Adventures in Space: The Dodge MAXXcab
9 January 2000The World's First Passenger Priority Truck
DETROIT -- Traditionally, pickup trucks are designed with cargo and hauling in mind. It was all about utility in the 1930s and '40s. While in recent years more attention has been given to the passengers with larger cabs, bed dimensions and payload are still key factors in any true pickup truck. Enter the Dodge MAXXcab concept truck, the world's first Passenger Priority truck, premiering at the 2000 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. DaimlerChrysler's Dodge MAXXcab is a true pickup truck -- but one with cab-forward design and sedan-like ride, handling, space, comfort and luxury. "Just as cab-forward changed the architecture of our passenger cars, Passenger Priority design might influence an entire vehicle line," said Tom Gale, Executive Vice President - Product Development and Design. "The Dodge MAXXcab is tangible proof of our ability to reach with design. Not only do we achieve truly new exterior proportions, but with MAXXcab we literally reinvent the truck interior image." The Dodge MAXXcab concept vehicle doubles as an office-on-wheels or as a mobile daycare center, while still offering a half-ton payload and enough bedspace for weekend projects and hobby-equipment. The bed measures 52.7" long by 56.7" wide by 24" deep -- wider and deeper than today's full-size truck boxes -- and comes with an integrated picnic table and chairs for the occasional spur-of-the-moment tailgate party. "My inspiration came from my own experience," said Clyde Ney, Design Manager responsible for the MAXXcab interior. "I've had pickup trucks for more than 10 years and worked on the exterior design of the current Dodge Ram. So I knew what I liked in a pickup truck. When this project came up, I also asked my wife and six-year-old son what they would change." MAXXcab offers a luxurious front cabin with cream pillow-top leather- tailored seats, a sports sedan-style instrument panel with brushed aluminum details and Navy door inserts, adjustable pedals and a child-focused rear cabin. The driver "Infotronic" system accommodates all data and information needs while away from the office. The center console houses a toaster-style pop-up "plug-and-play" laptop computer with liquid crystal displays in the instrument panel and in the rear of the console itself. A voice recognition system allows the driver to access the mobile office screens and the Internet for real-time weather updates, traffic information and e-mail. Voice commands also control the vehicle's navigation and diagnostics systems and telephone. In the rear, three minivan-style, built-in child safety seats accommodate toddlers and older children, while an "Edu-tainment" system with DVD player, Internet access and a hand-held sketch pad will keep them busy. Added Ney: "Remember when your parents were on a quest to find that antique armoire or went out to buy a power generator or a week's-worth of groceries, and you were 'forced' to join them? In the Dodge MAXXcab, these trips will be fun." The middle rear seat is power-controlled from the front doors. This allows for the parents to move the seat close to the front seats and create a "kid-cocoon." It also makes it easier for the front passenger to tend to a toddler. A small overhead "kid-view" camera monitors the rear cabin. Additional side bolsters on top of the child seats create a comfortable nap-rest while lower side nets will keep the toys close to the toddlers. All seats have integrated speakers in the head restraints. "The Dodge MAXXcab is the first pickup truck to give the highest priority to the passengers," said Micheal Castiglione, Design Manager at DaimlerChrysler's Pacifica Advanced Product Design Center in Carlsbad, Calif. Castiglione, the exterior designer, proposed the Passenger Priority concept truck as part of a Design Leadership Project at Pacifica. "In doing so, we created unique design proportions. But it is still a true Dodge Truck -- bold and powerful. Every design element, no matter how small, supports that image." MAXXcab's exterior design, with its short front and rear overhangs and cab-forward stance, reflects the appearance of semi-trucks. Its high beltline, strong body feature line, tall bumpers and large wheel flares give this concept the bold presence of a cab-over truck. While extremely roomy inside, overall length is just 2.5 inches larger than the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan. The massive in-your-face Dodge-signature cross-hair grille, flanked by oversized headlamps signals the vehicle's capability. A 4.7-liter Next Generation Magnum(R) V-8 engine coupled to a multi-speed electronic automatic transmission allows for a sprint to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, and a top speed of 115 mph. The Dodge MAXXcab is finished in Butane Blue Pearl paint. Eighteen-inch wheels and tires and independent short-and-long-arm front and rear suspension with custom torsion bars give MAXXcab smooth, sedan-like ride and handling. Custom crossmembers allow for maximum passenger and cargo volume. Added Gale: "The MAXXcab concept truck is still a Dodge Truck with all its capability. Passenger Priority does not mean cargo requirements were forgotten."