Fiat is showing a new 'crossover' concept car based on its sized-for-Europe Idea minivan model at the Geneva motor show next week, a year after the original model line made its world debut.

The Idea 5terre is described as "a show car whose most distinctive feature is its 'transversality' ". The model is said to combine the functional looks of an SUV (sport utility vehicle) with the modularity and internal flexibility of an MPV (for 'multipurpose vehicle'; the European equivalent of 'minivan'). That sounds pretty much like the recipe the US Big Three use to mix up the new wagon/minivan/SUV model category called 'crossover' (e.g. Chrysler's Pacifica).

Fiat adds that the 5terre "forges a link between the elegant line and personality of an off-road vehicle, and styling and design trends which are developing interesting solutions for the future, and particularly for the SUV and MPV segments".

Whatever. The model name is said to reflect the designers' striving for balance between form and content - the Cinque Terre is a well-known and allegedly famous Mediterranean coastal area.

Derived from the basic Idea model, the 5terre show car 'prototype' has higher ground clearance and distinctive two-tone gold paint and a mild facelift front and rear compared with the production models.

It also has extra glass, including an upper pane that extends the windscreen onto the roof.

The interior features natural materials such as woven coconut matting floor and luggage compartment linings. The upper lid of the dashtop bin is treated with a moss effect that is soft and porous to the touch, while all the controls have a fake metallic finish intended to resemble molten steel.

Upholstery is a soft, marble-effect material called 'maktub' - an alcantara ultra-microfibre specially developed for the car. Dove grey leather inserts are used for the head-restraints and seat bolsters.