Nissan NV200, Intima, and Round Box

Published: 25 October 2007

So what else did Nissan have at Tokyo beyond the GT-R and Pivo2?

Three other concepts, the best of which was the NV200 van, designed in Nissan’s London design centre. It’s a van just as useful for leisure as business. It’s out of the box thinking – literally. The rear loadbay contains a giant pod – Thunderbird 2 like – that extends out of the back when the vehicle is stationary and rests on a couple of metal legs. On the concept car it was set up for a scuba diver – so there were tanks, flippers, wet suits all carried in shelves in the pod. But the custom-made pod could just as easily suit the requirements of a camper, a builder, a plumber, a surfer, a cyclist, a mobile trader or any other workman, outdoorsman or sportsman.

So is there any room in the NV200 van?

Oh yes. When the 1.6-metre long pod is extended, the rear loadbay of the van is free. The front passenger seat (there are no back seats) can slide back into the load area – for use as a desk chair – and on the Tokyo concept, a folding desk provided writing or laptop space. You could just as easily use the rear end for sleeping. There’s some of the utility that so distinguished the old VW Camper van – remember its pop-up roof to give extra sleeping quarters? ‘The gap between leisure vans and business vans is getting smaller and smaller,’ says designer Stéphane Schwartz. ‘So we have developed a van that is perfect for both fun and work.’

What else is new on the Nissan stand?

Nissan's concept car nearest production was the Intima, which hints at future large and mid-sized production saloons. It’s all flowing forms and soft and luscious cabin materials – all very Japanese – and is a development of current Nissan style language. Expect follow-ups to vehicles such as the US-focused four-door Altima and Maxima to bear more than a passing resemblance.

Anything stupid on the Nissan stand in Tokyo?

The least relevant vehicle was the Round Box. Neither round nor boxy, this is an open-top four-seater aimed at proving a sense of fun for all four occupants – not just the driver. All four individual seats have the same design and offer the same space. So in theory, whether you’re the driver or a back-bencher, you should experience an equal sense of fun and togetherness. It is meant to be a sociable convertible not a sporty convertible. The roof is a three-piece Targa. Power comes from the new 1.6 petrol direct-injection turbo engine mated to a CVT auto box.

By Gavin Green

Contributor-in-chief, former editor, anti-weight campaigner, voice of experience

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