Nissan Gripz Crossover Concept Coming to Frankfurt
Compact Sporty Crossover Could Presage Next Juke or Z-Car
Well, we’re equal parts confused and concerned. There had already been rumblings that the next-generation Nissan Z-Car was likely to morph into an on-road, sporty crossover, and the company’s teaser video for its latest concept does nothing to assuage those worries. Called the Gripz, the company says the design of the crossover is inspired by the Nissan/Datsun 240Z desert racers of the 1970s, “exploring a sporty new direction for a Crossover [sic] concept…conceived to create an innovative new driving sensation.”
The video doesn’t do much but establish a connection between the adrenaline-pumping practice of road biking and this little crossover. A few freezeframes reveal that the instrument panel includes a unique dial-like shift indicator (an automatic in a sporty vehicle? More sacrilege), and numerous carbon fiber interior and exterior accents pair with a steering wheel that looks more like the front wheel of a Cervelo.
It looks like those rumors about a 370Z-turned-crossover could come to fruition. That’s bad news for fans of the sports car, as even the best crossover can neither replicate the on-road feel of a low-slung sports car or the off-road capability of an SUV. In truth, the only thing a Z crossover could do better is perhaps a rally-replicating dirt road.
But until we hear otherwise (and this could just be us living in denial), we’re going to consider the Gripz a prophecy of the next-generation Juke, just imbued with a little 240Z-inspired sportiness. Then again, that little “z” on the end of the name could be a symbol of what’s to come. We should know more in Frankfurt.