Car Lists

Three Key Debuts from Nissan at the 2015 Tokyo Auto Show

From electric cars to self-driving concepts.

Based on what we saw at the Tokyo auto show, Nissan has a very clear vision of the future. It involves all-electric vehicles, self-driving technology, and, yes, a next-generation GT-R. Here are the company’s three key debuts.

Nissan IDS Concept

Here’s the idea: You are driving along in your Nissan IDS, hands on the bowtie-shaped steering wheel. You and your three passengers’ individual seats are pointed forward in the traditional manner. Enough of that, you think, so you stop and switch over the IDS’s “Piloted Drive Mode.” The steering wheel retracts into the instrument panel and the top of the dash rises up to expose a large display screen. All four seats crank slight to the car’s center to create that the automaker says is easier communication and shared enjoyment of the entertainment on the panel.

Professor Stephen Hawking may have warned that, “he development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” but that isn’t stopping Nissan. Using AI, Nissan tell us, allows the IDS to know traffic rules, situations and the driving environment to predict what is happening around the car and “make decisions” to keep you safe and comfortable.

This gets a little spooky as AI learns your likes and dislikes, your needs and even your favorite restaurants. Nissan claims the system can propose departure times and driving routes. So, what happens if you argue back, Hal?

Using LEDs, IDS will communicate with cyclists and others ourside the car so they will know the vehicle is aware of them. A display at the base of the windscreen will even flash text messages such as “After you” to pedestrians.

2016 Nissan Leaf

How ironic. Just as gasoline slumps to two-bucks-a-gallon- or-less in many parts of the U.S., three of the major gas-saversget upgraded. Toyota’s Prius, Chevrolet’s Volt and now Nissan’s Leaf.

Nissan has sold more than 180,000 Leafs around the world, which brands it the best-selling EV on the planet. So what’s new? From a driving standpoint it now has a 30-kWh battery that will scoot you along for up to 107 miles before plugging in. That’s up from about 84 miles in the old Leaf. Also new to the 2016 Nissan Leaf are such safety upgrades as Forward Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning.

Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo

Tokyo was not the first time the Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo has been seen, but we couldn’t resist. Gamers have been “driving” the Nissan Concept 2020 Vision on their Sony PlayStations and the “real” version was first shown at Goodwood in 2014. Now the “Vision” slides farther into the real world. Finished in Fire Knight red, the 2020 Vision features Nissan’s V-Motion grille and probably previews the next-gen GT-R.

Nissan’s official quote was, “This is a look at what a high-performance supercar from Nissan may look like in the future. Created by a team of young designers at Nissan Design Europe in London, England, the model was considered to have so much potential that it has benefited from input from an advanced engineering team based at Nissan Technical Center in Atsugi, Japan.”

There are some practicalities that seem forgotten, like outward vision for the driver and passenger. Asked about this, Nissan’s Chief Creative Officer, hardly paused before suggesting that rear-looking television cameras might handle the problem.

Ok, Nakamura-san, what’s the next step?

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2017 Nissan 370Z

2017 Nissan 370Z

MSRP $41,820 Base (Auto) Convertible

0-60 MPH:

5.2 SECS

EPA MPG:

18 City / 26 Hwy

Horse Power:

332 @ 7000