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Nissan Shows Its Hi-Cross Concept, A Big SUV In A Compact Package

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On: Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 10:01AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Shows Its Hi-Cross Concept, A Big SUV In A Compact Package

One of the true kings of the crossover, Nissan debuted yet another crossover at the Geneva Motor Show. This one is a high-riding concept car that Nissan calls the Hi-Cross.

There's a lot of disagreement as to what the new Nissan Hi-Cross concept really is. Nissan calls it both 'one member of the next generation of crossovers and a 'possible expansion of the current Juke-Qashqai-Murano portfolio,' indicating it could be a brand new model. But with the Juke, Rogue, Murano, Pathfinder, X-Trail and Qashqai already establishing a pretty large footprint in the crossover space, it's questionable whether yet another crossover makes any sense.

Nissan also says the Hi-Cross shows a possible new design direction and new design language, so it could just preview some styling coming to the likes of the Murano and Rogue. If so, we like the direction that Nissan is taking.

The Hi-Cross packs seven people inside. While it has more people-hauling capacity than the Murano, it's actually smaller - L x W x H = 183.5 x 72.8 x 65.7 inches compared to the Murano at 189.9 x 74.1 x 67 inches. It's more closely aligned with the Rogue (183.3 x 70.9 x 66.3 inches), so it could make sense as a redesign or replacement. Nissan fits three benches of people with help from a flat roofline, which certainly makes for more headroom than the rear-fading rooflines of its current crossovers.

In terms of new design elements, the Hi-Cross showcases a new pair of headlights, which are much sharper and narrower than Nissan's current crossovers, and a higher, broader belt line that adds a rugged, powerful look. The taillights and grille also showcase new design language.

The Hi-Cross uses a new hybrid powertrain with a 2.0-liter gas engine assisted by an electric motor. According to Nissan, the powertrain provides the power of a 2.5-liter engine but with better fuel economy and emissions numbers. A redesigned CVT transmission increases fuel economy gains by 10 percent. The motor is powered by lithium-ion batteries drawing technology from the Leaf.

Though eye catching, the interior is really just one of those flashy concept interiors built to shine under the show lights. Nissan completely glosses over it in its Hi-Cross press release, saying simply that the "seven-seat cockpit is dominated by a new T-wing shaped dashboard."

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