Nissan Xmotion concept: techy six-seater SUV unveiled in Detroit

Published: 15 January 2018

► Seats six and packed with autonomous tech
► Revealed at the 2018 Detroit motor show
► Augmented reality dash first shown on Tokyo IMx concept

How do you follow up a crossover as successful as the Qashqai? If you’re Nissan, you unveil the Xmotion concept (pronounced 'Cross-motion'). It's an all-new SUV-type concept with six seats – in three rows – and all the autonomous kit you'd expect in a 2018 concept car that's never heading for production.

Unveiled at the Detroit motor show, Nissan says the new concept signals the future of the brand’s design. On the surface, at least, the new Nissan is clearly a step forward in design compared to what we’ve seen before.

While the new concept features a similar look to the new Nissan Leaf, the rest of the Xmotion is little bolder, more squared and angular than we’re used to. For example, the V-motion grille – something that features on everything from the Qashqai to the GT-R – has evolved, and now looks far subtler.

'The rugged and powerful side of Nissan'

In the Xmotion concept, we explored the more rugged and powerful side of Nissan Intelligent Mobility,’ said Alfonso Albaisa (pictured below with the car), senior vice president of global design at Nissan.

‘Bold and powerful forms and proportions are, upon closer inspection, contrasted with aspects of traditional Japanese craftsmanship expressed in a contemporary way,’ is how he describes the company's latest take on the family crossover.

Nissan Xmotion

On the inside, the Xmotion gets a little more concept-like, and Nissan says it’s designed to echo a traditional Japanese landscape. That means the floor of the Xmotion is a river, the centre console acts as a bridge – and the main console of the car uses a joinery technique usually found in Japanese temples and shrines.

Screens galore in the Nissan Xmotion

Apparently, the entire interior of the car is like a bone structure, giving a sense of strength and trust. Either way, and it certainly sets apart the Xmotion from the rest of the Nissan range.

As you’d expect from a concept car, the Xmotion is awash with tech, too. Nissan has put a total of seven screens in the new Xmotion. Three displays take up the centre portion of the instrument panel, while a further two on the left and right add up to five. Throw in what Nissan’s calling a ‘digital room mirror’ and a centre console screen, to make seven.

It's a similar set-up (that's been evolved in an interesting way – read on to see how) to the augmented reality dashboard we were shown in action in the IMx concept, revealed at the 2017 Tokyo motor show.

Nissan Xmotion

Nissan Xmotion: why you should care

You should when Nissan comes up with systems like this: It comes with fingerprint authentication, which is used to start the Xmotion concept. That's not so controversial. However, it gets better – when the driver touches the top of the console, an opening sequence kicks in awakening the car's virtual personal assistant.

Your personal assistant takes the shape of a koi carp. The koi jumps into the main screen in autonomous drive mode, and will pick up other interesting snippets of information about your journey along the way. Nissan says the koi connects you with the car most effectively. Hmm.

The Xmotion isn’t going into production any time soon, but its bold external design, a focus on engaging interiors, and space for six adults, bode well for the future. It could be a sign that Nissan is ready to make the Qashqai a more interesting place, in which to spend your time. We'll wonder if the koi carp will make the cut into production?

By Keith Adams

Devout classic Citroen enthusiast, walking car encyclopedia, and long-time contributor to CAR