Matt Prior: minivan eulogy Car News

Grand C4 2022 EXT(4)

As time is called on the Grand C4 Spacetourer, our man reflects on the life and times of the versatile vehicle

Another bad news for minivan enthusiasts since the Citroën Grand C4 Spacetourer is disappearing from sale. Minivans (multi-purpose vehicles), the cars we used to call people carriers (which was kinda weird, because what else are cars good for?), have had a hard time lately, mainly because people are buying SUVs (sports utility vehicles) instead.

This is certainly Citroën’s problem. The existence of the Citroën C5 Aircross and now also the Citroën C5 X is cited as a reason why there is no longer a seven-seat C4 Spacetourer, the demise of which follows the (presumably smaller) C4 Spacetourer at five-seater, which went on sale three years ago. this week ago.

Citroën is certainly not the only one in this case. Take Volkswagen, whose range is so comprehensive it provides a useful barometer for these things and which has moved a bunch of MPVs over the years. Now it’s eight different SUVs/4x4s/crossovers and just two people carriers: one is the Volkswagen Touran, the other the upcoming ID Buzz, which also finds its way into the vans section of the Volkswagen website.

And therein lies the crux of it. If you need to move a lot of people and you need a lot of seats to do so, the optimal shape you would design will inevitably end up being quite blurry.

Of course, car manufacturers try to make minivans as versatile and practical as possible, but the fact is that most of them already make very versatile and practical vehicles and, unlike some of their cars, also derive the money.

Commercial vehicles essentially support the automotive manufacturing side of some European automotive operations. They need cars to make the economies of scale work, but the benefits come from white slab vehicles.

SUVs are marketed to us as lifestyle vehicles that can do amazing things (like hold bikes, watersports kits, or lots of dogs), but go to any hub for those activities and more often , the vehicle of choice is a pickup truck.

So it’s no wonder that for transporting people (slightly softer cargo, but cargo nonetheless), eventually a van with windows and air conditioning will be the right thing for that too. Citroën’s remaining people carriers – the ë-Berlingo, which seats seven, and the ë-Spacetourer, which seats up to nine – are both van-based. And in a way, I think that’s a bit of a shame. I’ve been as mean to minivans as anyone over the years, thinking them unimaginative, boring and really not engaging to drive; a sign as sure as any other that you’ve called the time to have an exciting automotive existence. But at least they looked like they did because they served a purpose.

Most SUVs and crossovers – the cars that have effectively replaced minivans and station wagons in suburban driveways – are designed the way they are because they seek to mimic a cross-country purpose for which they are not actually designed and for which owners will never use them. As a result, they’re bigger and heavier than they should be, and they’ve pretty much wiped out all the fuel efficiency the auto industry has gained over the past two decades.

I still maintain that, overall, the Citroen Xsara Picasso is the worst driven car in the UK. Even if I find it hard to believe, here I am now lamenting the disappearance of a type of car that I never really liked at the start.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-28 23:01:24

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