Nissan redefines crossover segment with Resonance concept

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The principle of V-motion has already been seen in several Nissan models. But with the Nissan Resonance concept, Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., “made it more obvious and large” to make more of a statement. (Matthew Monaghan)


Featuring bold aerodynamic styling and a fuel-efficient hybrid-electric powertrain, the Nissan Resonance concept made its world debut Jan. 15 at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

“You’ve got some of the design language that could find its way into the future Murano, but you’ve also got some DNA cues,” said Andy Palmer, Vice President of Global Product Planning, Nissan. “This [beltline] cue is something you see in many of the designs we are working on. The V-shaped grille and the way it leads up into the hood is clearly a part of our language, as is the boomerang headlamps.”

A unique exterior feature of the Resonance is the roof's "floating" design created with the use of the thin, steeply raked A-pillars, a large full-length glass panel, and flowing D-pillar design.

“Basically what we are looking for there is some standout design that differentiates us from everybody else,” Palmer said. “Something you could look at in an instant on the side view and say that’s a Nissan.”

The floating roof was also intended to give the interior of the vehicle a much more airy feel.

“It takes away the claustrophobic feel, and particularly with the panoramic roof you also have the opportunity to make it that much more airy,” Palmer said. “What we are trying to create is a lounge-type of environment, nice and airy and roomy. If you’re buying an SUV, you expect it to be roomy anyway so we’re making sure that design theme carries through.”

The four-wheel-drive hybrid-electric vehicle is powered by a 2.5-L DOHC internal-combustion engine and electric motor using one-motor/two-clutch hybrid technology. A next-generation Xtronic continuously variable transmission is also used.

The first consideration in a hybrid, "particularly in an SUV where you’re looking for interior space," is the location of the battery, Palmer said, pointing to the space in the center console between the seats for the lithium-ion battery pack. “Whether that can practically be brought through into production remains to be seen. It’s relatively redundant space; it doesn’t take anything away from the passenger.”

The interior was designed to be welcoming yet exclusive and high-tech yet premium, with light leather and premium-stitched seats. Details include sequential welcome lighting and a natural wood pattern. The instrument panel floats on a console, and technology is graphically layered to give a holographic experience. Visual depth is used to separate information in order of importance.

Resonance was created by Nissan Design America, San Diego, CA, under the direction of Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

“We did not want to sacrifice any practicality,” Nakamura said. “Murano is a very practical car, very roomy. We are balancing innovative design with a reasonably practical interior. Particularly, with the Resonance, we pushed very hard because Murano has to be innovative. I am very happy with this result.”

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