Genuine innovation in trunks is rare. While there are certainly many trunks that I find inspirational, and there are even some I consider genuinely groundbreaking, the reality is that for most mass-market cars accommodations for cargo are a hole to throw it into and a lid of some sort to cover it up. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Real consideration for how humans interact with our trunks can happen and occasionally even result in something clever. Like what happened with the Renault Modus. Too bad about the goofy name, though.
The name of this innovation was the Boot Chute, though the Modus’ owner’s manual gave it the less-fun name of “double opening tailgate”:
What we’re looking at here is a small car, designed primarily for cities, with a hatchback. All very expected stuff. In this context, little city car hatchbacks often find themselves parallel parked, fairly tightly, and when this happens, sometimes the cars are parked so close that the tailgate doesn’t have room to open, which, if you have stuff to actually get in your car, can be a huge ass-pain.
The Boot Chute solves this problem.
It’s an extra trunk lid, inset into the tailgate and hinged at the bottom. It’s kind of like the original Mini, which had a bottom-hinged trunk lid that could occasionally function as a longer loading deck:
The goal here is different, though. For the Modus, what the Boot Chute does is give access to the trunk in situations where the hatchback can’t be opened effectively.
I’ve been in this situation with hatchbacks many times, and it’s annoying. You end up having to try and awkwardly load whatever it is you want to haul away into the cargo area via the doors and back seat, and that’s no fun.
This Boot Chute effectively solves the problem for all but the bulkiest items, which are things that maybe you wouldn’t be likely to be hauling along a sidewalk in a city, anyway.
The Boot Chute, despite its name having some giggle-inducing anal canal sort of slang implications, was a clever solution designed to solve one basic problem, and I think it did that very well.
It was available as an option on the Renault Modus from 2004 to 2008, and, as far as I can tell, is an idea that has yet to resurface on any modern car, which is a shame. I bet there are a ton of SUVs and crossovers that could make good use of this kind of thing, possibly even taking the concept a bit further, and integrating a full drop-down tailgate into an SUV’s hatch, so that long items like lumber or rolled up carpets or long long party subs could be carried extending out the back without needing to drive with the whole tailgate open.
This is clever trunking, Renault. Other automakers, you have my permission to rip off this idea at will. I’m happy to provide a note if questioned.
(thanks again, Hans!)