Between minivans and SUVs, these autonomous concept cars are living rooms on wheels that prefigure the future

Zapping Autonews Green BMW X1 (2022): the new generation of the SUV in video

Fallen into disuse with the SUV boom, the minivan seems to be rising from its ashes in the imagination of some designers. It thus often serves as inspiration for futuristic concept cars, which foreshadow a certain vision of the mobility of the future. With interiors worthy of real traveling salons, electrified engines and above all, very often, autonomous driving.

In France, Citroën seems to be one of the first manufacturers to have launched this fashion. From 2005, he presented the C-SportLounge, a mix between minivan and SUV which clearly foreshadowed the Citroën DS5. Its doors with antagonistic opening allow access to a luxurious interior, which however does not really fit into the rolling living room category. It was not until 2011 and the presentation of the Citroën Tubik to discover a futuristic minivan inspired by the famous Type H. The interior of the concept car can accommodate up to nine people, and the rows of purple seats are installed face to face. Electrification is then not in vogue, and this Tubik has a hybrid diesel engine.

Renault and its trendy bar on wheels

Renault EZ-UltimoCredit Photo – Renault

A few years later, in 2018, Renault unveiled a futuristic limousine concept car. Called EZ-Ultimo, this self-driving car impresses at this year’s Paris Motor Show. Without a driving position, the EZ-Ultimo has a level 4 autonomous driving system. Its interior simply contains a lounge-style lounge bar, where there is marble, metal, leather, walnut and even velvet. The side door slides to let up to three people on board.

Volvo wants to revolutionize personal transport


Volvo 360c ConceptCredit Photo – Volvo

2018 is also the year of the presentation of the Volvo 360c Concept. This Swedish style study is quite similar to the EZ-Ultimo. Futuristic, electric and autonomous, this vehicle imagines the future of individual mobility on demand. It is simply designed to transport someone from point A to point B, in the greatest comfort. It can also be transformed into a meeting place, and even offers a berth in order to travel at night before a morning meeting, for example.

A futuristic SUV for Aston Martin before the DBX


Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain ConceptCredit Photo – Autonews

In 2019, it was at the Geneva Motor Show that Aston Martin caused a sensation with the Lagonda All-Terrain Concept. This half-SUV half-limousine concept is equipped with antagonistic opening doors. On board, there are four individual seats and particularly luxurious upholstery that combines cashmere, silk and ceramic. The front seats can swivel so that the occupants face each other. Not autonomous, the machine therefore has a steering wheel, and also a mysterious levitation system that highlights the ignition key.

Two living room concepts on wheels at Buick


Buick SmartPodPhoto Credit – Buick

These vehicles between minivan and SUV inspire American manufacturers. In the land of Uncle Sam, Buick presents in 2021 the Smart Pod and the GL8 Flagship. The first is presented as a spacious minivan, whose interior bathed in light contains velvet seats, a large LED screen and a virtual assistant. Closer to a production vehicle, the GL8 Flagship is equipped with seats that seem to be levitating, which place it completely in the category of rolling lounges.

Accustomed to luxury, Lincoln presents a spacious coupe


Lincoln Model L100 ConceptCredit Photo – Lincoln

In the United States, there is also Lincoln, which will unveil the Model L100 Concept in 2022. This long, partly transparent coupe sees most of its wings open to facilitate boarding. And inside, no steering wheel is present. The electric concept car is autonomous. One of the two rows of seats can be folded down to provide only a rear bench seat with enormous legroom.

The Mini Vision Urbanaut and its corner sofa


Mini Vision UrbanautCredit Photo – Autonews

Mini also offers a kind of electric rolling lounge that foreshadows the future of mobility. Called Vision Urbanaut, the concept car has a modular interior that helps promote concentration for work, or make you want to party with friends. This concept of “urban space” in the words of Mini squarely embeds a corner sofa and a plant. It is completely autonomous.

In China too, we are resuscitating the minivan


GAC SpaceCredit Photo – GAC

Let’s also mention the GAC Space, a Chinese minivan that runs on hydrogen and has a particularly aerodynamic body. Its butterfly doors open to board a lounge on wheels, where luxurious seats can swivel and where the walls feature a pattern that makes you want to travel. This vehicle is equipped with a level 4 autonomous driving system which works thanks to 39 sensors.

Very short recharge time for the Tata Avinya


Aunty AvinyaPhoto Credit – Tata Motors

This GAC Space echoes the Tata Avinya, another luxury and electric minivan concept car. Except that this latest model should give rise to a production model, by 2025. Not autonomous, the Avinya does however have a voice control system that allows you to use many features despite the absence of a touch screen. . According to Tata Motors, the charging time of this vehicle is very short. It would be able to recover “at least 500 kilometers of autonomy in less than thirty minutes”.

The impressive urbansphere presented by Audi


Audi urbansphere conceptPhoto Credit – Audi

In 2022, Audi is also getting involved in the world of rolling lounges that are reinventing mobility. The brand with the rings unveils the Audi urbansphere concept, a large electric and autonomous monospace equipped with antagonistic opening doors. The passenger compartment houses four individual seats which benefit from plenty of legroom thanks to a wheelbase of 3.40 metres. These real armchairs can recline their backrests at 60 degrees, have legrests and even armrests. The vehicle can travel up to 750 kilometers on a single charge, and is equipped with a level 4 autonomous driving system.

The Volkswagen Gen.Travel, an alternative to flying?


Volkswagen Gen.TravelPhoto Credit – Volkswagen

As of this writing, the latest vehicle to share commonalities with these other concept cars is the Volkswagen Gen.Travel. Introduced on the sidelines of the Chantilly 2022 Concours d’Elegance, this experimental and electric vehicle is presented as an alternative to short-haul flights. Able to travel in a convoy, it features a level 5 autonomous driving system. Its cabin includes upholstery made of sustainable, recycled or natural materials. It can accommodate up to four people in a seated position, or two people when the seats fold down to form a bed. This may just be the future of the automobile.

In short

They are called Renault EZ-Ultimo, Volvo 360c, Audi urbansphere concept or Volkswagen Gen.Travel. Resembling both minivans and SUVs, these concept cars share autonomous driving systems, electric motors and above all enormous interior comfort, so much so that they are described as living rooms on wheels.

Quentin Gueroult

MenLife: the everyday man’s network

Between minivans and SUVs, these autonomous concept cars are living rooms on wheels that prefigure the future