By on May 25, 2011

See that? Looks a bit like a first-generation Scion xB, doesn’t it? It’s actually a new Kia, codenamed “Tam,” built on its new A-segment Picanto Morning platform, but featuring first-gen xB-style tall-body MPV packaging. The Picanto’s wheelbase is actually slightly smaller than the xB’s, and there’s another key difference here as well: see that rear door? Look where the handle is placed. That’s right, it’s a slider! But that’s not all…

Here’s where things get kooky: on the driver’s side the rear door is a normal front-hinger. At least, that’s what it looks like here. And with Hyundai experimenting with asymmetrical door configurations on its B-segment Veloster, would it be so surprising for Kia to do the same with this wilfully funky little thing? As far as this blogger is concerned, the only thing about this new Kia city-hauler that would be truly surprising would be hearing that it’s coming to the US. A smaller, more-efficient ur-xB with sliding door(s)? Keep dreaming… although a Veloster/Soul/Tam lineup would pretty much show Scion how it’s done.

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20 Comments on “Are You Ready For: A Neo-xB… With A Twist?...”

  • avatar

    Looks more Nissan Cube to me. There are a few other tiny-wheeled boxes available in Japan that it resembles, too.

  • avatar

    From the passenger side photo, it kind of reminded me of the old tall Nissan Maxima wagon of the mid 80’s, which I had found kind need looking back in the day.

    That being said, from what I see, yeah, kind of Cube-ish in looks, which then gives it a me too vibe but doesn’t look bad however.

  • avatar

    Are you sure it’s a sliding door? Not a suicide door?

  • avatar

    Toyota made a mistake with the current generation XB (too big – fuel mileage). Good on the new, Big H! Build it well and it will sell…

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed… the original xB was not mainstream in the least (wasn’t that the point of Scion?), but had a nice little cult following and was very unique. They really botched it up on the second gen.

  • avatar

    Looks like a prototype of the next-gen Daihatsu Tanto to me (which is a kei car);

    Toyota also has the Porte, which this could be related to:

    Let’s also keep in mind that the Japanese market bB and the US market xB is two totally different cars this generation…

    This is the current Japanese market bB:

  • avatar

    Honda will rue the day it decided to allow the Element to languish without a revision to fix its obvious drawbacks. It’s as though they couldn’t admit a mistake (a common Japanese cultural deficiency)… not even a ridiculous mistake, like the Element’s rear doors.

    Now the element is gone, and we see competitors moving toward what may be a substantial niche for effective, boxy haulers for families, trades, and outdoor enthusiasts – Ford’s Transit Connect being one conspicuous example.

    • 0 avatar

      An Element with conventional doors is a CR-V. Suicide doors have major drawbacks, but if you accept them as 2 door trucks with available access to the back instead of 4 doors, they aren’t that bad. I used to have a bunch of customers with Elements. They used them the way people used IH Scouts 40 years ago. The Elements were always muddy, inside and out. It made me actually want an Element, and there were exactly zero other SUVs where mud was a common feature.

  • avatar


  • avatar

    This reminds me of the Suzuki Wagon R. That makes it a 20 year old idea, but since it is a Hyundai, it is SO exciting!!!

  • avatar

    That windshield is too tall and upright for highway speeds (especially with a small engine) and will likely return poor HWY mileage; so my guess is “not for US” unless it’s marketed as an electric city-box/taxi.

  • avatar

    Is there a new trend beginning here? I notice the windows are large – that must mean – I’m speculating here – that you can actually see what’s outside when you’re driving! Truly a revolutionary concept that will take the industry by storm!

    It’s about time, too.

    • 0 avatar

      Another reason it’s not coming to the US. Tiny, armored car slit windows are a result of US safety standards (which would prefer everyone drive a Brink’s truck). This has reasonable, decent-sized windows, so we’ll never see it.

      • 0 avatar

        Cars made with the right combination of materials don’t necessarily have to have porthole windows (like the HHR?) A high quality High Strength Steel for the pillars structure actually decreases weight and increases the glass area. It also increases the cost though… so as long as US manufacturers can get away with mild steel and humongous heavy pillars, I believe they will. Until they need to meet 62mpg CAFE, then we’ll be made to pay for all the good stuff, or they’ll go bankrupt again.

      • 0 avatar

        @nickeled&dimed: Agreed. I should have specificed that high beltlines and small windows are car manufacturers’ OVERREACTIONS to US safety regulations. There are plenty of better ways to design cars to account for safety, but they’ve choosen to go the easy route for now.

    • 0 avatar

      Most of the high beltline/tiny windows trend is driven by styling, not safetly regs. Corvettes and Miatas, even one-box hatchbacks like the Fit and Golf don’t have either of these issues and they pass the same standards everyone else has to. This is because they are designed, at least in part, for car guys rather than for idiots who think “more visible metal” = “safer”.

  • avatar

    Funny, the presser photo (black body, grey background) has the slider on the driver’s side (too?).

    Sliding doors just make a lot of sense, actually, for accessibility and getting in and out in tight spots… I’d like to see them make their way to non-minivans. They’re no longer like the ’80s econoline sliders that kept jamming.

  • avatar

    I may have puked inside my mouth a bit. I think every Toyota nowadays makes me sick, you would think by now I would have it under control.

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