How do you know you're at an auto show prior to Y2K? Automakers were still developing station wagon concepts. When SUV sales hit their peak around the turn of the millennium, it seemed to drive a Ford Explorer-shaped shiv into the warm heart of the station wagon industry. Put plainly: Those buyers who hadn't fled the station wagon for minivans in the 1980s were almost universally moving to SUVs as the years wore on. With today's "crossover" almost perfectly blending an SUV, station wagon and minivan (while providing far less utility, in our humble opinion), wagons are seldom seen.

Count us nostalgic for all things wagon. Nissan certainly still believed in the notion in the '90s, revealing this "Stylish 6" concept in 1997 at the Tokyo Motor Show and telling the world that it was their "new wagon proposal for the future." The long, three-row concept had an extremely low floor and a tall roof (Nissan said at the time that it was more akin to being inside a private jet), therefore mimicking all the inherent good of a minivan without the dowdy exterior.

A few aggressive design touches threw off the scent that the Stylish 6 was a minivan in disguise. The Voltron-like eight-slat grille (one more than Jeep, which famously touted its seven-slatter until Hummer came along and stole it) looks more akin to something you'd expect on a full-size truck, but this was a concept after all. The two-tone shade was period-perfect, while the curious bead of chrome appeared the result of a Japanese designer gone Liberace. The diagonal sweep at the rear corners of the car should be familiar to anyone who's seen today's Nissan Murano or Leaf.

The Stylish 6 concept gave Nissan the opportunity to show off its idea of futuristic powertrains as well, including a hybrid powertrain and Nissan's continuously variable transmission (CVT), elements you'll find in Nissan's product lineup today.

The Stylish never materialized, but it did set Nissan off on a path of creating something other than a minivan. Their breakthrough Quest minivan was redesigned for 2004 to appear nothing like a traditional family carrier. A sales flop, it was nevertheless a bold take on what a people mover should be. Nissan still hasn't figured that out, but the next generation Quest is set to redefine the form once again.

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