2005 SYNUS CONCEPT Exterior/Interior
Standing less than five feet tall, SYNUS concept signals that this Ford Fiesta-derived car can hold its own with both the big dogs on the road and whatever punishing conditions it might meet while parked downtown.
While engaged in secure mode, the vehicle deploys protective shutters over the windshield and side glass. Small windows on the side and roof are non-opening and bullet-resistant.
Adding to the car's protective theme, the driver's door on the Ford SYNUS concept is unlocked via a safe-style combination dial on the B-pillar. Its door glass borrows the trademark shape from Ford's mighty F-Series pickups, and small, slot-style windows are set high on the rear flanks. These non-opening panes of bullet-resistant glass – deeply recessed to bolster the body's impression of thickness and impenetrability – are replicated on the roof as a pair of skylight panels, allowing natural light into the cabin without compromising security. The passenger side boasts a supplemental rear-hinged access door, similar to what is found on an extended-cab pickup, to ease rear-seat ingress and egress.
VISUAL CUES AND FAMILY RESEMBLANCE
Inspired by Ford's current range of rough-and-ready trucks and sport-utility vehicles, Designer José Paris has neatly integrated the big, bad attitude of its Built Ford Tough relatives in this diminutive urban sanctuary's wrapping.
A milled, block-lettered "FORD" badge – larger than those found on the F-Series trucks – is backlit in electric blue, hinting at the sanctuary within. Meanwhile, simple rectangular headlamps that feature stacked halogen elements and a floating front bumper perfectly complete the confident neo-classical look. Boldly flared wheel arches at the front and rear accommodate the vehicle's exceptionally wide track, a clear statement that the SYNUS concept is every bit as nimble and fun to drive as its acclaimed European-market foundation, the Ford Fiesta.
The just-slightly raked, completely flat windshield is wide, low and set between two chunky A-pillars and beneath a substantial header – another visual element that helps give the little Ford SYNUS concept its armored vehicle character. A very fine centerline crease runs the length of the roof, a cue that is neatly reiterated in the vehicle's interior.
PRIVACY AND SECURITY DELIVERED TO A NEW LEVEL
Because the SYNUS concept's native habitat, the urban environment, can be inhospitable at times, the door glass and the windshield come equipped with deployable armor. These steel shutters are simple but effective security measures that help deter vandalism, and prevent smash-and-grab thievery. With the shutters in place, the Ford SYNUS concept can meet the challenge of overnight curbside parking with confidence.
Key amenities include an onboard 802.11g wireless network hub and eye-popping 45-inch flat screen LCD from Sharp Electronics which fills the rear tailgate. This gigantic display can accommodate a variety of technologies, including DVD players, the internet, and video game systems. Moreover, a series of external cameras linked to the display allow occupants to monitor activities on the street – even with the security shutters in place. One such camera is housed in the four-handle spinner on the rear door, which has a single hinge and opens like a bank vault. The rear door is windowless with a convincingly impenetrable appearance. Stencil-style Ford SYNUS concept logo garnishes the smooth, slightly concave surface. Sliver-like taillights and a center high-mounted stop light that feature potent LED elements also emerge from within the fine gap between the rear door and the body.
Striving for a design that exudes the warmth and welcome of a private sanctuary, Chief Designer Joe Baker has conceived and crafted a space that not only calms the spirit but eases the stress of urban life.
Power adjustment controls are centrally located on the underside of the seat, and the whole unit rides on a single floor track, yet another innovation that maximizes space. The rear seats can accommodate two passengers in comfort, or fold completely flat to increase interior volume.
Color and fabric selection have as much to do with the cabin's welcoming atmosphere as do its soothing shapes and intelligent ergonomics. The seats, headliner, and side panels are swathed in a smooth, elastic fabric that lacks a noticeable grain or texture. Its soft, skin-like physical properties and off-white tones help make occupants feel one with the interior.
Secondary surfaces, including the underside of the front seat and the lower portion of the instrument panel, are clad in vintage-style Naugahyde in a warm, complementary shade dubbed "yield yellow" by the design team, for its similarity to colors used in road signage – another nod to the vehicle's urban intention.
In addition to the soft-touch fabrics, the side panels behind the front seats are layered in supremely supple "memory foam," that seemingly hugs body parts, makes the rear compartment as hospitable as the front, and promotes this area as more than just added cargo space.
Likewise, the Ford SYNUS concept's instrument panel is a model of ergonomic efficiency, incorporating easy-to-read, amber-lit gauges and user-friendly controls. The steering wheel folds away beneath the dash – offering additional sanctuary space behind the concept's fortress-like exterior. The passenger compartment's understated LED lighting also changes moods as the occupants see fit, easing from cool white to warm amber.
TAGS AND INSTRUCTIONS FOR STYLE AND FUNCTION
One such line runs the length of the headliner, elegantly paralleling the centerline crease on the roof panel. Salonen also included a few stencil graffiti-style "instructions," like "feet" placed on the floor mats. In addition, designers highlighted phrases that playfully caution against doing the very thing the part is designed to do.
"Very often people do the exact opposite of what they're told," Salonen said. "In this case, we knew they would lift the back sides of the rear seats so we stenciled 'DO NOT OPEN' on the panels."
STAY INSIDE, SEE IT ALL – THE ULTIMATE IN VOYEURISM
When engaged, the Sharp Electronics television– the largest flat screen LCD ever mounted in any vehicle – offers viewers inside the vehicle the choice of internet surfing, people watching, or movie viewing.
Measuring fully 45-inches on the diagonal, this mammoth television is derived from Sharp's new Aquos LC-45GX6U high-definition technology and displays a true 16:9 aspect ratio and full HDTV resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It's completely plug-and-play ready, allowing for quick hookups to the viewer's favorite gadgets, as well as three unique usage modes.
In Observation mode, for instance, tiny external cameras allow occupants to watch activity on the street outside, even when the vehicle's roll-up security shutters are sealed. In motion, the display works with the cameras to function as the vehicle's rear window; the driver, looking in the rearview mirror, actually sees a high-definition closed-circuit image of the rearward view. Think of it as a virtual rear window.
In Generate mode, the screen serves as a vast electronic desktop, acting in tandem with the vehicle's integrated 802.11g Wi-Fi wireless network system and PC controller. In this mode, users can surf the Web, manage digital music files, or create and edit images and video while the vehicle is parked.
Finally, in Entertain mode, the television display becomes the ultimate mobile home theater and arcade, with the ability to interface with DVD and VHS players and video game systems. When the display is in this mode, sliding the front backrests forward creates the best seats in the house.