2004 Nissan Tone Concept

Like oil and water, families and sports cars have typically been at odds with each other, neither one complementing the other with great success. Automobile manufacturers have struggled at length to find a solution that can accommodate enthusiast drivers, along with their children.

For people who dont want to sacrifice performance for pragmatism, Nissan may just have the ideal fusion of sports car performance and practicality. The Tone concept, which was displayed at this years Paris Motor Show, is a crossover hatchback cum mini-minivan, biased heavily toward those passionate about driving. While forecasting the future of crossover vehicles, even more importantly the Tone foreshadows a similar production vehicle available
for consumers as soon as 2006. Nissan may just have the ideal fusion of sports car performance and family hauling practicality.


When production of this vehicle begins, purchasers will be treated to one of the smallest Nissans in an expansive model range. This one, however, is definitely not short on style, pulling cues from the entire range of Nissan cars, sport utilities and previous concept vehicles. Nissan followed a strict regime of deliberate masculinity when designing the Tones interior, necessary to extract the stigma of the dreaded minivan. Some of the highlights of this change include real, brushed aluminum inserts featured on the semi-circular center console and the navigation display on the upper dashboard. In addition, the contoured, sport bucket seats with metallic-effect black, purple and silver leather trim belong in the sports car realm rather than in the minivan segment. Air vents that duplicate the styling of the front grille, while red LED mood lighting and a black and purple weave headliner set the interior apart – the latter matching the seating surfaces and exterior paint.

The Tones cabin is practical and efficient, ideal for running daily errands with the family. The rest of the Tones cabin is practical and efficient, more suitable for the family side of the transportation equation. A pair of wide-hinged doors allows easy access to the rear seating areas, while two oblong glass panels on the Tones roof follow Nissans recent unorthodox sunroof trend – the Maxima and Quest come immediately to mind – allowing the interior to be bathed in natural light. This helps to provide a sense of roominess in what is otherwise a predominantly dark interior; a nice, family-friendly feature. The Tone also comes with a built-in tissue dispenser and several hidden storage spaces, including a large cubby in the center console. If the standard trunk space isnt enough, the concepts rear seats fold,providing a flat space for extra storage along the floor of the trunk.

Like the Micra, not available in North America, the Tone uses Smart Key, which automatically locks and unlocks the car via proximity sensors, while preparing the car for ignition without the use of the key.

Aside from comfort and convenience, Nissan stylist Taiji Toyota (thats truly his name) has certainly addressed the issue of exterior styling in this sporty crossover. Attempting to convey an athletic character, Toyota included 17-inch alloy wheels, wrapped in low-profile rubber, complimented by a wide front and rear track.

The shape of the upright HID headlamps, which bulge above the fenders surface, is derived from the charismatic look of Nissans subcompact Micra. The roofline peaks just above the drivers window, another element of the design language carried over from the Micra in addition to a high window-line and short bumpers that seemingly integrate into the body.

Nissan seems proud of its own cleverness in past designs, as evidenced by the integration of a grinning, two-tier chrome front radiator grille, which is immediately recognizable as being partially derived from the Murano. Nissans Qashqai concept car, which had its debut in Geneva earlier this year, also had a direct influence on the Tones styling. Borrowed from the concept are several features, including the triangular shape of the rear windows, as well as the boomerang-style LED taillamps which wrap around to the roof. In the end, the design of the Tone is a refreshing change, especially for a segment that rarely produces anything particularly tempting when it comes to appearances.

Another breath of fresh air inherent in the Tone concept is less noticeable, its chassis architecture. Making clear its production intentions Nissans crossover is based on the recently introduced European-division B-segment platform, developed and shared by Nissan and Renault. The advanced chassis made its debut on the Renault Modus mini-MPV earlier this year, and will be used by Nissan to underpin the next generation of Micra subcompacts. In contrast to the Modus, which occupies the same market segment as the Tone, Nissans version is longer and larger than its French counterpart. At 159.6 inches in length, the Tone is roughly the same size as Toyotas Echo Sedan, but it features a massive 102.4 inch wheelbase, which is a mere 0.98 inches shorter than the X-Trail. Height, at 60.7 inches is quite low, to reduce the center of gravity in order to maintain ideal driving manners.

Though this spirited vehicle was exhibited for the first time as a concept car at the recent Paris Motor Show, Nissan officials have already given a production version the green light. It could be likely that we will see real aluminum in the cockpit, following in the tire tracks of bigger brother Murano, its highly unlikely the fancy silver and purple, weave-leather seating will make it to a showroom near you anytime soon. Nevertheless, the Tones overall cockpit design should carry over to production, with a few minor changes. The Tone will be built at Nissans Sunderland plant in England, home to the Micra and Primera, which was recently awarded the title of Europes most productive automotive assembly facility. Though production has been set for 100,000 units globally, dont get your hopes up as the U.S.A. isnt on the export list. Its unfortunate for us, as this vehicle might just be the car to provide the vision to other entry-level manufacturers of what the enthusiast driver truly wants: the utopian dream being a no-sacrifice-family-hauler. Whats unfortunate for Nissan is the fact that Mazda has already promised its upcoming 7-occupant Mazda5 mini-minivan will be coming to the U.S. next spring. Nissan may want to reconsider its position if the Mazda5 sees success.

According to project chief designer Taiji Toyota, Tone is: “…tall, but not so tall. We wanted a roomy interior and the benefits of a high driving position but we did not want to make the car look top heavy. With the long wheelbase and body we feel we have achieved a shape that will appeal on both a practical and emotional level.”

Tone has been given a deliberately ‘masculine’ feel with extensive use of brushed aluminium for interior fittings and a sophisticated dark grey exterior body colour. Inside, a hint of purple shows through the perforated ‘metallic’ black and silver leather upholstery while light grey headlining contrasts with the predominantly black trim.

Dramatically shaped sports seats are designed to keep the driver and front seat passenger firmly in place during cornering, enhancing the sporting concept and fun to drive philosophy which is at the heart of Tone.

Twin glass strips run the length of the roof – another feature seen on many recent Nissan show cars – and bathe the interior with natural light.

Accentuating its ‘driver appeal’, Tone has a dramatic and futuristic dashboard. Two deep set dials can be found behind the sporting three spoke steering wheel, but the centre of the dashboard is dominated by a brushed aluminium display panel housing a satellite navigation screen and controls for the climate control system.

Although designed as a car for the enthusiast, Tone’s designers have not forgotten the practical needs of a parent. The glove box features a neat slot that doubles as a tissue dispenser – ideal for keeping sticky fingers off the upholstery – while the brushed aluminium centre console-cum-armrest houses a deep storage area beneath its lid.

The backrest folds in an uncomplicated fashion to create a roomy and flat load area. Extra storage space can be found beneath the boot floor, which lifts to reveal a deep well, with a storage capacity of 90 litres, where valuables can be stowed out of sight.

Taiji Toyota, whose previous designs include X-TRAIL, Murano and the Chappo concept which led directly to the innovative Nissan Cube, says: “Tone is a dynamic, sophisticated car with strong emotional appeal that also answers a parent’s practical needs.

Like the Micra, not available in North America, the Tone uses Smart Key, which automatically locks and unlocks the car via proximity sensors, while preparing the car for ignition without the use of the key.

Aside from comfort and convenience, Nissan stylist Taiji Toyota (thats truly his name) has certainly addressed the issue of exterior styling in this sporty crossover. Attempting to convey an athletic character, Toyota included 17-inch alloy wheels, wrapped in low-profile rubber, complimented by a wide front and rear track.

The shape of the upright HID headlamps, which bulge above the fenders surface, is derived from the charismatic look of Nissans subcompact Micra. The roofline peaks just above the drivers window, another element of the design language carried over from the Micra in addition to a high window-line and short bumpers that seemingly integrate into the body.

Nissan seems proud of its own cleverness in past designs, as evidenced by the integration of a grinning, two-tier chrome front radiator grille, which is immediately recognizable as being partially derived from the Murano. Nissans Qashqai concept car, which had its debut in Geneva earlier this year, also had a direct influence on the Tones styling. Borrowed from the concept are several features, including the triangular shape of the rear windows, as well as the boomerang-style LED taillamps which wrap around to the roof. In the end, the design of the Tone is a refreshing change, especially for a segment that rarely produces anything particularly tempting when it comes to appearances.

Another breath of fresh air inherent in the Tone concept is less noticeable, its chassis architecture. Making clear its production intentions Nissans crossover is based on the recently introduced European-division B-segment platform, developed and shared by Nissan and Renault. The advanced chassis made its debut on the Renault Modus mini-MPV earlier this year, and will be used by Nissan to underpin the next generation of Micra subcompacts. In contrast to the Modus, which occupies the same market segment as the Tone, Nissans version is longer and larger than its French counterpart. At 159.6 inches in length, the Tone is roughly the same size as Toyotas Echo Sedan, but it features a massive 102.4 inch wheelbase, which is a mere 0.98 inches shorter than the X-Trail. Height, at 60.7 inches is quite low, to reduce the center of gravity in order to maintain ideal driving manners.

Though this spirited vehicle was exhibited for the first time as a concept car at the recent Paris Motor Show, Nissan officials have already given a production version the green light. It could be likely that we will see real aluminum in the cockpit, following in the tire tracks of bigger brother Murano, its highly unlikely the fancy silver and purple, weave-leather seating will make it to a showroom near you anytime soon. Nevertheless, the Tones overall cockpit design should carry over to production, with a few minor changes. The Tone will be built at Nissans Sunderland plant in England, home to the Micra and Primera, which was recently awarded the title of Europes most productive automotive assembly facility. Though production has been set for 100,000 units globally, dont get your hopes up as the U.S.A. isnt on the export list. Its unfortunate for us, as this vehicle might just be the car to provide the vision to other entry-level manufacturers of what the enthusiast driver truly wants: the utopian dream being a no-sacrifice-family-hauler. Whats unfortunate for Nissan is the fact that Mazda has already promised its upcoming 7-occupant Mazda5 mini-minivan will be coming to the U.S. next spring. Nissan may want to reconsider its position if the Mazda5 sees success.

According to project chief designer Taiji Toyota, Tone is: “…tall, but not so tall. We wanted a roomy interior and the benefits of a high driving position but we did not want to make the car look top heavy. With the long wheelbase and body we feel we have achieved a shape that will appeal on both a practical and emotional level.”

Tone has been given a deliberately ‘masculine’ feel with extensive use of brushed aluminium for interior fittings and a sophisticated dark grey exterior body colour. Inside, a hint of purple shows through the perforated ‘metallic’ black and silver leather upholstery while light grey headlining contrasts with the predominantly black trim.

Dramatically shaped sports seats are designed to keep the driver and front seat passenger firmly in place during cornering, enhancing the sporting concept and fun to drive philosophy which is at the heart of Tone.

Twin glass strips run the length of the roof – another feature seen on many recent Nissan show cars – and bathe the interior with natural light.

Accentuating its ‘driver appeal’, Tone has a dramatic and futuristic dashboard. Two deep set dials can be found behind the sporting three spoke steering wheel, but the centre of the dashboard is dominated by a brushed aluminium display panel housing a satellite navigation screen and controls for the climate control system.

Although designed as a car for the enthusiast, Tone’s designers have not forgotten the practical needs of a parent. The glove box features a neat slot that doubles as a tissue dispenser – ideal for keeping sticky fingers off the upholstery – while the brushed aluminium centre console-cum-armrest houses a deep storage area beneath its lid.

The backrest folds in an uncomplicated fashion to create a roomy and flat load area. Extra storage space can be found beneath the boot floor, which lifts to reveal a deep well, with a storage capacity of 90 litres, where valuables can be stowed out of sight.

Taiji Toyota, whose previous designs include X-TRAIL, Murano and the Chappo concept which led directly to the innovative Nissan Cube, says: “Tone is a dynamic, sophisticated car with strong emotional appeal that also answers a parent’s practical needs.

Scribbled on December 15th 2008 in Nissan, Nissan Tone
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