Shape of a future British-built Nissan?

  • 18-Mar-2009 12:14 EDT

Qazana's compact crossover concept is inspired by beach buggies and motorcycles. (Newspress)

Concept or preview? That was the question posed by Nissan in displaying the Qazana concept at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show. Nissan has already stated that a small crossover model will be built at its Sunderland plant in the UK to replace the Micra, and there was a strong hint that we should expect the production model to be Qazana-based.

Since the company also revealed its NV200 minivan in production form at Geneva, Qazana buyers might expect a much more conservative design for the production model, if the NV200 is a suitable yardstick.

The NV200 concept has been shown extensively at European shows, and the finished item is a more conservative design. Perhaps that is not a surprise for a vehicle that will be Nissan’s replacement European small light commercial vehicle.

For the Qazana, the focus was firmly on the design. Apart from a reference to all-wheel drive, Nissan was not talking driveline.

The concept is the work of Nissan Design Europe based in London. According to Atsushi Maeda, Studio Chief Designer, the design team “realized this image with the motif of a modern-day beach buggy and four-seat motorbike.” The Qazana sits on a wheelbase of 2530 mm (99.6 in) and measures 4060 mm (159.8 in) long, 1570 mm (61.8 in) tall, and 1780 mm (70.1 in) wide with short overhangs front and rear.

Taking another design cue from the Nissan Navara King Cab pickup, the Qazana’s two-door appearance conceals rear-hinged rear doors and no B-pillar. The doors are all electrically operated and the rear side doors can only be operated when the front doors are open. The result provides better access to the rear seats than a more conventional design.

Above the doors, the cant rails are more or less straight, while the roof contains a pair of slender glass inserts running the length of the roof to admit more ambient light. Daytime running lights are mounted high on the wings with headlamps set into the deep front fender.

Although the front grille echoes the design of the current Nissan range, the one-piece acrylic molding is a dummy grille, and cooling air is admitted through the dark molding below the bumper containing a number of large holes. Transparent acrylic moldings are used for the door mirrors.

Inside, lightweight carbon fiber is used for the seat structure, visible in places through the leather covering. A mesh fabric is used for the center section of the seat backs. Like other Geneva concepts, the Qazana’s seats are suspended from the center console. A large central touch screen carries a range of information from navigation to the four-wheel-drive system and air-conditioning.

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