Drive Away 2Day

2007 Nissan Round Box : Concept Cars

There are no stools or kegs to be found in the Round Box concept, but the official line from Nissan is that the Tokyo auto show concept's interior design was "inspired by the lively atmosphere of a sports bar...an enjoyable, stress-free space where friends can experience a sense of togetherness."

For promoting togetherness, the Round Box can accommodate four on seats made of a bench-like bottom half with individual bucket backs. It's been a while since we've heard bench seats pitched as a purposeful feature, but Nissan claims they "create a sense of oneness with adjacent passengers." If the idea here is sidling up close to your sweetie on a nighttime cruise, then it seems a bit at odds with the sports-bar idea.

Furthering the sports-bar theme, the Round Box features a navigation system dubbed "Play Catch," the idea being that passengers and the driver can "play catch" by passing information back and forth. Using the large central info screen, passengers can search for a location—a vineyard, for example—and once it has been located, pass the destination on to the driver's navigation display.

Seems to us that Nissan missed a great opportunity to nail the sports-bar theme by making Photo Hunt available on the larger screen (and scattering peanut shells on the floorboards), but allowing passengers to search for and enter destinations on the fly sounds far better than the functionality lockouts most current nav systems use when the vehicle is in motion.

The Round Box draws its name from the shapes used to detail the rest of the interior, forms that Ford might call "squircles." Jury's still out on which is the better term. We're leaning toward Round Box.

That same jury is way out on what to make of the apparently Rorschach-designed steering wheel. Ask 45 people what it looks like, and you'll get 42 different answers, two debilitating headaches, and one sobbing mess. A spacecraft. A sea creature. A renaissance mask. A frog. Your parents walking through a crowded mall when you were four years old and had stains on your jeans from a Fudgesicle that had melted all over the back seat of Dad's new station wagon. Jesse James's welding goggles.

While passengers are enjoying the festive atmosphere of a sports bar and diagnosing one another's various manias and phobias, Nissan says, "Simultaneously, they can enjoy thrilling excitement like being on a roller coaster without any risk involved."

Thrills are served equally by a turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder and small windows at the base of the leading edge of the doors to provide a unique glimpse of the pavement flashing beneath your feet.

Not much about the Round Box has a chance to see production, but the concept does show that Nissan is experimenting with direct injection and turbocharging and that Japanese sports bars are not really at all similar to those in the U.S.


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Sources : 2007 Nissan Round Box Concept Photo | 2007 Nissan Round Box Concept Article | 2007 Nissan Round Box Concept Interior Photo | 2007 Nissan Round Box Concept Rear Photo

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