Obviously, the design is the main talking point of the concept, exhibiting cues from Nissan’s new “emotional geometry” design language. A collaboration between Nissan Design Europe in London and Nissan Global Design Center in Japan resulted in the final design of the concept.
Four key design elements from the Nissan Sway concept that debuted at this year’s Geneva Motor Show is present on the Gripz as well – a V-motion grille, boomerang lamps at the front and rear, a floating roof and a kicked-up C-pillar.
The V-motion grille dominates the front fascia and is mounted low and framed by rectangular lamps housing high and low beams. Forward-facing cameras are embedded in the lamps to record every journey, similarly to mounting a GoPro onto a helmet.
Viewed from the side, you’ll notice the absence of the vehicle’s B-pillar to allow easy access to the 2+2 interior. Speaking of access, the deep dihedral front doors swing out and up when opened while a pair of rear-hinged half-doors behind. The 22-inch three-spoke wheels are constructed by Bridgestone specifically for the concept, also inspired by racing bicycles.
The rear is comprised of a short matte-black Kamm tail, giving the concept a "codatronca" effect, paired with twin short spoilers. A pair of chromed trapezoidal exhaust pipes are positioned just beneath the tailgate.
Where the Europeans designed the red-orange body coloured exterior, the Nissan’s Japanese design team handled the interior design, featuring a combination of matte-grey and the red-orange colours. The interior underlines the car's Tour de France (racing bicycles) inspiration with exposed tubes and moulded bucket seats.
Further bicycle-inspired designs can be found on the seats, centre console, and door pulls that resemble like saddles. Adopted from the Nissan Sway concept and recent models is the "Gliding Wing" instrument panel, paired to a three-spoke steering wheel.
Powering the concept is an electric vehicle technology based Series hybrid system dubbed “Pure Drive e-Power” that uses a petrol engine to power the electric motor, which is taken straight from the Nissan Leaf.
Nissan say that the inspiration for the Gripz include racing bicycles and classic desert rally cars with the latter squarely directed towards the Safari Rally-winning Nissan 240Z. For a bit of history, the Nissan (or Datsun as it is known back in the day) 240Z rally race car were rugged version of the road-going sports car with a raised ride height and toughened suspension.
Shiro Nakamura, senior vice president and chief creative officer, Nissan Motor Company, Limited says, "While the Nissan Gripz Concept is not seen as a direct replacement for the Juke and Qashqai, it does show the extremes to which the compact crossover can be pushed."
Which bears truth consider the dimensions of the Nissan Gripz when compared to the current Juke and Qashqai:
- Nissan Gripz – Length: 4,100mm; Width: 1,890mm; Height: 1,500mm; Wheelbase: 2,580mm
- Nissan Juke – Length: 4,125mm; Width: 1,765mm; Height: 1,570mm; Wheelbase: 2,530mm
- Nissan Qashqai – Length: 4,370mm; Width: 1,800mm; Height: 1,595mm; Wheelbase: 2,646mm
The best way to look at the Nissan Gripz concept is as a Z-inspired sports car which has been made more rugged. As Nissan puts it, the Gripz is designed as a car with a dual personality – a vehicle that can handle the day-to-day commute and deliver a genuine adventure at the weekend.