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Nissan Hi-Cross Concept Debut

The Nissan Hi-Cross Concept gives us a glimpse at the future of Nissan's crossovers.

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What's New

Nissan, like every other carmaker in the world, has relied more and more on crossovers in the past few years. Nissan's main player in the U.S. market and elsewhere is the Murano, a midsized five-passenger family hauler that's solidly mid-pack in terms of price, room, and performance. But it's also been around for a while, and with a new Murano just over the horizon, Nissan is introducing the Hi Cross Concept at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. Take a look at the headlights; very Murano. And the seven-passenger Hi-Cross Concept also addresses an ongoing complaint about Nissan's current crossover: The Murano only seats five. Now, we can't say for certain that this is the next-generation Murano. But if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck....

Who It's For

The Hi-Cross is really for Nissan in a way. It's a "concept," that is, it's made to gauge public reaction to a future product. For example, do you like the new nose? But if it does presage the next-generation Murano, then the production version will be targeted at anybody who thought Nissan's crossover was a perfect fit, but needed more passenger space. Of course, if Nissan is thinking of expanding its Murano to seven passengers, it begs the question: Who is the newly redesigned seven-passenger Nissan Pathfinder crossover for?

Key Features

Besides the speculation and styling, there are a few other factors at play under the skin of the Nissan Hi-Cross Concept.
  • Like pretty much everything these days, the Hi-Cross is a hybrid. Its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is coupled to an electric motor and compact lithium ion battery pack to maximize fuel economy.
  • The transmission is a further evolution of Nissan's continuously variable transmission. While generally we're not fond of this type, we have to admit that Nissan has done well with it.
  • The interior, aside from seating seven, looks nice. Very nice, in fact, and if there's any single thing that makes it from the drawing board to the showroom, it's this new design.

What We Think

We're not quite sure what to make of the Hi-Cross Concept. On one hand, it looks remarkably finished, and we could see it being the next-generation of the Murano, or maybe even a seven-passenger version of the Nissan Rogue. On the other, Nissan insists that it's purely a concept built to explore future ideas. Either way, it sounds like this is the shape of things to come from Nissan crossovers in the future.

Back to Auto Show Coverage: Geneva 2012