Forget air conditioning, this ultra-budget Kenyan SUV doesn’t even have windows

If there’s one automotive niche that’s suffered in the 21st century, it’s “people’s cars,” vehicles designed as basic, reliable transportation for the masses.

Compare a new MINI Cooper or Volkswagen Beetle to its ancestor, and its apparent how far these cars have come from that ideal. Yet there’s a new company that hopes to get back to basics.

Kenya’s Mobius Motors has secured $50 million in funding from the Pan-African Investment Company to build the Mobius II, a no-nonsense SUV it’s had on the drawing boards for the past two years.

This is a vehicle that makes a Land Rover Defender look like a Rolls-Royce. Its unadorned bodywork does without windows, and there’s no air conditioning for the eight-seat interior.

Under the hood is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces a mere 86 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque, enough to get the 2,805-pound Mobius II up to 75 mph. However, the tubular-framed SUV does have nine inches of ground clearance, and a cargo capacity of 1,375 pounds.

All of this will cost around $10,000 when the Mobius II goes into production. In Kenya, that’s about one-third the price of a new Toyota Corolla.

The recent investment will cover an initial production run of 50 vehicles and help Mobius set up a distribution network in its home country. The company plans to launch a successor model, the Mobius III, in 2016.

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