Show cars have a habit of vanishing into the ether once their run on the auto show circuit has come to a conclusion. But don’t be surprised to see the Nissan Hi-Cross, making its public debut at the LA Auto Show this month, land back in the public eye in the months ahead.
Actually, to be more precise, expect to see the Hi-Cross Concept’s design resurface when Nissan updates its compact crossover, the Rogue, next year. Senior officials confirm that the Hi-Cross styling will be “very close” to the look of the next-generation Rogue.
And, like the 7-seat Hi-Cross Concept, the next-generation Nissan crossover will get an optional hybrid powertrain featuring the maker’s latest gas-electric drive technology, TheDetroitBureau.com has learned. The system will go into production next year in several Nissan models.
The look of the Hi-Cross Concept is much more well-proportioned, balanced, if you will, than the current Rogue, the basic styling clearly meant to pick up on the cues of the popular Nissan Murano. Al Castignetti, described the design as “sculpted style with everyday utility” during a media preview at the LA Auto Show.
During that event, he hinted that next year, “We will see a crossover that just might look like the concept you see here today.” Sources later confirmed the Hi-Cross is all but identical to the design of the next Rogue – and that it will be one of the five new models Nissan plans to roll out between 2012 and 2013.
That’s all the more significant when you realize that this group – which also includes the new Altima, Sentra and Pathfinder models – represents about 70% of Nissan’s U.S. sales.
But what’s equally significant is the hybrid system that debuts inside the Nissan Hi-Cross is all-new and will rapidly expand to other models in the maker’s line-up, not only the next Rogue but Altima and other models.
Nissan refers to the new technology as a one-motor, two-clutch hybrid. Specific details remain to be seen beyond a hint that the electric motor and 2.0-liter gas engine in the Hi-Cross Concept together develop the performance of a 2.5-liter inline-four.
The technology apparently was developed in-house as opposed to the hybrid driveline that appeared in the previous-generation Altima. That technology was purchased from rival Toyota – which helps explain why Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was extremely reluctant to promote the option and essentially limited its sales.
The new Nissan hybrid system is thought to be more effective at operating over a wide range of speeds – the Toyota Hybrid Synergy drive more focused on city driving conditions.
But further details likely won’t be released until closer to when the one-motor, two-clutch hybrid system is ready for production in 2014.
Tags: 2012 LA auto show, Nissan Murano, auto news, car news, nissan concept, nissan hi-cross concept, nissan hybrid, nissan la auto show, nissan news, nissan one-motor two-clutch hybrid, nissan rogue, paul a. eisenstein, paul eisenstein, thedetroitbureau