Nissan has made a name for itself, recently, by going rogue — introducing radical designs and innovative product placement in profitable conservative segments. Cheekily, it uses synonyms for change for its departures-from-the-norm vehicles
The best examples of recent challenges to the status quo are, not surprisingly, the Rogue (Qashqai in markets outside North America) and the Juke; and now it seems ready to move on to a new segment with the Sway.
“We believe that the Sway continues our tradition of challenging the status quo in market segments by bringing something fresh, distinctive and striking, much as we did with Qashqai and Juke,” said Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President, Design and Chief Creative Officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “With this new concept car for Geneva, we are experimenting to see how Nissan might be able to bring fresh ideas to the compact hatchback segment.”
Likely to end up as the replacement for the sub-compact Micra, the Sway looks ready to give small-car buyers an alternative to the current generation of econo-boxy designs to which they’ve become accustomed.
Unveiled at the recent Geneva Motor Show, the Sway not only offers an edgy alternative to traditional tiny hatchbacks but also serves to push the Nissan design language to the next level, while showcasing its first sports-compact application. It is primarily meant to appeal to European buyers but in today’s cost-sharing economy, it is expected to serve many markets with few changes.
The exterior features a new interpretation on the Nissan V-motion grille and boomerang headlights up front, and the boomerang taillights and twin tailpipes at the rear. The blacked out glass works with a bright A-pillar and roof surround that sweeps around above the windows to create a floating roof impression. The notion of speed is created through sleek body accents and a kicked-up belt line at the C-pillar.
Rear doors are hinged at the rear to negate the need for a B-pillar in order to create a cleaner profile and allow easier entry and exit from the rear seats.
The interior is simple but elegant, with the bold colour scheme to match the exterior treatment. The use of exposed aluminum structural pieces (such as door pulls, seat frames, and even the steering wheel itself) conveys strength and the premium quality of modern clean design. Natural light is brought in through the glass roof, which has a pronounced X structural member.
The instrument panel features just the two basic displays needed by the driver. All other gauges and instruments are displayed on the centre console touch tablet, along with other in-car functions and controls, which can be used by both front seat occupants.
“The Sway underlines how important design is for Nissan in building our brand and driving our growth,” concluded Paul Willcox, Chairman Nissan Europe. “The brand stands for bold, innovative thinking in the European automotive market – indeed around the globe – and our growth ... is led by outstanding new products, which are defined by outstanding design.”