Nissan Previews 2020 Rogue (?) With Xmotion Concept for Detroit
New SUV Unveils Company’s New Styling Language
Nissan revealed the Xmotion concept on the first day of the 2018 North American International Auto Show. The three-row SUV concept presages styling of all future Nissans, likely previewing an all-new Rogue due for 2020 as well.
Stylistically, the Xmotion (pronounce that “cross-motion”) is an evolution of the company’s current design language, incorporating unusual U-shaped headlights on a front end that retains a V-motion grille. However, the front end is much bolder than anything in Nissan’s current stable—eclipsing even the aggressive Maxima sedan—with its wider, deeper grille aperture. Horizontal accents in the grille are inspired by Japanese architecture, forming what Nissan calls a “blade-like lattice pattern” rendered in dark carbon.
At the rear, the Xmotion’s taillights take cues from kumiko Japanese woodwork and puzzles. However, Nissan says the strong, geometric design is actually an optical illusion created by holograms. We have no idea what they mean, but don’t get too attached to the idea, as it’s almost assuredly a concept-only feature.
Along the bodysides is a distinctive U-shaped character line, connecting the front and rear ends with a crisp, geometric sweep. Bizarrely, the tires and wheels are integrated, with the tire tread laminated over the concept’s 21-inch wheels. Those tires are of an all-terrain design, but don’t expect much off-road capability from whatever production crossover the Xmotion concept previews.
Inside, the Xmotion gets a 4+2 seating layout, lending credence to the idea that we might be looking at the next-generation Rogue. Genuine cedar trim, joined using traditional Japanese methods, lends the interior a very rich (and very production-unfriendly) appeal. A widescreen instrument panel, located at the base of the windshield, is as futuristic as the control deck of an Imperial Star Destroyer from Star Wars. On the functional side of the ledger, a roof box expands cargo capacity, allowing Nissan to maximize third-row space without losing luggage space. The cargo box collapses into the Xmotion’s roof when not needed. It’s a very cool idea for a compact crossover.
Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president of global design at Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., says the design of the Xmotion “draws inspiration from the Japanese aesthetics and techniques that have been passed down through generation after generation.” At the same time, the company acknowledges that SUVs are very much an American invention, so the Xmotion retains a lot of Western influence, just with a healthy dose of Japanese heritage to lend what could be a boring, two-box shape some stage presence.
Whether the presence it imparts is graceful or overstyled is a matter of opinion. We tend to like anything distinctive, preferring uniquely ugly to just plain boring. But even so, we genuinely like the Xmotion’s styling features, including the flowing river–inspired interior and aggressive front end. If the 2020 Rogue looks anything like this, it’ll be a standout.