MINI Concept Detroit Update #2

MINI’s next long wheelbase concept debuted lastnight at a private MINI USA dealer event in Detroit. It will show its face to the press next week along with official information about the car’s production. The latter revelation come from a recent Automotive News article. Here’s an excerpt:

Kay Segler, vice president of Mini brand management, said the Traveller is a vehicle that could be aimed at Mini enthusiasts who out grow their current Minis or at couples with small families. The automaker currently offers a three-door hatchback and a convertible.

One drawback of those Mini models is their limited interior space, Segler said.

“Our current Mini is not big enough for a couple who adds a child and a dog,” he said. “You definitely have a space problem.”

You can read more below:

[ Mini targets new customers Automotive News ]

We’ve also learned (not surprisingly) that there will be a number of features seen on the concepts that won’t make it into production and some not seen that will. For instance the ‘barn’ doors in the rear are too expensive for production and won’t be offered. Likewise the duel-hinged extra long driver and passenger doors upfront. However, as we’ve reported previously, MINI plans to add a pair of extra door that opens up backwards (that function similar to the ones seen on the Rolls Royce Phantom) to give easier access to the rear.

  • theroyalwe

    I have to think that if the traveller gets a second set of doors they will look more like the RX-8 or (gasp!) Saturn SC2. I would doubt they will shorten the front doors, so the appearance will not be the same as the phantom (both doors approx the same length). I hope the rear doors can be opened independently, but I don’t know how safe that would be either. I really want to see them use the dual hinge system… but then again think how far those doors will swing out! The current model has a habit of encroaching on neighboring parking spaces!

    I actually would like to see an estate/traveller version of the MINI, but hopefully they don’t kill the design too much to do it!

  • It’s not that the doors will look like the Rolls doors, it’s just that they will function in a similar fashion (rumor has it).

  • Jim

    I’m looking forward to seeing this. Maybe I can convince the wife to get one in a year or two.

  • how about a larger version of the picture? 🙂

  • And ruin the surprised next week!?

  • Jalopnik is reporting a Sport Utilty Box in place of the Tokyo’s Tea Set. That being the only added feature outside of color. He goes on to point out the irony of the Anti-SUV carying such a thing.

    http://www.jalopnik.com/cars/news/mini-traveller-concept-detroit-144864.php

  • Jalopnik is reporting a Sport Utilty Box in place of the Tokyo’s Tea Set. That being the only added feature outside of color. He goes on to point out the irony of the Anti-SUV carying s

    I believe Mike meant that as a joke has he really didn’t have any info on the car yet.

  • Wild and crazy guys.

  • revwillie

    Woohoo suicide doors!. Like Jim said, this model might increase the chances of convicing the wife we should get a MINI.

  • Dave

    Suicide doors – I believe they are aptly called

  • Frank

    I am soo looking forward to learn more about final production details on the upcoming MINI Traveller. Our next MINI will be the wagon version and it will replace my wife’s ’02 MC CVT. We are eagerly awaiting to put our names down for one in the dealer list.

    One thing that has us kinda worried though is that MINI has not shown a 5 door version of the Traveller. The main selling point for us is to have a pair of rear doors. So far MINI only has shown the 3 door prototype. Can we keep our hopes up?

  • Frank

    I have seen the suicide rear doors in the Rolls Royce Phantom sedan (That car is gorgeous, reminds me of a car you would see been driven around in Gotham city) and they look impressive. Since Rolls Royce is owned by the BMW group, I see no problem for MINI to take advantage of this technology and apply it to the MINI Traveller 5 door.

  • Vanwall

    I hope it has some sort of barn doors at the rear, or I’m out.

               BCNU,
             Rob in Dago
    
  • alpinamike

    hope it will not get the cheap cut back, and cheapen the look of the traveller. I will have to see better pics. Hope it has the features of the RR. Maybe the spinning MINI Wheel center caps… -alpinamike

  • Imagine a “Winter Sport” concept.

    They’ve redressed the Frankfurt Concept for N.A.

    The picture depicts the “winter sport” theme they’ve hinted at for the past month or two. It’s a bit lifted, bigger arches and meatier looking and has I would imagine, a functional roof rack (for the ski’s and snowboards) and might sport top mount Off road style lights.

  • Tim

    One drawback of those Mini models is their limited interior space, Segler said.

    “Our current Mini is not big enough for a couple who adds a child and a dog,” he said. “You definitely have a space problem.”

    Whatever, we didn’t seem to have a problem driving 500 miles to Disneyland last July with our kids ages 12 and 8 and enough luggage to carry 4 days worth of cloths for all in the back of our 04MC. We also, didn’t have a problem carrying that luggage plus extra purchased items home.

    Nothing, I mean nothing ticks me off worse then when someone says my car is too small. It has more cargo area then my friends Lexus and it can hold 4 peole rather then 2. The only think small is the imagination of the American public.

    Tim

  • Nathaniel Salzman

    Any indication as to the proportion of the rear suicide doors? The rear doors on the Phantom are full-size rear doors like you’d find on any comparably-sized sedan, they just happen to open back. The reason I bring it up is because if the rear doors on the Traveller are more the proportion of the RX-8 or the Saturn, then their opening Phantom-style (independent of the front doors) doesn’t make much sense. If however, on the the other hand, they do shorten the front door enough to make the rear door a legitimate size, then I can see why that would be cool. However, it raises a secondary question of whether or not you’d be able to open those rear doors while the car was in motion – whether there’d be some sort of speed sensitive system. As I understand it, the reason automakers shied away from suicide rear doors in the first place was them getting opened while the car was in motion and the wind tearing them off the car. Or worse, someone falling out with the door as it went. Don’t get me wrong, I’m squarely in the camp of “Well why the hell’d you open the door at 70 mph in the first place?” I just foresee some sort of NTSB hissy fit if the rear doors aren’t captive. I love the idea and can’t wait to see the Detroit Concept and the production reality.

  • giacomo

    Tim……..

    I think when you live in a society, USA, that has always had large cars most will think it’s a small car, and it is, but once you get a person to sit in back most, except my daughter who suffers from claustrophobia, find the room adequate. The usual comment I get is…..”Wow, much larger in here than it looks!”

    I have a daughter that lives in Holland. When I go there a lot of Dutch seem to think the MINI is mid-sized, especially when compared to the Smart and the Microcar.

    It’s all relative. Also I think the “American Public” has taken quite well to the MINI.

  • Tim

    Yeah, I guess you’re right. I do enjoy showing a grocery clerk how to get a cart full of bagged groceries into the boot. I still don’t understand why they try and pack your bread before your heavy items like milk, soda, water and beer.

  • giacomo

    Hey when I was a checker/bagger, a long time ago, doing that was cause for review.

  • MINIMIKE

    A little off subject Gabe, but MSN Money today shows the Mini Cooper as a top five in cheap to keep over a five year period. Not that we didn’t know this already. Great site, I check it daily for my fix.

  • Tim

    I had a bagger once tell me flat out my car was too small and she wouldn’t feel comfortable unless she was driving something big. I asked in a rather sarcastic way, “is it because your a bad driver that you feel safer in a big car?” She wasn’t impressed. I guess that’s ok, I wasn’t impressed with her either.

    Tim

  • Frank

    We have managed to fit the most unbelievable and bulky objects inside our MINIs. I have always loved hatchbacks and the MINI’s clever design proves the point that it is not about the size but how the effeciently the available interior space is used.

    You can fit a 36″ TV with its box inside a hardtop MINI (Of course with the rear seatbacks folded).

    Try that in a “Full Size” sedan, whether it is American, Japanese or German.

    The European driving public, given their choice of small/hatchbacks is infinitely smarter than their American counterparts.

  • Bruce

    Barn doors are too expensive? Very ironic from an historical Mini perspective. You see, the original Mini Traveller/Country wagon had twin barn doors because they offered a production cost advantage! With the twin rear barn doors open on the Mini assembly line, the car was marginally shorter than if if it had a single large large side-hinged rear door (think old refrigerator). That meant more Traveller/Countryman cars could fit on the assembly line at one time. And that saved money!

  • Frank

    The last traveller was built over 30 years ago. Times have changed…

  • Ken

    As for the 36 inch TV–couldn’t get one in my MINI! Of course, couldn’t get it in my Ford Contour, or my wife’s Escort, either! Had to have my son swing by with his pick-up truck.

  • Greg W

    Hey Ken – try getting a square box in the rear of a VW Beetle! I still think the Milan based Castagna conversion would be the best bet – ref http://motoringfile.com/2005/03/10/carrozeria_castagnas_new_mini_offerings

  • giacomo

    Could this be the “BRUCE” of the MIcroCar museum?

  • Bruce

    Sorry, no.

  • DrDiff

    More space would be a plus with both a 2 year old and 5 year old in kid seats. State law mandates that the 5 year old despite being big enough for normal seat belts must be in a booster.

    MIB is barely big enough for us now. More space will be found when kidDiff2 graduates to a booster seat rather than a kid seat. But still tight for a family of two boys who want to bring along toys and such on every ride.

  • DrDiff

    I hope they work on cup holders that actually hold something other than a 12 ounce can or small cup. And a second one in the back would be nice.