“Why can’t a minivan look as good as a sports car?” lead exterior designer Joel Baek asked, then answered pointing to the Nissan Forum. The concept vehicle that foreshadows Nissan’s next evolution in family transportation was revealed to the press a few weeks before the 2008 North American International Auto Show at Nissan’s technical center in Farmington Hills, MI.
The Forum has no B-pillars and features a flexible interior with a motor-controlled swiveling second-row seat that can rotate 180° to face the three-passenger third-row seat, or rotate 90° to face either of the trackless sliding doors. Seat rotation prompts the center console to lift up and the two seat halves to come together. At the same time, the two front seats move forward to provide rotation clearance.
Forum’s cabin also has “quirky things, like a ‘time-out’ switch,” said Bruce Campbell, Vice President of Nissan Design America. The time-out button mutes the audio so the vehicle’s front occupants can talk with the vehicle’s rear passengers via the communications system.
The minivan’s Bose media system showcases an outdoor-listening audio arrangement known as Freespace. The setup includes the packaging of three mid-range speakers and four 1.5-in tweeters at the trailing edge of each sliding door (facing rearward).
“This is the first time that Freespace has been in a show vehicle. It’s not available in a production vehicle application as this is still a research-concept,” said Hiroshi Miyazaki, Customer Manager at Bose.