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Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge

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Nissan’s Xmotion SUV is rugged on the streets, zen in the sheets

A quixotic shot in the arm during a sleepy auto show

The Detroit Auto Show was pretty light on concept cars this year, which maybe is a sign that automakers are more interested in showcasing the cars they actually intend to build than impressing people with their visions of the future. Which, as someone who gets a huge kick out of outlandish futuristic concepts, was incredibly disappointing to me.

Thank god Nissan was here with a totally silly-looking, totally weird concept in the form of the Xmotion SUV crossover. With its American counterparts caught in a truck-measuring contest, the Japanese automaker threw a bunch of ideas together and called it a concept. It doesn’t totally work, but it was the quixotic shot in the arm that I needed to keep me awake during an unusually somnolent auto show.

Perched on its “mechanical tool-inspired wheels” that wouldn’t look out of place on a Tonka truck, the Xmotion looks outwardly aggressive, but it has the soul of a poet. This may not be your impression of a car with seven (!!) digital screens inside, but Nissan insists it followed traditional Japanese designs when building the Xmotion. According to the company, the floor represents a river, with a wooden console connecting the front seats and the middle row, representing a bridge.

I know, your eyes just fell into the back of your skull they rolled so hard. Up close, the car did have that shabby-concept feel, where everything seems like it’s made of toothpicks and construction paper. Also, it uses way too much red. Super harsh on the eyes.

The Xmotion is the brainchild of Nissan’s new chief designer, Alfonso Albaisa, who also shepherded Infiniti’s gorgeous Q Inspiration concept. So my thanks to Señor Albaisa for bringing the strange to Detroit this year.

Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge

Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
Photo by Sean O'Kane / The Verge
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