Can the Nissan Sway do for Micra what Qashqai did for Almera?

Published: 03 March 2015

► New Nissan small-car concept
► Could this do a Qazana?
► Micra-sized, sharp-suited mini 

Quite pointy, isn’t it? This is the Nissan Sway. It’s a concept car, but it’s a potentially quite significant one.

Why does the Nissan Sway matter?

A quick case study: Back in the mid noughties the Nissan Almera was ploughing a dull, sub-par furrow in the lower foothills of the C-segment sales charts. Nissan gambled on an altogether different approach for its replacement – the Qashqai – and nearly a decade on, the right-car-right-time crossover has become a greater sales smash than the company had dared hope.

Fast forward to today, and the current-generation Micra occupies a similarly forgettable position to the old Almera. Unremarkable, vaguely blobby styling and mediocre quality and driving manners have left it an also-ran against Fiesta, Clio et al.

Nissan says the Sway concept is the result of applying the same kind of braver thinking as the Qashqai and Juke to an entry in the European small hatchback market – although they’re referring to taking those cars’ unusual styling as a template, rather than a plan to jack up the ride height of its future superminis.

Although in Nissan’s words the Sway is ‘a glimpse at how a future generation of compact Nissan models might look’, the company isn’t scared to translate its show cars’ styling to production quite faithfully – think of the 2009 Qazana concept which became the Juke.

So, if history repeats itself, this could be our first look at an altogether more exciting future for the Nissan Micra. The timing’s right; as Nissan’s recently embarked on a crusade of new models and overhauls to its existing range, the current-gen Micra’s now one of the oldest models in its line-up and ripe for replacement.

Will the next Nissan Micra really look like the Sway?

Just how much of the Sway’s super-sharp front end (which looks like it might be a bit tricky to get past pedestrian impact legislation) and complex surfaces across the bonnet are production-viable is debatable, let alone that incredible floating roof design.

But those aggressive headlights, boomerang tail-lamps and V-shaped grille almost certainly will make it to the showroom. Nissan has confirmed that future models in various market segments – not just superminis – will take their cues from the Sway.

It’s quite a thing to look at, and not only more dramatic than a current Micra, but more audacious than more or less anything else in the supermini segment too.

If that aggressive stance and razor-edged detailing does make it to production, even in heavily diluted form, it could apply a much needed injection of life to the Micra nameplate – and its sales curve.

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer