, Toyota also revealed the Ultimate Utility Vehicle, a Sienna/Tacoma hybrid that will be trekking across North America. The Swagger Wagon has more swagger than ever, along with the newfound mettle to back it up.
Not every family has the budget for a full-blown Type A, B or C motorhome for weekend and holiday use. One of the options we've seen a lot of lately is the Type B that can effectively double as an everyday people or cargo hauler. The Volksleisure and Horizon Multi Concept Vehicle are two such dual purpose-built vans, and now the folks at WildAx Motorhomes have their own idea on how to give the van a split personality. With their Pulsar, they've added a kitchen and bathroom to the back of a Citroën Relay, leaving a roomy, uncluttered four-person cabin for everyday driving.