Take me out back and shoot me please!

A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, even if it means driving an “unmanly” vehicle like the minivan. Our Automologist, MAC, finds himself considering one, even though he would have to eat his words and get shot.

In recent years, we have seen our roads being invaded with more and more box-sided brick-like behemoths that are laughingly called MPV’s. Now, I was raised in a big family and as children we were ferried around in a VW Type 2 camper van. At the time, really not cool, but I have many fond memories, particularly of learning how to drive in it. One thing I have long maintained though is that before I would drive a box-sided brick-on-wheels myself, you would have to take me out back and shoot me, which of course means that I will never drive one.

For the past few years, my trusted BMW 5 series and 911 C4S have been the transportation choice of the McKenzie family, as the wife and two young lads could fit wonderfully well into them. But now I have a major dilemma with the arrival of my third child and fear that we will no longer fit as comfortably as before. Yes, I am now facing the prospect of one of my many friends taking me out back and shooting me (well, at least figuratively) as I now ponder the need to purchase one of those dreaded and loathsome school-run vans aka the soccer mum conveyance, to keep my brood safe and sound whilst I ferry them to and from school.

Alphard – boxy but good!
Espace – better, but not available

It is not that the current crop of MPV’s is badly made or uncomfortable inside. It is just that they are so, well, big and boxy, and frankly really lacking in imagination. Current MPV’s are all function over form and I am sorry but that just will not do. I want my MPV to look cool AND have the ability to fit up to seven seats for when Granny and Grandpa come to visit. There are some pretty little MPV’s out there, such as the Ford B-Max, but that only has five seats, and we don’t get the stylish Renault Espace in Asia, but even that has become a little minivan-like in recent years.

B-Max – is it small or is he really tall?

There is one concept minivan though that got my attention of late and, in a way, it is a bit of a homecoming for me. The name of the new vehicle is the Bulli and at present it is just a concept offering from my old friends at VW, where apparently chiefs of the German auto giant are very serious about putting this into production. Obviously styled with the 1960’s Microbus in mind, the Bulli is a five-seater that’s slightly bigger overall than a Polo. It is believed to be earmarked for production at VW’s plant in Puebla, Mexico, where the third-generation Beetle is made. Insiders believe the Bulli would rapidly become a cult car and sell especially well in the US, where the Microbus is fondly remembered.

The Bulli – not boxy, not big.

“As a designer, I am convinced by this idea,” says Group Design Chief, Walter de’Silva. “We don’t have a space for another conventional MPV, but this one would be desirable on a different level, combining practicality with the heritage appeal.”

Okay, I know that the Bulli only has five seats and therefore Granny and Grandpa are going to have to take the bus when they come to visit, but at least it is one MPV with a bit more cool about it.

Retro cool!
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