Nissan Hi-Cross Concept live at Geneva Motor Show

Nissan's stables are already all ate up with crossovers – they've got the Murano, the Rogue, the Juke and the new Pathfinder, not to mention overseas models like the wildly popular Qashqai or corner cases like the Murano CrossCabriolet. So what's one more thrown into the mix? Enter the Nissan Hi-Cross. Officially a concept, the Hi-Cross could just be a peek at the next-generation Murano, or it could be a look at a new Euro-market entrant? It could just be a pure concept, but it seems to be too rational and free of show car excess to not be production-minded.

Despite looking a skosh smaller than the current Murano, the Hi-Cross concept seats seven, and it's powered by a direct-injected 2.0-liter gasoline engine backed by an electric motor that Nissan says produces power similar to a conventional 2.5-liter engine. Given the fact that this is a three-row concept and has such a small engine, perhaps the Hi-Cross is just hinting at a production CUV for the European market, as the Pathfinder would likely be perceived as too large to drive on The Continent. Of course, that's why Nissan already sells the long-wheelbase Qashqai+2, right? Color us confused.

Regardless of what it is, you can take a closer look with our gallery of live photos and the official press release after the jump.

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NISSAN'S BOLD NEW WORLD PREVIEWED AT GENEVA

A quartet of concept cars - including two world premieres - offers a glimpse of the company's future
• Two world premiere concept cars revealed
• INVITATION concept to inspire next generation compact hatchback
• Hi-Cross Concept suggests a possible future Crossover
• e-NV200 Concept previews expansion of electric vehicle range
• Juke announced as first mainstream Nismo model
• Market confidence for 2012 building on record 2011 sales

GENEVA, Switzerland (6 March 2012) - Four forward-looking concepts will take centre stage on the Nissan stand at the Geneva Motor Show (8-18 March).

They will join a full complement of innovative models that demonstrate the strength and depth of Nissan's diverse range... a range that has helped the company to record sales success in 2011.

Among the key new concepts will be the world premiere of INVITATION, a design set to inspire a new production model due in Europe during 2013. When launched, this new model will join the Micra city car and Juke compact crossover to give Nissan the broadest offering of any manufacturer in the segment.

The second World Premiere is the dramatic Hi-Cross Concept, a seven-seat electric/petrol hybrid crossover that shows one proposal Nissan is exploring for its next generation of crossover models.

The quartet is completed by the 100 per cent electric e-NV200 Concept and the sporting Juke Nismo Concept.

A confident and energetic design, INVITATION offers a modern and spacious interior in a compact overall package. Showcasing the latest Nissan thinking in terms of lightweight construction and advanced engine design, this striking new concept has been designed to deliver spirited dynamics along with exceptional fuel economy and low emissions - the no compromise approach for which the company is becoming renowned.

It also packs some of the most advanced technology seen in a car of its class, including the acclaimed Around View Monitor (AVM) which gives a helicopter view of car for easy parking, and the Nissan Safety Shield System which uses cameras and proximity sensors to alert the driver to potential danger.

Hi-Cross Concept is a compact, yet surprisingly roomy crossover with three rows of seats for seven passengers. It is powered by a new hybrid drivetrain that links a 2.0-litre direct injection petrol engine with an electric motor to provide the power expected from a 2.5-litre engine but with the economy and emissions expected from a much smaller unit.

The styling combines existing Nissan design cues with new elements and is set off by bold 21in alloy wheels. At the front it has a characteristic V-shaped grille flanked by distinctive lighting signatures provided by stylish new headlamps.

Potential new design language is showcased, in particular, by a bold character line which extends from the bonnet down the flanks of the car to the D-pillar. Inside, the seven-seat cockpit is dominated by a new T-wing shaped dashboard.

e-NV200Concept previews Nissan's next 100% electric vehicle and, following the multi-award winning Nissan LEAF, demonstrates Nissan's next step in zero emission leadership. It is based on the acclaimed NV200 that, in Combi and Evalia versions, provides affordable family transport with seating for up to seven. NV200 was recently chosen as the base for the next generation New York 'yellow' cab and will soon be a regular sight on the streets of The Big Apple.

The Juke Nismo Concept, inspired by Nissan's legendary motorsports division, previews the first mainstream model to wear the Nismo badge. The Juke Nismo will be built in Europe, at Nissan's Sunderland factory, with sales in Europe starting towards the end of the year.

Detailed specification will be released closer to launch, but the Juke Nismo will combine edgy crossover styling with a choice of two technically advanced chassis, one with two-wheel drive and the other featuring four-wheel drive and torque vectoring. Both will have revised suspension settings .

The Nissan Juke Nismo Concept, meanwhile, is a taster for a raft of highly focused Nismo versions of Nissan products promised for the future and beyond. Nissan will conduct an ambitious expansion programme where the Nismo name will become synonymous with performance and premium sports variants of production Nissan models.

The Nissan range
The four concepts will be joining one of the widest ranges available from any manufacturer - everything from the Pixo and Micra city cars via best selling crossovers like Juke and Qashqai, tough 4x4s like Pathfinder and Navara, and the pioneering Nissan LEAF EV to the awesome GT-R supercar.

In keeping with Nissan's commitment to continual improvement, many of the production cars on the stand will either show minor revisions for the 2012 model year or special versions providing added value and extra excitement for buyers.

Highlights include a revised Pixo and special versions of Micra, Juke and Note, while the latest Qashqai offers one of the most advanced direct injection diesel engines on the market, the low emission 1.6-litre dCi producing just 119 g/km of CO2. Qashqai also now offers AVM as an option, again bringing luxury car features to the family car market.

But there remains one constant, which is common to every vehicle wearing a Nissan badge. Every Nissan, car or van, is infused with the company's DNA: innovation and excitement.

Record sales
It's a formula that has clearly found favour with buyers - despite the economic downturn, Nissan in Europe enjoyed its best year in 2011. Sales were up 25 per cent on 2010, giving the company its highest ever market share of 3.7 per cent.

Sales each month were higher than the equivalent month in 2010 and the company saw significant growth in most of its major markets with Russia, the UK and France in the top three positions. Russia posted sales of 138,827 units, up 75 per cent, with the UK on 107,053 (up 11 per cent) and France on 77,783 sales (up 31 per cent).

Nissan's best selling range was Qashqai. Despite being in the fifth year of its life, its popularity continues unabated and has earned it the title of 'the car that defies gravity'. In 2010, more than 250,000 examples of the segment-defining crossover - available with five seats and, as Qashqai+2, with seven seats - found new customers across Europe. Since launch, more than one million examples have been sold in Europe making it one of the most successful Nissan models of all time.

Paul Willcox, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing in Europe said: "This performance is driven by segment-defining models designed, engineered and built inEurope, for Europe. "Nissan produces around 80 per cent of vehicles sold within the region at plants in the UK, Spain and Russia. This ensures our line-up is attuned to European expectations in terms of style, quality, performance and reliability.

"The future product vision promised by these four concept vehicles - when added to the strength and depth of our full range - shows the confidence coursing through every aspect of Nissan today. We are on target to become the top Asian brand right across Europe by 2016."