Crossover pioneer Nissan revealed
a new concept car which points to an innovative new future for the marque.
Conceived by designers in Europe and Japan, the Nissan Gripz Concept blends the
ability and practicality of a compact crossover with the excitement and
performance of a sports car.
Infused with an exciting and
adventurous feel, thanks to its radical design and advanced powertrain concept
- the Nissan Gripz Concept is Nissan’s next move as a game changer, and is a
glimpse of how a future compact crossover from the pioneer of the segment might
The Nissan Gripz Concept is
designed as a car with a dual personality; a vehicle that can handle the
day-to-day commute and deliver a genuine adventure at the weekend.
In the same way a cyclist will
use a bike to get to work and then head out on that same machine for an
adrenaline fuelled ride when the working day is over, so too can the driver of
the Nissan Gripz Concept tackle the city streets during the week before
enjoying a drive over a mountain pass on a day off.
Although maintaining a similar
footprint to a compact crossover, the Nissan Gripz Concept has the silhouette
of a sports car with a raised ride height, equipped to conquer more challenging
The result pays homage to one
of Nissan’s first ‘crossovers’ - the iconic Safari Rally-winning Nissan 240Z.
In the 1970s these sports cars were re-engineered using expertise gathered from
Nissan’s 4x4 range to cope with the demanding conditions of the Baja Peninsula,
the open plains of Kenya, Uganda and present day Tanzania. These rally racers
featured a raised ride height, toughened suspension and sported a matt-black
finish for the bonnet and trunk set against a deep red-orange body colour.
The Nissan 240Zs were proof
that sports cars didn’t have to be low to the ground to be fun. The Nissan
Gripz Concept proves this again - incorporating Nissan’s expertise in
crossovers, 4x4s, sports cars, and to bring it fully up to date for the new
generation, electric powertrain prowess.
The Nissan Gripz Concept is
equipped with an EV technology based Series hybrid system ‘Pure Drive e-Power’.
An efficient petrol engine is used to power the electric motor found in the
The powertrain combines
Nissan’s various control technologies from its years of experience developing
EVs. This configuration delivers smooth, swift and linear acceleration in
near-silence, with supreme efficiency. As a result, the Nissan Gripz Concept
offers a smooth, refined and exhilarating driving experience with outstanding
The Nissan Gripz Concept is
seen as a design statement rather than a replacement for an existing model,
although it does feature cues from Nissan’s new ‘emotional geometry’ design language.
The Crossover concept
incorporates four key design elements first seen in Europe on the Nissan Sway,
one of the stars of the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. As with Sway, Gripz features a
V-motion grille, boomerang lamps front and rear, a floating roof and a
kicked-up C pillar.
However, the similarities end
there. While Sway hinted at a possible direction for a compact hatchback, the
Nissan Gripz Concept is quite the different proposition.
“Nissan pioneered the idea of
the compact crossover, and this is reflected in the enormous popularity of
Qashqai and Juke and the resulting growth of the market segment as other
manufacturers play catch-up.”
“While the Nissan Gripz
Concept is not seen as a direct replacement for either of those two iconic
vehicles, it does show the extremes to which the compact crossover can be
pushed,” said Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer.
Taking the high-tech
simplicity – two apparent contradictions – of a racing bicycle as inspiration,
the concept features a carbon frame over which expressive body panels are
placed, like armoured cladding.
Exposed carbon elements spear
through the design, accentuating features such as the boomerang-shape given to
the leading edge of the front door structure. Gripz has four doors – with deep
dihedral front doors that swing out and up when opened, and a pair of
rear-hinged half-doors behind. There is no B-pillar, allowing easy access to
the 2+2 interior.
The front end is dominated by
Nissan’s V-motion grille, mounted low and framed by rectangular lamps housing
high and low beams.
Embedded in the lamps are
forward-facing cameras that record every journey, just as a helmet-cam is used
by cyclists. Using a live feed, adventures through great roads can be beamed
around the world, allowing for friends to follow the car’s progress on their
computer, tablet or smart phone in real time.
lights sit above the lamps, on top of the front fenders and denote the
demarcation line between the matt-black bonnet and the red-orange main body
More matt-black can be found
on the extended wheel arches, the pinched and indented triangular sill – raised
to increase ground clearance – and the A-pillar leading to the floating roof.
The roof features a central glazed panel with bullet grey-coloured composite
panels on either side over the seating areas.
These reduce in width as they
flow towards the rear of the car and blend into the rear lamps, which mirror
the boomerang shape of the front running lights and wrap themselves around the
rear three quarters of the car.
At the rear, a dramatic
truncated matt-black Kamm tail gives the concept a ‘codatronca’ effect while
beneath the tailgate sits a pair of chromed trapezoidal exhaust pipes.
The three-spoke 22-inch wheels
are also inspired by racing bicycles - lightweight yet strong wearing
comparatively thin high-pressure tyres, especially constructed for the concept
by Bridgestone. Red and white graphics found on the sidewalls are replicated on
the car’s steering wheel.
While the exterior was created
in Europe, a dedicated team based in Japan designed the interior. Like the
exterior, functional simplicity is the key to the design.
Again featuring a mix of
matt-grey and the deep red-orange colours, the interior underlines the car’s
Tour de France inspiration with exposed tubes, moulded bucket seats and layered
features echoing the cladding effect found on the exterior.
The seats and centre console
are directly inspired by bicycles, as are the door pulls that are shaped like
saddles from a racing bike. The three-spoke steering wheel, meanwhile,
replicates the car’s road wheels, right down to the special graphics found on
the tyre sidewalls.
Like the Nissan Sway Concept
and recent production cars, the Nissan Gripz Concept has a ‘Gliding
Wing’instrument panel. This elegantly thin design combines strength with
simplicity and perfectly echoes the ethos of the concept.
“What influence this Concept’s
design has on the next crossover generation from Nissan remains to be seen,
though we are keen to gauge public reaction when it appears at the Frankfurt
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