A long time ago, on a network far, far away, there was a land where Will and Holly Marshall fought the Sleestak, fiddled with a weather matrix, and lost their father to a Dick York-style identity swap. All along, the Marshalls were looking for a way to get out of the Land of the Lost--and Renault has finally gotten around to penning a concept for just that in the predatory but family-friendly Ondelios.
Part MPV, part Space Shuttle, and part Dyson vacuum, the gull-winged Ondelios takes the notion of a crossover vehicle to otherworldly extremes. It looks ready to challenge the time-space continuum--particularly with its grille, which is either a handsome detail patterned after Japanese washi paper, or the warped cell window shade left behind by a former tenant who never paid his security deposit. Huge 23-inch wheels instantly date this in archaeological SUV terms to the mid-2000s.
Like a consciously weird Chrysler Pacifica or a post-gastric-bypass Benz R-Class, the Ondelios' interior has seats for six. The seats are said to be designed like leaves in which passengers can curl up for a comfy ride; fittingly, leather and fabrics blend from grey to purple like a big eggplant. Multizone electronics, climate controls, entertainment systems, and other "smart" technologies are another nod to the excesses of family transport in the post-post-modern era--as is the casual nod to recyclability.
For real cliches, you need to head to the Ondelios' powertrain specs, where a 205-horsepower diesel engine is mated to electric motors for oil-burning ersatz four-wheel drive. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission handles the shifting. It's a carefully synthesized package of existing ideas in a somewhat daring wrapper. It's Coldplay.
Renault says this is its vision for a high-end car of the near future. We say, um, OK. We also remind you there's a film version of "Land of the Lost" coming and Will Ferrell is attached, and that sounds like a lot more fun.