The words “Nissan Skyline” conjure up a lot of things, but high seating, comfort, loads of kit and crossover are none of them. Until now.
It may send shockwaves through McDonalds car parks everywhere but the Nissan Skyline is now an SUV, well, in Japan at least. Of course, the Skyline moniker has been dropped from the GT-R which made its name famous in the first place, but that still doesn’t stop this car raising a few eyebrows.
Luckily it has grabbed a Fast and Furious style name – Type P to be precise – and the drive is far from boring. There’s just one engine, Nissan’s lusty 3.7-litre petrol V6, matched to a 7-speed dual mode auto box. Not so green, perhaps, but in terms of performance and handling, this ‘compact coupe crossover’ is a sheer driver’s delight. .
That V6 engine (also shared with the 370Z) is strong, eager and backed with superb throttle response. It might not be the sweetest six-cylinder motor, all round, but it’s full of spirit and boy does it deliver the goods, blasting the Skyline from 0-60 mph in around 6 seconds, and there’s plenty of torque, too. .
Dynamically, the Skyline is refined and really well resolved, matching sharp, intuitive handling with strong grip to an impressively level and compliant ride. Body control through bends, and steering feel, are genuinely top drawer.
The Skyline Crossover is actually Japan’s version of the UK’s Infiniti EX37 because there’s no local Infiniti dealer channel to sell through and because it is very much the modern Skyline deal in the way it’s set up, looks and drives. While Europe’s Infiniti EX37 has standard 4WD, in Japan with the Skyline, you can get simpler rear-wheel-drive. This not only saves weight, it means you can play more with the car in corners and yes, the Crossover’s more than happy to powerslide especially when you turn the VDC off. Wicked.
That curvy styling, the strong driving performance, the comfortable, stylish cabin with high spec, it does make you think: Could this not be a Jaguar? It could indeed. Swap the badges for a Jaguar Leaper and you’d be there. It’s that good.Issues? Well, the 7-speed auto is a bit lazy to change up at times. Cabin trim and materials look a bit cost cutting. In Japan, it’s priced pretty high (although less than the European Infiniti EX37) and doesn’t score particularly high marks on the eco scoreboard.
All the same, as a great-to-drive, cool-to-look-at SUV, the Nissan Skyline Crossover makes a pretty compelling case for itself. You’d want one….