19 January 2004

Nissan showed its interpretation of the six-seater Fiat Multipla at Detroit – and the new Actic crossover concept is much better looking than the unconventional Italian.

Although the two share a two-row/three-abreast seating blueprint, the Actic isn’t really an MPV. Instead, it showcases Nissan’s latest thinking for a medium-sized car, mixing design cues from hatchbacks, SUVs and people carriers.

Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn told Autocar that the Actic was unlikely to be built, but claimed it provided a flavour of the new 2005 Almera replacement. ‘We don’t think we can be profitable with another conventional Almera in Europe,’ he said. ‘We will have to innovate.’

Nissan’s product planners will cement the new Almera design this year and an Actic-influenced crossover is the most likely look. A more revealing concept will be shown at the Geneva show in March.

At 4300mm long, the Actic is the same size as a Ford Focus C-Max and is based on the mid-sized Nissan-Renault ‘C’ platform that underpins the Mègane and is destined for the next Almera, too.It was styled by Nissan’s new Californian design centre. Exterior designer Jim McJunkin said: ‘The Actic shows that you don’t have to stick to traditional segments. Friends asked me what sort of vehicle I was working on and I told them I couldn’t really describe it. The barriers between different segments are being broken down.’

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