Nissan at the Paris motor show 2008

Published: 02 October 2008 Updated: 26 January 2015

A genuine (and exciting) surprise from Nissan in the shape of its Nuvu concept car. This cool little city car’s name literally translates as ‘new view’ and it’s Nissan’s view of urban transportation in 2015. Think of it as the company’s electric rival to the Toyota iQ.

Also on the Nissan stand is the new Pixo, a city car that is going into production – UK sales start in spring 2009. Looks like Nissan is going green to help offset luxury sister brand Infiniti arriving in Europe with a slew of petrol V6s and V8s…

Tell me more about the Nissan Nuvu

It’s tiny, at less than three metes long – a Fiat 500 is 3546mm in length – but there’s still room inside for three. There’s the driver, then one offset passenger seat behind, plus a third occasional perch opposite that where the dashboard would usually be. But having a third passenger by your offside B-pillar is surely unnerving and not going to do much for blindspots…

And if that’s not enough there’s a big ‘tree trunk’ in the boot. This acts as a conduit for the dozen or so electric panels in the glass roof. Many of the cabin materials are also either recycled or made from organic materials and because this vehicle is designed for cities the Nuvu is electric. That means zero tailpipe emissions. No, the Nuvu’s not Nissan’s 2010 electric car, but this concept features the same technology, we hear.

Put simply, the Nuvu is just that. This is a funky little concept, without too many wacky touches, and we’d love to see it in production, with or without the tree growing out of it.

What else is new on the Nissan stand?

The Pixo, which I keep calling the Pingu. But this isn’t a cheeky young penguin; it’s an Indian-built city car. Based on the Suzuki Alto, the initial press shots made it seem drab, but in the metal it’s little better.

Underneath that boring skin, you’ll find a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine that should keep CO2 emissions below 110g/km. And while it’s pretty much the same size as a Fiat 500, expect the Indian-built Pixo to come in at under £7k, a grand less than the Italian.

Elsewhere on the Nissan stand you’ll find the revised Note, which doesn’t look especially different to these eyes. But it’s still good to look at, and spacious, while the 1.5-litre diesel now dips down to 119g/km. The tweaked Note is also the first car to get Nissan’s new multimedia Connect system.

Also on display are Nissan’s latest SUVs, the elongated Qashqai+2 and the Euro-spec Murano.

CAR’s verdict: Nissan at the Paris motor show 2008

An easy full marks for Nissan. There’s a genuinely cool and exciting concept – that does without the wackiness of the Pixo2 – plus a simple, clean and straightforward city car. Very appropriate cars in the current economic climate, and that’s what helps to make them even more exciting. Well done Nissan. And if you don’t care about that lot, come see the GT-R.

CAR’s Nissan show score: 5/5

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Paris motor show 2008


By Ben Pulman

Ex-CAR editor-at-large