Styled by a team led by Martin Smith, Ford of Europe's executive design director, the car's dramatic looks and striking pearlescent 'Limelight' colour are complemented by innovative solutions which enhance its practicality and environmental performance. Coupled to this clean and lean engine are the recently introduced Ford PowerShift transmission, plus a new Ford Auto-Start-Stop system also due for production in 2010.
"The iosis MAX marks the next stage in the evolution of kinetic design, and showcases a number of affordable engine technologies that will make a difference to the environment and our customers' pockets", says Martin Smith, Ford of Europe's Executive Design Director. "Our designers have stretched themselves beyond the two previous iosis concepts, and have applied kinetic design form language to a MAV", adds Smith.
The design team sought to create a strong impression of lightness and efficiency. This was achieved through the concept's sleek, coupé-like side profile, which provides a clear contrast to the more boxy approach adopted by many vehicles in the compact MAV segment. The feeling of lightness is reinforced by the extensive use of glass in the vehicle, with the steeply raked front screen flowing back in one piece to the tailgate, revealing the skeletal roof structure underneath.
The front of the iosis MAX is dominated by the bold trapezoidal lower grille, which is now a key part of the Ford brand identity. For the first time, however, the grille features a distinctive new treatment with three horizontal chrome-rimmed bars, giving the vehicle's face a more dynamic and imposing feel. The C-pillars, with their highly original 'flying buttress' design, also deliver significant functional benefits. The pillars act as spoilers, channelling airflow as close as possible to the tailgate glass for optimum aerodynamic efficiency.
The iosis MAX interior presents a bold evolution of the kinetic design language used on the exterior, incorporating dynamic shapes and advanced materials to create an interior environment which is light, spacious and expressive A key part of the iosis MAX interior concept is the spine-like bridge which runs the full length of the interior from the bulkhead through to the rear load area.
The bridge supports the centre console, and provides a mounting point for the four individual seats and central armrests. The seats are cantilevered from the bridge, allowing for an uninterrupted floor space and giving occupants the sensation that they are 'floating on air'.
The colours selected for the interior were chosen to complement the 'Limelight' of the exterior. Different tones of luminous natural greys feature on most interior surfaces. Small details are picked out in a bright acidic yellow to add visual impact and stress the dynamic, sculptural character of the shapes and graphics The innovative use of shapes and materials is also reflected in the centre console, which has a smooth plexiglass surface that rolls down from the instrument panel like a ribbon and flows through to the rear of the passenger compartment.
The whole of the console surface acts as a touch-screen display to control the vehicle's systems. Information – such as sat-nav instructions or details of an incoming phone call – is displayed on the console when required using projectors mounted beneath the surface. A rotary control at the bottom of the console allows the driver to switch between primary functions, while a mouse-like controller in front of the central armrest provides a swift and accurate way to navigate within menus as an alternative to using the touch screens.
To help overcome common problems faced by owners when loading or unloading the vehicle in a confined space, such as a congested multi-storey car park, the concept features a unique two piece tailgate design. This allows the tailgate to be fully opened, even when there is restricted space behind or above the vehicle.
To provide even greater loading flexibility the iosis MAX utilises a B-pillarless construction, providing a wide, unobstructed load aperture when both front and rear side doors are open. In combination with the 'floating' seat design, this enables awkward, bulky items – such as flat pack furniture – to be slid easily onto the floor of the cabin or the folded seat backs
New opening kinematics are also utilised in the dual-function hood design, which incorporates an active hood system for improved pedestrian protection in combination with greatly enhanced access to the engine compartment.
The innovation featured in the iosis MAX extends to its powertrain, which showcases efficient technologies coming in future Ford vehicles to demonstrate how reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions can be achieved without compromising dynamic performance. Power is provided by a 1.6-litre 180PS four-cylinder petrol engine from Ford's new EcoBoost engine family. Ford EcoBoost engines feature turbocharging and direct injection technology to deliver fuel economy up to 20 per cent better than conventional petrol engines with a similar power output. EcoBoost engines will be progressively introduced to Ford's European product range from early 2010.
The 1.6-litre EcoBoost unit in the iosis MAX is further optimised through the use of a new Ford Auto-Start-Stop system, intelligent alternator and six-speed Ford PowerShift double-clutch automated manual gearbox with ratios tailored to deliver maximum fuel efficiency. Simulations predict that the concept vehicle could achieve CO2 emissions of 125g/km.