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Nissan Waltzes Into Detroit With Self-Driving Xmotion Concept

Concepts / 8 Comments

When East meets West with a silicon handshake.

The stonking 5.6-liter V8 in the Nissan Armada isn't exactly the first power plant you think of when someone says the word "modern," but that doesn't mean that the Japanese automaker isn't itching to try something new. While it may not be production-ready, Nissan chose the 2018 Detroit auto show as the platform on which to unveil the Xmotion Concept, a three-row, six-passenger SUV from the future that combines forward-thinking looks with the dimensions of the Xterra.

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The idea behind the Xmotion is to blend Japanese culture—which the interior is steeped in—with American tastes for utility vehicles, which are clearly projected on the exterior. The end result was to experiment with what would happen if intelligent design got rugged. Contributing to the mix and match of philosophies is a power stance brought about by tall proportions, large wheel arches, short overhangs with wheels placed far apart from one another, sleek sheetmetal painted to shine, and a purposeful front end that enlarges Nissan's V-Motion grille to provide muscle but uses LEDs to thin the boomerang headlights.

While 21-inch wheels, suicide doors, and a retractable roof box may be production impracticalities, they give the Xmotion the spunk it needs to really pop. The interior is the place where designers were able to borrow inspiration from a Japanese landscape and install visual comparisons to a river, aspects that help keep drivers calm when the 4+2 layout sees a bottom in each of those six seats. To achieve that end, materials are considered as important as the way in which they're laid out. Traditional kigumi wood underpins the dashboard and makes its way to the rear, looking like a piece of modern art. As beautiful as it is, a Japanese landscape would never be complete without technology.

That's why Nissan fit seven digital screens into the Xmotion, three standing in as the main displays and left and right-end screens that help stretch the width of the instrument panel. A "digital room mirror" counts as the sixth screen while a center console display brings the total screen count to seven. Because this is a concept and not a vehicle developed with regulations in mind, occupants can control the screens using eye movements and voice command systems while comfortably nestled into mesh seats. "We envision the Xmotion concept to be a highly functional SUV that can be driven every day, yet can take the owners and friends to a national park or recreation area on a whim," said Alfonso Albaisa, senior VP of global design at Nissan.

Judge this concept car for yourself with Nissan's own promo video and don't complain by a future that seems to be coming around because you've been warned.