Nissan Hi-Cross Concept at 2012 Geneva motor showWed, 07 Mar 2012
Nissan made constant reference to being ‘owners’ of the crossover concept during their Geneva press conference. From the Murano to the Juke, via the Qashqai, rugged urban transport has been one of its big success stories (alright, maybe not the Murano).
The seven-seater Hi-Cross Concept, premiered here, showcases some of the styling ideas that Nissan could filter through to future production models and also features a hybrid drivetrain and new version of its CVT gearbox.What’s in a name?
Even more so than full production models, car manufacturers love to attach as much significance to a vehicle’s name as it can. So, ‘Hi’ here means high-riding, high innovation, high excitement and high extended value. I think you can work out what the Cross stands for yourself, hmmm?It’s a bit of a softened-up Juke isn’t it?
Perhaps, although there’s also hints of the Infiniti FX range in that pronounced arched bonnet along the flanks. Is it a bit Mazda CX-5 as well? That V-shape front grille is perhaps the most likely cue to make it through to future models, while those shallow triangular headlamps are a first on a Nissan – standing next to it, they’re somewhat Evoque-like.
From the outside, you wouldn’t guess that the Hi-Cross is a seven-seater would you, but there’s a compact pair of seats behind the C pillar. Up front, there’s a ‘T-Wing’ shaped dashboard, with a large display dominating its centre.
Concepts are supposed to be clever – so what does the Hi-Cross have to crow about?
Design aside, that will be the hybrid HEV powertrain, which uses advancements gleaned from the LEAF. Coupling up a 2.0-litre direct injection engine to a compact lithium-ion battery will give you, says Nissan, the performance of a 2.5-litre, yet with all the emission and economy benefits of the smaller unit. The battery is charged by using regenerative braking.
Nissan continues to be a flag-bearer for CVTs, and the Hi-Cross uses a revised version of the compact Xtronic unit, which sends power to all four wheels.
By Stephen Worthy