Nissan unveiled the Gripz sports-car-inspired, Juke-sized concept that it says represents a way to lure sports car enthusiasts toward crossovers.
The Gripz is the same length as the Juke subcompact model at 4100mm. The concept "blends the ability and practicality of a compact crossover with the excitement and performance of a sports car," Nissan said a statement.
Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox added in a statement that the Gripz concept “will re-invent the compact crossover segment.”
The Gripz shows Nissan's ideas on how lure sports car enthusiasts toward crossovers. Traditionally the two haven’t converged because the upright nature of crossovers compromises the dynamic balance that makes driving low-slung cars more fun.
“We are the crossover leaders and we are always thinking about what’s the next step,” Nissan Chief Performance Officer Trevor Mann told Automotive News Europe at the auto show here Tuesday. “The market is becoming a lot more congested.”
Mann said the next Juke is “a few years away.”
The Juke has been a key part of the current boom in subcompact SUVs since it was launched in 2010. The bold styling has been a hit with buyers and last year Nissan built 132,000 Jukes at its factory in Sunderland, England. The SUV is also made at Nissan’s factory in Oppama, Japan, for markets outside Europe.
Nissan says the Gripz concept was inspired by the sporty looks and raised suspension of the 1970s Nissan 240Z rally cars. The car also wears the same V-shaped grille seen on the Sway subcompact concept previewed at the Geneva auto show earlier this year. The Sway hints at the new look of the forthcoming Micra.
The exterior of the Gripz was styled at Nissan’s design center in London and the interior in Japan, the automaker said. Along with rally cars, Nissan said the car’s look was inspired by racing bicycles. The door pulls are shaped like racing saddles while the body is described as having a carbon frame, like a lightweight bicycle. Forward facing cameras embedded into the headlights let drivers record each trip.