The MINI Urbanaut concept introduced in November last year will likely lead to the launch of a new MINI MPV later this decade. According to a recent report from Autocar UK, the production version will be called MINI Traveller.
It was in 2019 when it was first reported that the BMW Group could relaunch the iconic MINI Traveller. The unveiling of the MINI Vision Urbanaut solidified the speculation that a modern-day Traveller is in the making. The concept sits on a skateboard chassis, the same type of platform as the ‘Neue Klasse’ platform BMW Group announced at its annual press conference this year, as per the report.
That however does not rule out the possibility of the MINI Traveller EV sharing the electric version of the FAAR platform with the first-ever MINI Countryman Electric. The production MINI Vision Urbanaut, not expected to release before 2025, could seat up to seven people.
Consider the MINI Traveller as a smaller alternative to the VW ID. Buzz (VW Microbus electric/VW Bulli electric), which is likely to measure around 5 meters (196.8 in.) in length and scheduled to enter production in 2022. The electric and autonomous vehicle era is creating a new market for leisure vehicles, and the MINI Traveller could be a prominent model in this category.
Here are two lesser-known facts about the MINI Urbanaut, which BMW Group calls “an oasis” amid the urban hustle and bustle:
New MINI design language
The MINI Urbanaut concept debuts the brand’s new design language. The next-gen MINI Hatchback due in 2023 and other future MINI models including the next-gen Mini electric cars will feature design cues borrowed from this concept.
The headlights and grille are positioned under a milled aluminum structure with slotted openings. They become visible only when switched on, and can display multi-colored graphics. These features reflect MINI’s preparedness for the autonomous and highly digital future. The enclosed grille is in an octagonal shape, which is something new for a MINI. The connected tail lights and their shape could also be seen on future MINIs. Some interior elements, like the trims, upholsteries and/or colors could find their way in next-gen MINI models.
Smaller than the VW ID. Buzz
The MINI Urbanaut may appear as a preview of a rival to the ID. Buzz-based VW Microbus (VW e-Bulli) that is set to enter production in 2022. However, it is much smaller than the VW van. While the British electric van is 4,460 mm or 175.6 inches long, the German model, based on the extended MEB-XL platform, is 4,942 mm or 194.6 inches long. The MINI Traveller would be suited mainly for moving people, while the Volkswagen model would serve commercial purposes as well equally.