Nissan is showing some of its edge with its new Gripz crossover concept. The automaker calls it a new breed of sporty aimed at a younger generation and says it’s inspired by classic desert rally cars and racing bicycles. You can certainly see that in its radical design which reminds us of lines you see in a sports car, but with the height of an SUV.
The Gripz, unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, is an EV based on “Pure Drive” e-power (the motor used in the Nissan Leaf) and comes with built-in dashcam cameras among other things, along with an advanced powertrain. Nissan says its “emotional geometry” design language is an example of what future crossovers might look like.
“Nissan pioneered the idea of the compact crossover, and this is reflected in the enormous popularity of Qashqai and JUKE and the resulting growth of the market segment as other manufacturers play catch-up,”said Shiro Nakamura, senior vice president and chief creative officer, Nissan Motor Company, Ltd.“While the Nissan Gripz Concept is not seen as a direct replacement for either of those two iconic vehicles, it does show the extremes to which the compact crossover can be pushed.”
In terms of its design, Nissan says it pays homage to one of Nissan’s first “crossovers” – the iconic Safari Rally-winning Nissan 240Z. In the 1970s, these sports cars were re-engineered using expertise gathered from Nissan’s 4×4 range to cope with the demanding conditions of the Baja Peninsula, the open plains of Kenya, Uganda and present day Tanzania. These rally racers featured a raised ride height, toughened suspension and sported a matt-black finish for the bonnet and trunk set against a deep red-orange body color.
The Nissan 240Zs were proof that sports cars didn’t have to be low to the ground to be fun. The Nissan Gripz Concept proves this again – incorporating Nissan’s expertise in crossovers, 4x4s, sports cars, and to bring it fully up to date for the new generation, electric powertrain prowess.
“What influence this Concept’s design has on the next crossover generation from Nissan remains to be seen, though we are keen to gauge public reaction when it appears at the Frankfurt Show,” said Nakamura.