2007 Nissan Round Box Concept

Sam Smith
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- Four-seat convertible roadster
- "Environmentally friendly" direct-injected turbo four-cylinder
- Uses Nissan's Xtronic CVT technology
- Rounded, boxlike shape (go figure)
- Three-section, removable roof panel that stores in trunk
- Small glass windows near rocker panels that provide a view of whizzing-by ground

Nissan says: "The car was inspired by the lively atmosphere of a sports bar. In a sports bar, everyone is focused on the game...and free of the tension felt by the players. A sports bar affords an affordable, stress-free space where friends can experience a sense of togetherness. Simultaneously, they can enjoy thrilling excitement like being on a roller coaster, yet without any risk involved. That is the sort of emotive world the Round Box is intended to provide."

We say: It may look like a Smart car sitting on a skateboard, but the Round Box represents an attempt to provide ecologically conscious, efficient, and safe transportation that actually has an element of fun about it. The idea of doing more with less - less weight, less power, less overall interior volume - in a unique and oddball fashion has long been a Tokyo show hallmark, and the Round Box is no different.

What separates it from the usual Tokyo field of never-gonna-build-it rolling gel balls and funky wheelomat funtime machines? Realism. The Round Box actually looks like something that might roll off a production line one day, and its fundamental ethos - that the sensation of speed and a shared experience is vital to behind-the-wheel enjoyment - is a valid one. We wouldn't be surprised if further iterations of the Round Box's basic idea populate future auto shows.

On the other hand, based on Nissan's statement, the Japanese company wants driving to be a safe, risk-free, perpetually insulated experience, one you may as well be watching on TV. Sounds like fun. Really. We mean it.

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