caused a minor sensation with its city car concept at this
year's Geneva Motor Show.
Called the TRIXX, it showcased a range of exciting packaging
ideas for Opel's cars of the future and no doubt many of them
will be emulated by other manufacturers.
In fact one of the ideas in the TRIXX has so excited Opel's
management that the company has taken out a patent on this
idea - an inflatable rear seat.
The TRIXX measures just 3,0 metres in length, which is not
that astounding, considering that the Smart, built by
Mercedes-Benz and already seen on our roads, is only a
fraction over 2,5 metres long.
But the stubby Smart is a pure two-seater, whereas TRIXX is
design to carry three adults and a child, or to double as
utility vehicle with up to a thousand litres of interior
The TRIXX is fitted with three doors - two for the passenger
side of the vehicle and one for the driver's side, which open
in an ingenious sliding fashion.
doors by Opel, as the hinging mechanism is similar to the
device connecting electric trains to overhead power sources,
the doors enable entry and exit in extremely tight spots.
And unlike sliding doors used on MPV's, there is no rail slot
for the doors to run.
The seating arrangement is extremely flexible. The front
passenger seat can be folded away completely into the floor of
the TRIXX, and it is reinforced to enable the loading of heavy
objects on top of it.
The rear passenger seat is inflated by means of an on-board
compressor. To trigger its inflation the rear headrest is
raised into position which automatically triggers its
To deflate the seat a vacuum pump is used, and this is
activated by pushing the headrest into the stowage position.
An unusual feature for a car of this size is that it dispenses
with the traditional hatchback door or tailgate.
Instead the rear window glass slides into the rear body panel,
while the glass sunroof slides forward to enable the loading
of long or tall bulky objects through this gap in the roof and
rear window area.
The passenger side doors, which slide a long way from the
centre line of the car, also offer plenty of room for loading
As a final touch in the versatility department, a drawer-like
loading rack can be pulled out behind the car, holding items
such as this pair of mountain bikes, or messy items like bags
of cement or garden refuse.
An eye-catching feature of the interior is the instrument
panel, which looks like it escaped from a 1955 Chevy.
But it has a modern 3-D operation and also contains all sorts
of hi-tech information like fuel range, fuel consumption and
also houses on-board navigation.
The F1-type steering wheel, with its squared-off lower is
probably an example of Opel's design team having fun, but it
does enable easy access to the driver's seat. And incidentally
the seats are mounted in an elevated position to enable that
perched-on-high-feeling so beloved by 4X4 owners.
Other unusual, if not ground-breaking, features include the
LED or light-emitting diode headlamps and tail lamps. And the
exterior has strong Opel styling signatures, including the
typical hood crease in the front.
Beneath that hood lies a 1,3 litre ECOTEC diesel engine
that delivers 51 kW, and which Opel claims is the world's
smallest passenger car diesel. In fact the engine displaces
just one thousand two hundred and fifty one cc’s and claimed
overall fuel consumption is 3,9 litres per 100 km.
With an overall weight of 850 kilograms, performance is said
to be in the compact hatch class, with a claimed nought to one
hundred kilometres per hour time of 13 seconds and top speed
of 170 kilometres per hour.
this stage there are no plans to produce the TRIXX, but at
least a few of these unique ideas are sure to find their way
into Opel production cars in the not too distant future.