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Our Prototypes column introduces new vehicle concepts and presents visuals from designers who illustrate the ideas. Some of them will be extensions of existing concepts, others will be new, some will be production ready, and others really far-fetched.

The concept

The Apendix is a four-wheel drive crossover equipped with 4+2 seats and four doors. It drives like any car, but has the capacity to stretch and reveal a third row of seats. The Apendix has a futuristic design, and its rear doors open up like the gullwing doors on the Mercedes SLS AMG.

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The background

Have you ever wished you could stretch your car to fit an extra few friends or more cargo in it? The Apendix was created to combine two types of car categories into one: compact and SUV. I imagined this type of layout because in North America, most people drive to work alone, but need an extra two-to-four seats in the evening or on weekends (whether it's for family or friends). Driving a minivan all the time as a solution is not cool, but what if our cars could extend at the touch of a button?

How it works

To extend the Apendix, the driver stops the vehicle and activates the Extended mode. The car then unlocks the rear frame and an electric motor extends the vehicle by three feet (one metre). A fold-flat third-row seat hidden in the floor can then be unfolded (similar to the Stow 'n Go feature on a Dodge Grand Caravan). In Extended mode, the rear 'gullwing' door opens up, to access the rear seats.

Will this car be heavier than a standard seat car? Probably, but not by much. Will it have better handling? Maybe, the longer wheelbase might help overall, and the steering and suspension will be built to adapt to both wheelbases.

What's it used for?

If you have kids, you probably don't have a choice but to own an intermediate-size car or a minivan. With the Apendix, you could have the best of both worlds and use your vehicle to commute and go out with your wife or girlfriend, but you would also be able to take the kids on a road trip without being cramped in a smaller car. It will definitely be much cooler to drive and easier to park than a minivan in any configuration, and it will also hold much more luggage and passengers when it is switched to Extended mode. Of course, this is still a concept, and it needs some engineering and design refinements, but it could evolve into a new product line.

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The design

The image was executed by Clark McCune, who's based in Tulsa, Okla.

Charles Bombardier is a member of the family that owns Quebec-based Bombardier Inc. and Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), which are in the business of designing and manufacturing vehicles. Bombardier left BRP in 2006 to work on his own ventures, and in March, 2013 he began to create his own concept vehicles and publish them on his website.

If you have questions about driving or car maintenance, please contact our experts at globedrive@globeandmail.com.

Follow us on Twitter @Globe_Drive.

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