Chrysler focuses on a future generation, with a minivan at CES
Chrysler knows millennials will be the car buyers of the future, so designs its newest concept car, the Portal minivan, for this new generation.
Wayne CunninghamManaging Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
's future may have looked dim a few years ago, but its Pacifica minivan came out last year to critical acclaim. That success seems behind its newest concept, the Portal minivan unveiled at
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The Portal measures much smaller than the current crop of
, but it is designed for a new generation, the millennial, that by all accounts prefers an urban lifestyle.
Chrysler's millennial focus with the Portal meant a design that started on the inside, with the idea of creating a comfortable and open space. As such, the six available seats can be easily reconfigured or removed. Those seats are also made to be much less bulky than traditional car seats.
To top off the open space theme, the Portal's glass roof, crisscrossed by carbon fiber support bars, lets plenty of light in.
The exterior complements the interior by emphasizing the sideways-opening doors, while a light accent around the door opening can be set to different colors to help identify the Portal in a crowd.
With its electric drivetrain, comprised of an electric motor up front and a 100 kilowatt-hour battery pack under the floor, the Portal gets 250 miles range.
A wide OLED display high in the dashboard shows vehicle-specific information, while a more traditional portrait-format display offers navigation and entertainment. The Portal design includes the idea of self-driving, so the steering yoke can fold itself way into the dashboard.
The Portal's size and interior make it a good, functional design, although some people may not favor its boxy exterior. And while it may work well in low-speed city driving, the apparently poor aerodynamics of its design would likely take a toll on range.
Of course, as a concept car Chrysler announced no plans to bring the Portal to production, but elements of its design could find their way into future Chrysler models.
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