Nissan rethinks the compact hatchback: Introducing the Sway Concept

Innovative design and product planning gave birth to the Qashqai and Juke, two of the biggest automotive success stories in recent years. Now the company has applied the same radical thinking to one of the most important sectors of the market: the compact hatchback.

Unveiled at the Geneva Show, the Sway is a glimpse at how a future generation of compact Nissan models might look if the company’s striking new design language was applied to a European hatchback. It is a concept car designed especially to appeal to European tastes: it is seen as emotional, edgy and exciting.

Nissan SWAY Concept front

Nissan SWAY Concept front

Sway has been designed to shake up the compact hatchback segment, traditionally a conservative sector of the market. With its swooping lines, striking nose, elegantly simple interior and bold use of sophisticated colors, the concept is a daring and emotional design.

The exterior, meanwhile, blends four highly distinctive elements – the V-motion grille, floating roof, boomerang lamps and kicked-up C-pillar – to shape a new design signature that has already been seen on the Nissan Lannia Concept that was presented last year in Beijing at Auto China 2014, as well as the new Murano recently launched in the US. The Sway represents the first time this new design language has been expressed on a compact hatchback, while future Nissan models in different market segments in all regions will follow this styling direction.

Nissan SWAY Concept rear three quarters

Nissan SWAY Concept rear three quarters

Inspired by the IDx show car first revealed at the 2013 Tokyo motor show, the Sway adopts – and develops – its interior design concept of a gliding wing shaped dashboard. The driving force behind the gliding wing shape is its elegant simplicity. The result is an interior in which function takes a priority, and where nothing has been used for mere decorative effect.

Structural elements, for example, are shown as structural elements. The door pulls are designed to be integrated as a part of exposed aluminum struts. Even the three-spoke steering wheel has a “back-to-basics” simplicity, with a squared off bottom section and aluminum spokes. Just two basic instruments face the driver, with all other functions captured on a large trapezoidal tablet in the center of the dashboard visible – and usable – by both driver and front seat passenger.

Nissan SWAY Concept front three quartes

Nissan SWAY Concept front three quartes

The lightweight seats have an aluminum structure – once again exposed – and are covered in a premium suede-like fabric partially accentuated with pearl-effect material, featuring stitching techniques more usually found on luxury handbags. Colour co-ordination sees the use of strong blue and orange themes inside, complementing the exterior perfectly.

Although a compact car, the lack of clutter, the removal of the B-pillar and the use simple yet elegant structures makes the interior seem larger than expected.

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