If the Renault Avantime wasn’t proof enough that the French like quirky minivans, here’s further evidence: the 2009 Renault Kangoo Be-Bop, which premieres at this week’s Paris motor show.
Reportedly inspired by the Kangoo Compact concept shown at the 2007 Frankfurt motor show, the Be-Bop is, oddly enough, a compact Kangoo. Renault’s seen fit to hack the center section (including both sliding side doors) away from the vehicle. The result is a very tall two-door hatchback, which rides upon a very short wheelbase.
Though removing space seemingly defeats the point of a minivan, Renault’s replaced versatility with some funky tricks. Sure, the contrasting colors on the hood and hatch (another conceptual cue) are interesting, but perhaps most so is the roof. While the driver has a pop-up sunroof, the rear passengers have the option of an open-air experience. Drop the rear window into the gate, and slide the rear moonroof forward, et voilà: a convertible of sorts.
Clever – and it does take us back to the Suzuki Sidekicks of days-gone, sans the quasi-off-road capability. Still, we’re wondering why, apart from the roof gimmick, why someone would choose one over a similar (and more conventional) Clio hatchback. Look at it this way: would you buy a two-door convertible Mazda5 when you could just as soon purchase a Mazda3 with a sunroof? We didn’t think so.