The Nissan Sport Concept, which made its public world debut at the 2005 New York International Auto Show, is the latest in a series of dynamic performance/youth concept vehicles following the Nissan Actic and Nissan AZEAL concepts.
The Nissan Sport Concept is a dynamic three-door hatchback with a dramatic four-seat interior. It offers the look and feel of a sports tuner car, yet is conceived as an affordable, attainable vehicle for buyers entering the new car market for the first time.
“The story behind the development of the Sport Concept, AZEAL and Actic is that Nissan is thinking big about the small car segment,” said Jack Collins, vice president, product planning, Nissan North America, Inc. “With these three design explorations, we’re focusing on how we can bring Nissan’s heritage of innovation, sportiness and driving pleasure to a category of vehicles that traditionally lack design excitement and strong visual appeal.”
“The Nissan Sport Concept, like the AZEAL and Actic before it, is first and foremost a showcase of future thinking, yet it is also a car that would be right at home in Nissan showrooms in the not-too-distant future,” said Collins. “Nissan has a strong global lineup of compact enthusiast vehicles, including the March, Cube, Tiida, Note and Sentra SE-R, and, in the Nissan 350Z, one of the world’s most desirable sports cars. The new Nissan Sport Concept fuses the best of both worlds.”
The exterior of the Nissan Sport Concept combines shapes and forms that are both geometrical and mechanical in feel, creating a sense of acceleration and kinetic energy. The dynamic fender forms give the special Pearl White-painted body a look of pure, almost animal performance. Its athletic roofline is marked by a large rear roof-mounted spoiler, while its bold surface composition, robust fender character lines, deep front spoiler and side sills, and large wheels and tires provide an animated, video game-like stance.
The body construction utilizes both metal and carbon-fiber composite components. The 20-inch six-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels feature a machined and lustrous paint finish surface treatment. The Sport Concept’s headlights and rear combination lights utilize small lamps with multi-layered reflectors.
“The Nissan Sport Concept may be small dimensionally but it is large in its dynamic energy – aggressive, highly functional and definitely street-wise,” said Collins.
The interior of the Sport Concept is designed to fit four adults comfortably, yet with an emphasis on the front two seats – with every element of the cockpit existing to enhance the vehicle’s engaging driving experience.
The deep, body-wrapping front bucket seats are covered in Wolf Gray leather with double-layered pearl suede inserts and feature formed head restraints and integrated 4-point seat belts. The instrument panel includes integrated tachometer and gauges and a distinctive center cluster. The Sport Concept interior also offers a three-spoke steering wheel and solid-appearance center console with the emergency brake lever integrated into the console lid.
Independent rear seats, also covered in a combination of leather and suede, offer true four-place seating with integrated 4-point seat belts. Other rear passenger features include center console-mounted support grips and a large blue-cone speaker and woofer located in the rear parcel shelf.
“The Nissan Sport Concept is as close to performance art for the street as you can get – modern, cool, ready to run,” said Collins. “When it comes to the next wave of small car design, a SHIFT_ is about to be made. And Nissan is making it.”
The Nissan AZEAL Coupe Concept, which debuted at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2005, is a fresh interpretation of the classic compact sports coupe - an affordable, performance-oriented entry-level coupe with the style and personality to match the lifestyles of its young, active target buyers. The AZEAL design exercise is the first concept car created by Nissan Design America’s (NDA) new studio in Farmington Hills, Mich.
AZEAL features an aggressive body design with wide fender flares, short overhangs and a sharply sloped rear roofline with integrated active airfoil. The interior combines a dark, industrial metallic instrument panel appearance contrasted by Wasabi Chartreuse fabric seats and an open greenhouse with glass-panel roof. It rides on 19-inch wheels and tires.
The Nissan Actic, shown for the first time at the 2004 North American International Auto Show, is a "content rich" design exercise created by the original NDA studio in La Jolla, Calif. It combines a simple, confident exterior form with flexible, modular seating and a unique “digital canvas” interior.
Actic makes a visionary statement from Nissan about how vehicle owners will approach technology in the future. In place of traditional content-heavy vehicle control systems that become outdated immediately, Actic’s handheld "key fob"-based Information Technology (IT) system allows the user to “grow” the interface with infinite flexibility and updateability.
Other Actic innovations include dual sliding side doors, a "cross trainer"-style wheel and tire design (patent pending) with tread-wrapped 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and a versatile matching trailer with inflatable walls that converts to a comfortable sleeping space for three.