Lack of cohesion manages to create weird, yet uninspiring design study

Nissan just unveiled a brand-new SUV concept at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, and all told, it’s a weird one – and not in a good way, either. Nissan calls it the Xmotion, which, for some reason, is pronounced “cross motion” (don’t ask, because we don’t know why either), and says it “fuses Japanese culture and traditional craftsmanship with American-style utility and new-generation Nissan Intelligent Mobility technology.” But like eating a cheese burger with chopsticks while browsing your smartphone, it just doesn’t work.

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New Nissan Xmotion Concept Is A Mess Of Different Ideas
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The new Nissan Xmotion could very well preview a slightly larger Rogue stuffed with additional seating capacity, but for now, it's just a design study

The new Nissan Xmotion could very well preview a slightly larger Rogue stuffed with additional seating capacity, but for now, it’s just a design study. And thank goodness for that, because this thing is, uh, not great. We think it’s an absolute mess, with absolutely zero cohesion whatsoever. It somehow creates a minimalist approach that’s way too busy, and none of the ideas presented actually find a real home.

You ever find yourself in a meeting where there’s about a hundred different proposals flying around at once, but you just know exactly none of them will ever get done? The Xmotion is like the physical embodiment of that.

The most offensive part is what’s going on in the interior, where Nissan tries to combine new and old elements, but the end result is something that looks like weird, futuristic outdoor furniture. The seats in particular give us this vibe, with the mesh inserts around the shoulder area making us think about what the Jetsons would use for Sunday brunch. Then there’s the center console and dash, which simply looks unfinished. Yeah, there’s a bit of background on why it looks the way it does (Nissan says “the Xmotion concept’s instrument panel design is a modern interpretation of traditional kigumi wood joinery”), but against all the other stuff going on in the cabin, it stands out like a sore thumb.

New Nissan Xmotion Concept Is A Mess Of Different Ideas
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You ever find yourself in a meeting where there's about a hundred different proposals flying around at once, but you just know exactly none of them will ever get done? The Xmotion is like the physical embodiment of that.

Then there’s what appears to be a koi pond in the center console, with digital fishes swimming around in the screen background, and some kind of spinning top thing that was never properly explained (we’re guessing it’s for infotainment inputs?). Nissan says the Xmotion uses a six-passenger interior with three rows, or a 4+2 layout, but we can’t help but wonder what that rear space would offer beyond some cramped legs and a headache.

A variety of graphical interfaces are used for further inputs, with seven digital screens total inside, plus gesture control and control via “eye movements” – two more ideas that seem tacked on. Oh, and the concept also includes autonomous driving technologies, because of course it does.

New Nissan Xmotion Concept Is A Mess Of Different Ideas Exterior Interior
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The Xmotion's exterior isn't quite as bad as the interior, but it's still pretty messy

The Xmotion’s exterior isn’t quite as bad as the interior, but it’s still pretty messy. In the corners, there’s an all-terrain tire design with the rubber “physically laminated over the 21-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.” We can’t help but ask – why? There’s also a “retractable” rooftop box (where does it retract to, and for what purpose?), and a variety of carbon fiber trim bits that clutter an otherwise simple design.

That said, there are a few interesting components to pick out. For starters, the color ain’t bad (Nissan calls it pewter), while we also like the evolution of the V-motion grille in the fascia. The side intakes do an okay job complementing the look, as do the thin, check-mark-shaped headlights housings. In back is a simplified rear end and holographic taillights.

New Nissan Xmotion Concept Is A Mess Of Different Ideas Exterior Interior
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In all honesty, I feel like I need a nap after looking through pictures of this thing. There’s a lot of stuff going on, but it also feels very thin and disconnected, with no cohesion whatsoever. The phrase “mile wide, inch deep” comes to mind. Is it an off-roader? A tech powerhouse? A luxury suite? Maybe a performance SUV? Maybe it’s trying to be all of the above, but in the end, it feels like none of them.

References

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