Nissan revealed its Hi-Cross Crossover concept design at the LA Auto Show Nov. 28 in Los Angeles.
Right on the heels of the start of production of the all-new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, Nissan gave us a look at what is likely to be the next generation of crossovers for the Nissan brand.
Not only is the design of the Hi-Cross bold and dynamic, it is also purposeful with compact dimensions that do not show the surprising roominess of this concept three-row crossover.
More importantly is the direction of the Hi-Cross power train to become competitively fuel efficient with a new hybrid drivetrain that Nissan has developed for front wheel and four-wheel-drive models.
“Nissan established crossover design leadership from the introduction of the highly original Nissan Murano by exploring new ideas and concepts and implementing them on a production vehicle,” said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. “The Hi-Cross Concept stretches the compact SUV envelope in design and technology, while remaining pure to Nissan’s family adventure vehicle spirit.”
Though the Hi-Cross name reflects the advanced concept’s unambiguous purpose as a traditional Nissan adventure-ready sport utility, the “Hi” also fits the exceptional innovation and excitement promised by the unique crossover design. Built on a 109.4-inch wheelbase with a 183.5-inch overall length, the Hi-Cross Concept offers seven-passenger seating within its compact dimensions thanks to short front and rear overhangs, compact HEV drivetrain and efficient packaging.
The styling combines existing Nissan design cues with new elements including riding high on large 10-spoke 21-inch aluminum-alloy wheels to give it a tall yet muscular stance. At the front it has a characteristic V-shaped Nissan grille set off by distinctive lighting signatures provided by the shapely headlamps. The narrow, deeply tapered LED headlamps combine with the curved hoodline, fully flared fender lines accent the bold character line that extends from the hood down the high-waisted bodyside to the D-pillar.
At the rear, the Hi-Cross Concept has distinctive lighting signatures provided by stylish trapezoidal LED taillamps that echo the headlamp design, along with a sculpted rear hatchback and extended rear roof spoiler. Fog lamps and a deep custom Aurora Green paint treatment complete the dramatic exterior design.
Despite the tight overall dimensions, the roomy interior features three rows of seating for seven occupants with deep, wide front bucket seats, a split fold-down second row bench and a comfortable third row fold-down bench.
The Hi-Cross Concept’s tall, flat roofline gives ample room for all rows. The second and third rows fold down into a large flat floor for carrying cargo.
The Hi-Cross Concept’s T-wing shaped instrument panel offers Fine Vision multi-dimensional gauges and a large central information display, bringing an elevated sense of connection for the driver and front passenger. A sculpted center console completes the T-wing shape and matches the deep-cut, two-tone door panels and elegantly styled steering wheel.
“The Hi-Cross Concept interior design is far more practical than most show car interiors, displaying a more realistic view of what crossover customers are looking for in the real world – style plus efficiency, clever but practical features and an enhanced driving experience,” added Castignetti.
The Hi-Cross Concept advanced hybrid drive train provides the power of a larger 2.5-liter engine with the efficiency, reduced emissions and design flexibility of a smaller 2.0-liter unit.
“The power behind Nissan’s brand philosophy, ‘Innovation that excites,’ comes from our dedication to continuously exploring new ideas,” said Castignetti. “Coupling an electric motor – powered by a Nissan-developed compact lithium-ion battery similar to that utilized in the Nissan LEAF electric vehicle – with a 2.0-liter direct injection gasoline engine is another great example of the smart technology behind every Nissan.”
The Nissan system’s innovative approach to affordability and packaging adopts “one-motor, two clutch” technology. The first of the two clutches is installed between the 2.0-liter engine and the electric motor. It facilitates full decoupling of the gasoline engine when the car is in electric drive and power regeneration modes. The second clutch, located behind the transmission, helps smooth the transition. Decoupling the engine reduces mechanical losses and boosts efficiency of the electric motor. In city driving, for example, the presence of the electric motor and lithium-ion battery allow the engine to be turned off frequently. It can also be disengaged completely with the clutch and energy can be recovered effectively when braking.
This advanced hybrid system is linked to Nissan’s next-generation Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission) which we have already given high marks to based on drives in the new 2013 Nissan Altima. This low-friction CVT design, is also used on the recently introduced 2013 Nissan Pathfinder. It has smaller shaft-diameter pulleys to provide the widest possible ratio coverage for enhanced efficiency.
The hybrid drivetrain also makes extensive use of battery technology developed for the award-winning Nissan LEAF. The high output, fast-charging compact lithium-ion battery, linked to high-level motor control technology, provides acceleration assist when needed and permits downsizing of the gasoline engine for optimum economy and emissions.
“Though just a design exercise today, the Hi-Cross Concept offers an exciting blueprint for a future production Nissan crossover. It’s an idea well worth exploring,” added Castignetti.
We think so too. Nissan is making a powerful statement about the future of crossovers in the market and how Nissan intends to be a segment leader with style and technology that they showed in the Hi-Cross Crossover concept at the LA Auto Show.