Called Evalia, the innovative design combines coup» lines with hatchback practicality. It was created by Nissan Design in Europe – now fully installed in NissanÌs newly opened design studio in London, England after its transfer from Munich, Germany.
Seen as a potential direction for a contender in the C-segment, Evalia aims to provide the practicality needed by a young family at the same time as satisfying the emotional needs of the image-conscious driving enthusiast.
Among its unique features are parallel opening front and rear doors and the lack of a central B-pillar Ò vehicle strength is channelled through the sills and roof. By removing the B-pillar, easy access to the passenger compartment is ensured.
Although extremely spacious inside, and with a host of practical storage solutions, Evalia is designed to be more sports car than mini van. With a coup»-inspired driving position and lowered sports suspension, Evalia means the move into parenthood need not coincide with the end of driving fun.
Evalia is a little bolder than the Stream, however, with its Z-like front end, trademark bluff Nissan nose and more coupe-like silhouette. There’s shades of Renault in here, too, especially around the Megane-like rear quarters (minus the buttress-style pillars) and the almost flat rear tailgate, with LED brakelights that appear to rotate under braking, at quicker speeds according to the intensity of deceleration. Those aren’t featured on the new Megane Scenic, also unveiled in Geneva, by the way, and Evalia takes the compact MPV concept a few stages further into the future than that model.
The centrally-hinged, electrically-operated doors are cleverly thought out, with rotating hinges that push the door out a few centimetres before sliding backwards or forwards parallel to the side panels, and the lack of a central door pillar – thanks to a rigid backbone structure and specially strengthened door sills and A-pillars – means excellent access to both front and rear seats.
The interior of Evalia is more interesting, though; many of the styling cues of Nissan’s innovative Fusion concept of 2000 (no relation to the distinctly un-innovative Ford Fusion) have been carried over, including the appearance of the thin, individual sculpted seats and some aspects of the cabin layout. The four seats, which have cutaway headrests to aid rearward vision, are secured on their inside edges to a rail concealed under the full-length central console, showing clear air beneath them, and careful packaging minimizes any intrusion into the cabin space. The dashboard houses a fuse box at one end and a first aid kit at the other, in what is usually ‘dead’ space, and there are a series of storage cartridges that slot into a combined fridge/microwave unit. These “can be filled with provisions such as fresh fruit, drinks or baby food enabling parents to ensure babies and toddlers can be fed at the correct times when on a long journey”, suggests Nissan helpfully, and in the lower centre console, the cup holders have been specially designed to accommodate baby feeding bottles. Ambient lighting – diffused beams emitted from the centre console, roof and doors – can be set to shine white, to calm and soothe the little darlings, or red-orange, when parents want to be a little more assertive. The cabin is, as a whole, bright and airy, with twin glass panels running the whole length of the roof.
The nicest touch, however, is the specially designed removable child seat: this doubles as a baby buggy, locking onto a three-wheeled chassis frame stored elsewhere in the car. The boot floor is also rather neat, with 99 little translucent spheres set into the floor, rotating so that you can roll a heavy object into the load bay, but locking into place when the rear tailgate is shut. These also feature on the backs of the rear seats, for loading larger items (those IKEA flatpacks) when the seats are folded flat. Less useful, however, is the pale cream leather upholstery, which could be all too easily damaged or marked by destructive small children.
Evalia is a fully working prototype, fitted with the X-Trail’s 2.5-litre petrol engine and a seven-speed CVT gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts. It “drives more like a coupe than a people-carrier”, boasts Nissan, with a lowered driving position and low-slung sports suspension, and a full array of electronic driver aids to maintain stability and keep you on the road. The dashboard and steering wheel are inspired by those of the 350Z, plus an advanced version of the N-Form layout, with dials that move with the steering wheel and a central monitor for maps and projections from the rear-view cameras. If you hate BMW’s I-Drive, beware: the auxiliary functions (climate control, audio, telecommunications, etc.) are controlled via a mouse-style track ball, mounted in the centre console, though Nissan does claim that “the system is easy to use.” Other gadgets and toys include the now-obligatory DVD player and fold-down screen, for movies or games, a TV and separate remote controls in the rear for the audio system. The central console also houses controls for the transmission (in automatic mode, plus reverse and park), for the heated seats and the heated rear window. Much of this interior design and layout will appear in production Nissans in the near future.
If all this encourages you to leap over the brink into parenthood, hold on and don’t throw away the contraceptives just yet. Evalia is only “a potential direction in the C-segment”, i.e. a hint at what the next-generation Almera Tino might look like, and even then, not all of its features will make it into a production car.
Year Shown 2003
Event Geneva Motor Show
Vehicle Width (mm) n/a
Vehicle Length (mm) n/a
Seating Capacity n/a
Top Speed n/a