Nissan Concept 20-23: an electric hot hatch to celebrate 20 years of European design – and preview the next Micra | CAR Magazine

Nissan Concept 20-23: an electric hot hatch to celebrate 20 years of European design – and preview the next Micra

Published: 25 September 2023 Updated: 26 September 2023

► Nissan Concept 20-23 revealed in London
► Celebrating 20 years of Nissan’s EU design HQ
► Electric three-door hatch with lots of aero

You’re looking at the Nissan Concept 20-23, a new electric project designed to celebrate two decades of the brand’s European design office – as well as giving a sneak preview of the next-gen electric Nissan Micra.

Unveiled opposite Nissan Design Europe (NDE) in London by company’s President and CEO Makoto Uchida, the new concept takes inspiration from Nissan’s electric Formula E program – as well as its propensity for penning striking hatchbacks. 

What is it? 

As you’d expect from 2023, the new concept has been described by Nissan as both ‘sporty’ and ‘urban,’ and was drawn up by a cohort of the NDE that involved some younger members. The brief was to create a car that’d be fun to drive on the streets where they work – wishful thinking as any Londoner can tell you. 

‘The young team here at NDE was given a simple brief: design a fun electric city car that you’d like to drive every day in London,’ said Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s senior vice president for global design. ‘The 20-23 Concept that they designed is a compact hatchback which is strongly influenced by the online racing world. I love the story it tells about how the worlds of modern city living, online gaming and zero emissions mobility intersect.’

It looks quick…

Still, the Concept 20-23 certainly plays the part of neo-city hot hatch. A compact three-door hatch, combined with a rally car, it’s an EV covered with aero furniture and even features an air intake on the roof. Of course, the roof scoop is just there to ventilate the interior – there’s no mid-mounted V6 or turbocharged inline-four to feed. 

The new Nissan 20_30 concept car rear

At the front, Nissan has given the car what it calls a friendly appearance, with circular LED lights with integrated indicators. The same friendly LED light design is found at the rear, too. Everywhere else though, the 20-23 is aggressive as you’d expect from a sporty hatch. 

The Concept 20-23 has an ambitious amount of aero for a car that’s designed to drive in London: a front spoiler channels air through the brake ducts and then out again, while deep skirts and flared wheel arches give the Nissan concept some serious road presence. NDE has also added Porsche GT3-style louvres above the wheel arches to dissipate pressure in the wheel bays.

The Concept 20-23 also features rear side vents to cool the brakes, and the whole thing is finished off with a huge, single-piece spoiler that grows from the roof rail.

The result is a spoiler that doesn’t actually obscure the view out the back of the 20-23, which is particularly useful for a city car. 

What about the inside? 

NDE hasn’t furnished the inside of the concept, but Nissan’s designers have put forward an idea of what the cabin could look like. As you’d expect from a concept, the 20-23 has scissor doors which open to reveal a suitably sporty, futuristic interior. 

The theme is bare functionality, so there’s a brace bar and two bucket seats, while a super-long steering column adds to the Group B and racecar feel of the Concept 20-23. Front and centre is rectangular steering wheel, featuring switches and knobs that’d control every parameter of the car’s electric powertrain.

What about the name? 

The Concept 20-23 is a neat play on English and Japanese; the first half of its name references twenty years of Nissan design in Europe, and the rest is a nod to the company’s traditional number 2 (ni) 3 (san) as well as the current year. 

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's Digital Editor, F1 and sim-racing enthusiast. Partial to clever tech and sports bikes