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Geneva Motor Show: Ford iosis MAX Concept Looks So Cute When It's Angry

March 3, 2009
Ford iosis MAX concept

Ford iosis MAX concept

Ford iosis MAX concept

Ford iosis MAX concept

Ford iosis MAX concept

Ford iosis MAX concept

Ford is dropping its new iosis concept in Geneva--the eternally italicized iosis MAX--and we're kind of on the fence. Maybe you could help us out?

On the outside, the iosis MAX looks like a reasonable continuation of the "kinetic design" cues defining previous iosis iterations. The grill is aggressively cutesy in that angry butteryfly/animé way that we've seen elsewhere, but otherwise the vehicle borders on elegant. The glass roof (also getting a lot of play these days) gives the iosis MAX a sleek, airy feel. So does the absence of a B-pillar and the cleverly done rear doors, which slide back not unlike your standard minivan. The double-hung hatchback is a nice touch, too, and the wacky, X-wing dashboard is interesting, though it might also be like that eighth shot of tequila: kind of unnecessary.

Under the hood, the iosis MAX features a 1.6 liter EcoBoost engine, as well as Ford's Auto-Start-Stop system, which, as most know by now, shuts down when the vehicle reaches a full stop. There's also PowerShift six-speed dual-clutch gearbox that makes for better fuel efficiency.

According to the (very lengthy) press release from Ford, the iosis MAX represents "a vision for Ford's next generation compact multi-activity vehicle (MAV), and hints at the design direction of Ford's next global C-cars." And on the one hand, that's cool. Whether we admit it or not, much of our internal car-buying debate revolves around a vehicle's look. What can we say? We're shallow that way.

On the other hand, apart from its appearance, the iosis MAX isn't all that different from a lot of other cars on the market. And even on the cosmetic front, there are some really close alternatives. Is all this enough to woo previously aloof buyers? This isn't just academic, since the iosis MAX's design will show up on other vehicles, and there's a chance the vehicle itself may show up on American lots. This is a concept with real-world impact.

And on a third, disembodied hand, will someone please explain what's going on with the green paint? First we saw a curious job on the Lincoln Concept C, then on the Spark. We think there are others, too, but we're too lazy to dig 'em up. But seriously: what's the deal? We thought Pantone already set the color agenda for 2009, and green wasn't on it.

[source: FordMedia]

UPDATE: A very friendly email correspondent just pointed us to a video about the making of the iosis MAX. We wish it focused on other elements in addition to the car's cosmetics, but maybe Ford's trying to tell us something [WCF @ YouTube].

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